Traditional & cultural art

Cultural fashion uses old world techniques and materials that preserve ethnic heritage, build community and reinforce pride in traditional arts. Many of us have very little in our closets that represent various cultures or traditions, which is largely because of how the fast fashion world works.

Loss of Wisdom and Creativity

The world is losing its cultural diversity at a rapid pace. Cultural diversity is an important piece of the human experience. Not only does our diversity contribute to our planetary wisdom, it also adds creativity and uniqueness to our lives. Art, music, language, literature, and many other creative formats are the outward expression of the distinctness of humanity. When we lose these differences, we let a vast storehouse of knowledge and understanding slip through our fingers.

Yet, cultural traditions are dying around the world. Those who hold traditional knowledge are passing away, leaving few if any individuals who can transfer the wisdom to future generations. Many also consciously choose to abandon their heritage as they migrate to new countries. Faster than you can imagine, humanity is becoming more homogenous.

The rate of language loss is a cultural health indicator. In other words, the rate at which languages disappear tells us how quickly we’re losing cultural traditions. Consider this: [i]

  • Every 14 days, a language dies.
  • That means more than half of the current 7,000 languages spoken on earth will be dead by 2100.

The death of indigenous culture represents an irreversible loss of human diversity and heritage.

Accelerating the Loss of Cultural Diversity

It’s no surprise that fast fashion places no value on cultural diversity. Just look at the cookie cutter styles prevalent in popular media. We see a particular style on a model or a television star and want to emulate it. But by striving to look identical to our fashion idols, we impact the loss of cultural heritage of indigenous communities.

  • Many artisans migrate to urban centers searching for marketplaces to sell the crafts.
  • They discover that traditional art is not valued in the fast fashion world. Manufacturers opt to replicate ethnic artistry with mass production in order to offer cheaper prices and faster supply.
  • As a result, they abandon their traditional ways and find work in large fashion factories.
  • Wages are poor.  Hours are long.  And their indigenous artistic practices fall by the wayside.

This scenario plays out daily to create a system where, faster than you can imagine, culture is lost forever.

Valuing Traditional Art Forms and Cultural Techniques

Hearts is an ethical fashion company that values traditional art and cultural fashion. We encourage our artisans to use traditional techniques developed over centuries and passed down through generations. These form the foundation for our ethnic fashion, including techniques like:

Textile and Basket Weaving        Metal Forging                   
Ceramic Firing and Glassblowing     Woodworking
Papermaking          Knitting      

These indigenous traditions represent some of the beautiful ways human beings create.

By using traditional techniques in our ethical fashion, we reinforce the true worth of an artisan’s unique art. We help artists and their communities rise out of poverty by promoting traditional fashion items at a fair price in a wider market.  Our ethnic fashion pieces are often infused with cultural meaning and purpose through the use of significant patterns, pictures, and color schemes.  Each piece tells a cultural story!

Hearts chooses to live in a world full of variety, representative of every marketplace around the globe. We invite you to come with us on a journey of exploration into the many traditions of ethnic fashion!

Explore how to make your cultural fashion choices count.

Process - Traditional Cultural - hearts.com.pdf

[i]  Disappearing Languages. (n.d.). Retrieved April 4, 2012, from National Geographic: http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/enduring-voices/