In Cuzco, in the Peruvian Andes, Passeri promotes a vision of the shoe far removed from any fast fashion logic. “With every shoe we sell, we not only share a piece of art but also ensure that these stories continue for generations,” says founder Luciana (Anna) Passeri. This too is sustainability
Luciana (Anna) Passeri wanted to fully explore her spirituality by living for a month in the Amazon rainforest in Peru without running water or electricity. She came across a coral snake on the fourth to last day of her stay. Fortunately, she managed to avoid the animal’s deadly bite. The encounter was repeated on the following nights, but it was not real. It was a dream from which Luciana drew inspiration to found the slow fashion shoe brand Passeri in 2019 and launch a real educational challenge.
Art to wear
Production takes place in Cuzco, a city in the Peruvian Andes, which was once the capital of the Inca Empire. It is in these mountains that Passeri buys all the textiles she uses, turning to one of the four Quechua families living in the area. They are woven on traditional Peruvian treadle looms. “The weavers don’t just create patterns. They weave their traditions and stories into the fabrics, which our shoemakers then turn into shoes. With every shoe we sell, we not only share a piece of art but also ensure that these stories continue for generations,’ says Luciana Passeri. The entrepreneur, whose grandfather was originally from Costacciaro, a small town in the province of Perugia, thus becomes a perfect expression of the slow fashion current of thought, making products that she defines as ‘wearable art‘.
Passeri’s educational challenge
“The main challenge we are facing is to educate others about the importance of slow fashion. Handmade products, especially those like ours that also include artisanal weaving, are often not appreciated in a world that wants things cheap and fast,” explains Luciana. “When we ask people: Do you know who made your shoes? They usually shrug and say: I guess not. Or: I never thought about it. Some even laugh and say: I don’t care. O: I don’t think I want to know. This is a disconnect from reality on the part of consumers that can have serious consequences for workers and the planet. We wish to be the antidote to a world that tends to promote the pursuit of wealth in order to have more. But which, in doing so, becomes a threat to our natural ability to prosper and live as well as possible’.
If you know it, you avoid it
“When my husband and I became deeply aware of the stories behind the price tags of fast fashion, we started to change our buying patterns to support local businesses and slow fashion whenever possible,” Luciana observes. For Passeri, therefore, every purchase is more than just a transaction. It is a commitment to sustainable practices, fair wages, and the perpetuation of indigenous art. ‘Being able to support the Quechua people, who wish to live their lives through the ancient tradition of weaving, is a gift. In recent decades, many young Quechua people have not wanted to learn the family tradition of weaving because of the difficulty in obtaining a decent wage.
We are working to rewrite this history and let the young artisans know that we will be there to support them,’ says Luciana. Good intentions, if they are not to remain so, must meet with the support of the market. And, so far, at least, the market is rewarding Passeri. It may be Luciana’s persuasive skills and/or the quality of the products, but in the first nine months of 2023, the company more than doubled its sales for the full year 2022 and has realistic growth prospects. All while remaining slow. No small feat.
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