Chaleca strives to generate better incomes for knitters in Bolivia while providing lasting, exclusive knitwear.
Chaleca believes that making a top-quality garment requires skills, craftsmanship and finest raw material. Chaleca explores details in traditional timeless cuts – inspired by quality and function that matter, they make classic and sustainable knitwear that will stand the test of time.
In the words of the Chaleca team:
"Most garments are unisex fits. Some have a feminine look. Fair wages that reflect the skills and efforts that knitters put into each garment should be taken for granted. Historically, women have not been paid a fair share for their craftsmanship – and in our time of fast fashion – prices and wages are pushed to the bottom. When we started Chaleca 2012 one source of inspiration was the business model of the Swedish company Bohus Knitting.
Through exclusively designed, hand-knitted circle knitted collar cardigans, the company enabled women to earn an income during the great depression and onwards (1939-1969) in Bohuslän at the Swedish west coast. Our knitwear is designed in Sweden and knitted by women in Bolivia. Through Chaleca we hope to contribute a small share to their empowerment and expanded opportunities."
All garments are designed in Sweden and produced by women in a knitting collective located in El Alto, a suburb to La Paz in Bolivia. The women make the garments on hand knitting machines and the most exclusive pieces fully by hand. The knitwear is produced at their common artisan studio or from the women’s homes since the women are responsible for taking care of their children and households. We keep in close contact with our knitters at Comunidad Andina Suma Satawi, without middlemen. Through the knitting collective the women get the opportunity to support themselves. We are proud to be able to pay a fair share in return for the high-quality craftsmanship. With Chaleca we wish to contribute to the women’s increased incomes and independence.
The alpaca yarn is spun and dyed at the local spinning mill Coproca Bolivia. The alpaca animals graze freely in the Bolivian highlands. The suppliers of the fibre only use hand shearing technique for taking the fibre from the animals, which is not harmful.
The spinning mill uses eco-friendly washing and dyeing processes. For washing the fibers a detergent approved according to Öko-Tex standard 100 is used. The colourants used are the same kind we use ourselves when we dye by hand in Sweden, and that we know is not harmful to our knitters, customers or environment. These are biodegradable auxiliary products from an international manufacturer, which is a member of the Ecological and Toxicological Association of Dyes and Organic Pigments Manufacturers (ETAD). The spinning mill does not hold any environmental certificate because of its relatively small operation.
About Alpaca Wool:
The garment is made of 100% Bolivian alpaca wool known for its lightweight, strength and warmth. Alpaca wool is also famous for not itching or causing allergies. The alpacas graze freely and the suppliers of the fibre only use the hand shearing technique of taking the fibre from the animals. The yarn is spun and dyed at a small local spinning mill that uses eco-friendly processes for washing and dying.