A few months ago, Brenda wrote about the phenomenon of repurposing used huipiles into trendy accessories which are sold in the international market as "recycled." Research done in collaboration with Guatemalan anthropologists revealed exploitation in this system, in which women are pressured by middle-persons who go door to door to purchase used huipiles at rock-bottom prices from women desperate for cash. The huipiles are brought to larger regional markets in Chichicastenango, Panajachel and Antigiua and bought by buyers who cut and sew them into "eco-friendly" products. We learned that women who sold the huipiles at the first step of this chain are often unable to replace their treasured huipiles, nor even able to afford to purchase the yarn to weave a new one.
Olga Reiche, Indigo Custom Textile Design: