Gifts That Give Back: Inside Our Huipil Partnership With Mayan Families

Our newest pillow collection features vintage huipil textiles from Guatemala. But that’s not the only special thing about it: To empower and champion the indigenous artisan population of Guatemala, we have partnered with an amazing organization, Mayan Families, to donate 20% of all Huipil Pillow purchases to their incredible programs.

Meridian | Mayan Families works with impoverished communities in Guatemala to provide programs and aid. Photo courtesy of Mayan Families.
Mayan Families works with impoverished communities in Guatemala to provide programs and aid. Photo courtesy of Mayan Families.

Mayan Families is a nonprofit organization that works to empower impoverished, indigenous Guatemalans through sustainable community development programs and emergency aid. They’ve been around since 2007 and do most of their work with communities in the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala.

Mayan Families’ work in Guatemala is especially needed because over half of the population lives under the poverty line and over 20% are living in extreme poverty. Their programs address all aspects of their local communities, covering food and nutrition, education and healthcare.

We chose to work with Mayan Families because we love that some of their programming provides artisan job training and skill building to women.

Giving Back to Women in the Community

Meridian | Mayan Families works with local women to support their economic advancement. Photo courtesy of Mayan Families.
Mayan Families works with local women to support their economic advancement. Photo courtesy of Mayan Families.

Mayan Families has granted more than 400 microloans to local women to develop their independent businesses. They also provide an ongoing sewing trade school to promote the economic advancement of women by teaching them sewing and business skills. Traditionally, only men have had access to working with sewing machines, and hand sewing has been reserved for women. By training on a machine, women acquire a marketable skill and contribute a more meaningful income to their families.

Twenty percent of every purchase price from our Huipil Collection will go toward funding Mayan Family’s work with craftswomen in Guatemala, teaching them skills for the future and laying a foundation for a sustainable, long-term impact.

About the Huipil Collection

Our pillow collection features one-of-a-kind, vintage huipil textiles handmade in Guatemala. A huipil is a garment worn by indigenous women of Central America. This loose-fitting, square-shaped tunic is often made from two or three rectangular pieces of fabric that are joined together with holes for the head and arms. They are typically woven by women on a backstrap loom and adorned with colorful, hand embroidered designs.

Meridian | A traditional huipil is a loose-fitting, square shaped tunic.
A traditional huipil is a loose-fitting, square shaped tunic.

The huipil has been worn by women in the Mesoamerican region since well before the arrival of the Spanish in the 1500s. Most often seen worn by the Mayans of Guatemala (such as our collection) as well as in Central and Southern Mexico, the huipil remains the most common traditional female garment still in use today.

Many women create special versions of huipil for ceremonial occasions, but they also function as an everyday blouse. The designs featured on each huipil vary from community to community, as each region has their own distinct colors, symbols and lengths representing one’s religion and tribal affiliation.

Meridian | Huipil embroidery in the form of long sash style garments hang in the market at Chichicastenago
Huipil embroidery in the form of long sash garments hang in the market at Chichicastenago

We are so happy that a portion of all sales from this beautiful new collection will go straight to Mayan Families.

Shop the Collection

Meridian | Vintage Huipil Pillow XIII
Vintage Huipil Pillow XIII
Meridian | Vintage Huipil Pillow I
Vintage Huipil Pillow I
Meridian | Vintage Huipil Pillow VIII
Vintage Huipil Pillow VIII
Meridian | Vintage Huipil Pillow VI
Vintage Huipil Pillow VI

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