Recognized internationally for her work, Adriana Santacruz has received scholarships and a raft of awards for her designs. But it is her dedication to the craftsmen and women of her hometown of Pasto in Colombia for which she is perhaps most revered, promoting tribal unity, reviving ancient techniques and supporting diversity.
It was back in 1999, when Adriana was a student, that she first met the artisan women descended from ‘Los Pastos’ (The Pastures), one of the most important pre-Columbian cultures. For these women, weaving is not just a job but a way of life, combining technical know-how with a spiritual legacy. Recognizing the aesthetic as well as ecological potential of their traditional fabrics, Adriana developed a passion for weaving and subsequently launched her eponymous brand, which today produces a ready-to-wear and high-end line both with a tribal yet contemporary feel.
Hand-woven fabrics are used for both collections, which are made from 100% organic cotton and wool, and dyed with natural colorings. And in line with her design philosophy, all of the items are produced without the need for machinery, pollutants, or large textile factories. As well as satisfying a demanding niche within the fashion industry, the Adriana Santacruz brand has successfully introduced the culture of the indigenous communities of Los Pastos to the wider world, bringing the artisanal traditions of southern Colombia back to life.
In addition to the many awards she has received for her designs, including the ‘Lapiz de Acero Azul’ prize, one of the most prestigious awards in the world of Colombian design, Adriana holds the title ‘Mujer Cafam’, which is given to women who exercise social responsibility through their work, and has also received the Agustín Agualongo Medal for rescuing traditions, creating innovative and supporting diversity in the field of fashion.