Thirty years ago, I lived in Peru, in a beautiful city, at 2500 meters above sea level. In the winter nights, it was very cold and we had to wear warm clothes. My favorite sweater was warm, soft and comfortable, knitted by my grandmother. When I arrived in Switzerland; once again I faced those cold winter nights. I was looking for something like the sweaters that kept me warm in Peru, but I failed to find the soft and warm sweaters my grandmother used to make.
During a trip to Peru, I had the chance to meet a woman high in the mountains; she hand-knitted wonderful sweaters, which reminded me of my grandmother’s sweaters, my favorite ones. I immediately bought one. I have had this sweater for over 11 years and it keeps me warm during the long winter nights of Switzerland.
And this is how the ITA-ITO dream started.
I dreamed that I could make known the numerous ancestral techniques of our hand-crafters. An INCA heritage that is getting lost in a fast-changing world. By giving a job to these artisans, I wish to contribute to continuity of this unrivalled heritage.
I dreamed that I could make garments that will be soft, warm, modern and above all, ethical.
How could I meet this challenge?
My decision was simply natural. The alpaca fiber is known as the thread of the Inca; it was this thread that my grandmother used to make our sweaters, 7 times warmer than sheep wool; with a great range of natural colors.
Our weavers are hard to find; sometimes we have to travel over 8 hours to find them and make our garments.
Our weavers are specialized in looms, using ancestral techniques over 600 years old, which are getting lost with massive industrialization. Also, they are hard to find, like our weavers.
And after having found our artisans, the completion of our models can take us several days of work.
An important challenge was to join modernity and ancestral techniques with a single purpose: create unique and precious pieces.
After several months of work and a close relationship with our artisans specialized in Andean weaving, the brand ITA-ITO was ready to be launched.