In an effort to bridge traditional Peruvian artisanship and contemporary fashion design, Lima native Guiliana Macciavello co-founded stylish clothing brand Escudo with her sister Chiara in 2014. The pair studied and worked in fashion in London before returning to Lima to create their brand, which is now carried in small boutiques in the U.S., Mexico and Europe. “Everything is handmade,” she explains, with much of the fabric created by rural community members on hand looms in Huancavelica province and then finished in the studio in Barranco, and each garment has a commitment to keep heritage relevant. “It’s hard work,” she says, “but it’s cool, because we are getting another generation involved.” Guiliana shares her favorite restaurants in Lima, the mission of her fashion company and what every traveler shouldn’t miss in the city.
What do you love most about living Lima?
“My family, friends and boyfriend but most importantly, surfing. I’ve been surfing all my life, and Peru is a great place to practice this sport. My family and I travel north of Peru quite often and I always take my board with me.”
How did you decide to open Escudo?
“While studying at Central Saint Martin’s in London, my sister and I flew back to Peru and traveled around the country with my mom about a decade ago. We collected several pieces from a bunch of different communities and took them back to Lima, reworked them and created a sort of re-purposed material brand that was sold quite successfully in London. This was a big stepping stone for the years to come. Escudo was born five years later; the idea was to create a brand that used Peruvian artisanal techniques while maintaining modern cuts that would make it competitive under the global fashion market.”
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What is Escudo’s mission?
“We want people to take a step back and really think of where your clothes come from. We’re in a moment in time where fast fashion is one of the greatest global polluters, and people aren’t realizing it quickly enough. Traceability is an important factor in our line of work; it’s important to know where each piece came from, starting with the fiber and its mill to the way it was manufactured.”
What is your favorite thing about working in Lima?
“Working in a country with such rich cultural wealth is amazing. All my life, I’ve had direct contact with artisans who have helped me create wonderful things including Escudo. Peru is great place to travel; we have the coast, the highland (sierra) and the jungle. Each place has its own amazing perks. I always try and visit new places when I can.”
Do you have a favorite neighborhood in Lima and if so, why?
“Barranco is where our studio in Lima and it’s where I like to be the most. It’s a very happening neighborhood where you can find the most galleries and art events. My favorite bar is definitely in Barranco!”
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Do you have a favorite restaurant in Lima, and if so, why?
“This is a hard one because there are so many great restaurants in Lima. I’d love to say all of them, but my top two are Rafael (great food and amazing bar) and Osaka (BEST sushi in Lima).”
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What three things do you think every first-time visitor to Lima should do?
“Eat—it’s the number one thing people should in Lima! Also visit Larco Museum, MATE and Museo Textil Amano, and walk our historic center, which is really breathtaking.”
What region of Peru should more people know about and why?
“Huancavelica is where we manufacture most of our clothes and it’s riddled with problems and beauty. The landscape there is truly inspiring, but a lot of the people struggle to make ends meet. We’re happy that we’ve created a healthy working community with local artisans from Huancavelica and have seen them progress over time.”
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What three things would you suggest a shopper buyer in Escudo and why?
“A baby alpaca handwoven coat is a must have. I always tell people that they should look at their coat closet and if they don’t have an alpaca one, then they need one from us! Also, a beach kimono handwoven in pima cotton is another must as it’s so easy to wear at any occasion, and a handwoven cotton dress.”