Kakaw Designs

@kakawdesigns // Guatemala

“I grew up spending summers in Guatemala and surrounded by textiles. When I was maybe around 5 and back in Guatemala, my parents gave me the choice between going to daycare with other kids or learning how to backstrap weave with a family friend (a traditional weaver). Well, guess what I chose? Weaving.”

“I never expected to work in fashion, but when I really think about it, it makes sense from a grassroots perspective. I love the artisan traditions of Guatemala, as this is our way of supporting the artisans so that they thrive in the global marketplace. Everything we do is detail-oriented and handcrafted ethically. We’re slowing down fashion, making sure that we do it with respect and integrity for the producers.”


“The name ‘Kakaw’ comes from ‘cacao’ the native plant that gives us chocolate. Our collections are named after birds found here in Guatemala – Quetzal, Hummingbird, Macaw, Toucan… We imagined these vibrant birds living in harmony in the cacao tree. The deep-rooted artisan traditions giving way to beautiful colors, patterns, and designs. Especially working with naturally-dyed textiles, it’s pretty amazing to see the bright colors that can be found from natural sources; thus of the iridescent hues of the hummingbirds in the area.”

“This season we’re loving our Corte Wraps! We’ve taken used traditional cortes (wrap skirts) and added embroidery and fringes using naturally-dyed cotton thread. The result is a super cozy, luxurious wrap, benefiting two different women’s groups – the weavers who dye the thread using natural sources, and the embroiderers who add the beautiful finishing touches by hand. It’s been the best-selling scarf since its release, and we’re so excited because we have since been able to involve more women in the production, increasing impact here locally.” -Mari Gray (founder)


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