There are so many things we love about the Kuna Yala territory of Panama. The crystal clear oceans and beaches, the palm trees, the fresh fish. But the most amazing part is the Kuna community. As one of the only autonomous indigenous tribes in the world, the Kuna nation has kept so many of their traditions going strong to this day.
I first came to Kuna Yala in 2012 and was immediately enthralled with the bright colors everywhere -- the women's arms and legs were wrapped in colorful beads, they wore colorful skirts, and their blouses were absolute masterpieces. The centerpiece of the blouse is called a Mola, and consists of intricately hand sewn layers of fabric. The women begin with about a square foot piece of fabric, and they will either trace the design first or go from memory. Then, they begin to cut the next color of fabric, all in one piece, similar to a paper snow-flake. Sewing the layers of fabric with tiny little stitches, a design slowly emerges. Some molas have two layers, some have up to seven or eight. When the woman is finished with the mola, she begins to make a complimentary design for the back (or front) of her blouse. These blouses are worn for years, washed in the saltwater, and dried in the sun. Special themed blouses are made for special occasions. I've been lucky to be part of several coming of age ceremonies in Kuna Yala where 50+ women are joined together, wearing their mola blouses with pride.
We are constantly in awe of the women and men of Kuna Yala. We hope that you enjoy our Spring Mola Collection, and walk with the spirit of the incredibly strong and graceful women of Kuna Yala. Many thanks to our Kuna foundation partners, Fundacion Luz y Fortaleza, for facilitating our partnership.