I recently came back from an incredibly beautiful and adventurous trip, to a very special place called Ani Nii Shobo, in the jungle of Peru. Here I met some beautiful souls including Paulina who is the founder and designer of this gorgeous headwear brand SITTAKA.
SITTAKA IS A collection designed to invite us to connect to our roots and mother earth while crowning our heads in deep devotion to the beauty of life and the divine. The garments rest on the highest part of the head guarding our crown and is a result of a deep love for nature, that goes hand in hand with the local Shipibo craftswomen and weavers who are based in the banks of the Yarinacocha lake in the Peruvian Amazon. The garments combine Shipibo textiles designed with ancestral beauty and contemporary style.
Paulina your greatest inspirations or influences?
- Nature in all its expression
- The inner and outer exploring journeys
- The most fascinating and at the same time humble styles of African people.
- Native Tribes
- My friends from Ropa Doceñada 12-NA , they are doing amazing garments and art pieces with all second hand clothes.
How or why did you begin sittaka paulina?
I used to work as a fashion stylist and it was great for a while but eventually i felt something was missing. I felt there was a need to focus on a more conscious lifestyle which would appreciate nature's gifts as a source. I moved to Vienna and met some amazing people from nucleo house and i continuously found inspiration with the different artists i met there from different places and cultures.
My passion for headwear started when my friends hoda and ihu, asked me to style them for a gig and I noticed they wore turbans and hats, suddenly i paid attention to this part of the body and i became obsessed.
I started creating head pieces recycling from materials that i found inspiring anywhere, including the forest. I quickly realized that anything could work like a headpiece: mostly bags, baskets, all that was necessary was to turn it upside down, do some folding and place on top of the head. I made some of my earlier prototypes with paper mache until I returned to chile and spent time traveling south america searching for natural fiber artisans and hat makers that would teach me their skills.
I had been selected in chile to partake in a design contest, which would have allowed me to produce my first hat collection with a chilean artisan. however, I ended up traveling to the amazon rain forest in peru and i completely disconnected in the jungle. I started sittaka here in the selva AND THIS IS WHERE IT WAS BORN.
PAULINA TELL US ABOUT THE PRODUCTION PROCESS OF SITTAKA AND HOW YOU WORK WITH THE SHIPIBO CRAFTSWOMEN?
When I came to the Amazon rain forest for the first time, two years ago I visited a place called Ani Nii Shobo that is a Shipibo medicine lodge and medicinAL plants reserve.
My life changeD in every way . THE PLANTS HELPED ME BECOME A BETTER PERSON AND LOVE ENTERED MY LIFE DURING THIS EXPERIENCE WHEN I CROSSED PATHS WITH ANDRES, WHO IS THE FOUNDER OF THIS PLACE TOGETHER WITH ANOTHER CHILEAN FRIEND AND A MASTER SHIPIBO SHAMAN. I BASICALLY LIVE HERE NOW, ALTHOUGH I GO BACK AND FORTH. I LIKE TO BE PRESENT DURING PRODUCTION ALL THE WHILE CONNECTING WITH PLANT MEDECINE AND WORKING ON RESEARCH FOR NEW PLANT PIGMENTS WITH THE SHIPIBO WOMEN LIVING IN SAN FRANCISCO DE YARINACOCHA. THEY MAKE NATURAL DYES AND PRINT FABRICS CREATING BEAUTIFUL ANCESTRAL EMBROIDERIES. ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE LAGOON WE HAVE WOMEN WHO WEAVE Caña Brava that is the natural fiber we are combining with the Shipibo textiles for our designs.
ONCE WE HAVE THE MATERIALS READY I THEN GO TO PUCALLPA, WHERE JOSE AND NANCY HELP ME SEW THE HATS WITH PRECISE DETAIL AND PERFECTION. THE FINAL PART OF PRODUCTION I DO IN CHILE, INCLUDING MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS.
ITS A LOT OF WORK AND SITTAKA HAS BECOME MY LIFE. IT BRINGS ME BACK TO EARTH AND AT THE SAME TIME CONNECTS ME WITH MY HIGHER VIBRATIONS AND I JUST LOVE IT. IM JUST SO GRATEFUL FOR ALL THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE JOINED ME ON THIS JOURNEY.
TOUGH TO ANSWER BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE BUT HERE ARE A FEW I CAN THINK OF;
- Loza Maléombho
- Mara Hoffman
- And I have an immense respect for all small labels trying eco and conscious fashion. One artist using natural pigments for fabric dying is India Flint.
FAVORITE WEBSITES, ON INSTRAGRAM ACCOUNTS?
ITS CHALLENGING TO CONNECT TO THE INTERNET FROM MY LIFE IN THE JUNGLE HOWEVER WHEN I CAN, I LOVE:
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE PAU?
I AM EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE THAT IN NOVEMBER WE WILL BE LAUNCHING A SHORT DOCUMENTARY ON SITTAKA AT THE SANTIAGO INTERNATIONAL FASHION FILM FESTIVAL (SAIFFF).
ITS VERY IMPORTANT FOR ME TO STRESS THAT I LOve Working with ECO FRIENDLY MATERIALS THAT ARE HAND MADE AND A REFLECTION OF ANCESTRAL CULTURE RELATED TO SHAMANISM.
We give a 5% of our profits to a shamanic school called niijuinti.org check IT out!