The brand Mo’chillin was born after an encounter with the Wayúu community. In love with the magnificent country of Colombia, and fascinated by the incredible work of the women of the tribe, Clément and Amandine wanted to put the community and their work forward.

What is the concept and universe behind Mo’chillin?

The “Mo’chillin” bags are what we call here “Wayúu mochilas”. “Mochila” means bag in Spanish. All our Mo’chillin are unique handicrafts, handmade by the women of Rancheria Mañatu, the Wayúu community that is located about 20 kilometers from Riohacha, the economic capital of the Guajira region.

The Wayúu people:
The Wayúu people are Amerindian people who now live between Colombia and Venezuela. They speak their own language, Wayúunaiki, as well as Spanish, for the majority of them.
They took refuge in the Guajira desert when the Spanish settlers arrived. This desert, as intriguing as it is inhospitable, has allowed them to preserve and preserve their culture and customs by resisting invaders and maintaining control of their territory. Today, their natural resources are threatened by mining that either exploits or pollutes them.

Craftsmanship and know-how:
They therefore live mainly on weaving, Chinchorros (Guajiros hammocks) and mochilas, like those of Mo’chillin. The women of the community make the pouches, hammocks, bracelets and bags in a totally traditional way, following the same process as their ancestors.
The technique used for Wayúu mochilas is the hook, which makes it possible to obtain these bags “in one piece”, without seams. This traditional know-how of high quality is passed on from generation to generation, from mother to daughter.

Cooperative from another world:
The tribe operates like a local cooperative system: the couple in charge of the community (Yanitza and Feligno) is in charge of buying the yarn and distributing it to the different families who make the mochilas. The profits from the sales are then redistributed to the families.

Our commitments:
We fell under the spell of these bags and their colours while walking around Colombia, and we decided to bring them back to France, so that you too could benefit from them and thus support the craft skills of Wayúu women.
In our approach, and this from the beginning, we wanted to get closer to the source of production and work hand in hand with a Wayúu community. Thanks to the presentation of a local association, we were able to get in touch with Rancheria Mañatu and spend time there to understand the manufacturing process, their culture, their needs and start working with them.

Fair rates:
At the beginning of our collaboration, we asked them to define the price they thought was right for their work. This price is between 30% and 50% higher than the local market price, and we constantly adapt them according to their needs or fluctuations in raw material prices, so that they are not affected.

A social commitment:
In 2018, our young company decided to use all of its profits from the year to offer gifts to all the children in the community. Each child received a new and colourful outfit to start the year 2019 with. It is extremely difficult to obtain clothing when you live more than 20 km from the city, where transportation is almost non-existent, travel is complicated and incomes are limited.

Mo’chillin bags are for those who are looking for…?

Escaping, travelling, being unique and colourful. All our bags are different: whether you are a chic, bohemian or glamorous hippie, your Mo’chillin bag will undoubtedly bring a touch of originality to your style. For example, our plain-coloured Mo’chillin will go very well with a sober outfit while adding a touch of bright colour, while our patterned Mo’chillin have mostly indigenous Wayuu patterns and have a great diversity of colours, which makes it possible to stand out even more.

Which item in your collection best represents your brand?

All our Mo’chillin are unique and it is therefore difficult to choose a single one that represents us.
We particularly like the Mo’chillin with shoulder strap, which are the traditional mochilas used in everyday life by the Wayúus. We like the patterned ones very much because of their assertive style and they know how to stand out from other types of bags.

#VEPSIambassador Nina Botzen – Photo Franziska Nummer

In another life you could have been….

A needle and thread: Start from scratch and build slowly to let aesthetics, art and tradition express themselves.

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