Who Made Your Clothes?  The Chaska Collective

Who Made Your Clothes? The Chaska Collective

As a fair trade company, CAMPO collaborates with multiple groups or collectives from all over Peru. The Chaska Collective is one of these groups, situated in Arequipa, Peru. Commerce is one of the proven successful ways to strengthen a developed economy. Organizations like Chaska are the reason for CAMPO's existence.

Here's how everything began:

Patricia and Chaska

Patricia (Left), Chaska teaching moment

Chaska was founded by Patricia, who spent her career working in apparel and consumer goods companies in quality control. Now that she’s retired, she chooses to dedicate her time and experience to this cause. Chaska is a group of women living outside of Arequipa, Peru. Most of them have children, some have families, and others do not, but they all find support in this community of women who work together. They are all incredibly talented knitters, a skill that was taught to them when they were children.

The discovery of Chaska and Patricia was fate, proof that it’s a small world. My grandmother visited the Rivendell Alpaca farm in Elgin, IL, and became friends with the owner, Jill. Jill's husband has family in Peru as well as in Wisconsin. Jill's brother-in-law from Wisconsin mentioned that I should meet Patricia, who did a homestay in Wisconsin when she was in high school to learn English.

After all these connections, I found myself on a call with Patricia: this amazing, driven, and intelligent woman with the same mission as me! Some things are just meant to be!

How Does Chaska Work?

Chaska’s model provides these women with the flexibility to earn income on their own terms. Working at the Chaska Collective, they have flexible work hours, the ability to work from anywhere, and can take care of their children and homes. The teams meet once a week to learn new patterns, pick up the yarn they need, provide input into the number of units they want to make, and have a community meeting. During these meetings, everyone chats, catches up, and it feels like a family gathering for dinner.

Chaska Collective Dinner

Chaska community meeting

I have been incredibly impressed by the skill and motivation of this group, as well as their kindness and generosity. Every time I meet up with these ladies, I feel like I am visiting a family member’s house – it's great to catch up, share lots of food, and enjoy the AMAZING dishes prepared by them. It truly feels like family!

We are eagerly looking forward to working and growing with the Chaska Collective. Currently, it's a small production, but that's how change happens – one stitch, one person, one community at a time.
Knitting Circle
Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.