Hello my dear readers,
I know it’s been a couple of months since I left you hanging somewhere out in the Valley of Fire…and I still have so much more to tell you about that road trip. In fact, the best part about the trip is still yet to be told. But I just recently started a new project and it’s been life-consuming. 60 hour weeks…you know what mean. No sleep, lots of intense stress, and barely any time for retail therapy (though I suppose my Instagram account may reflect otherwise!).
But when I stress, I return to writing–specifically here–since it is the only time where my brain stops spinning and my heart just flows.
Before I reconnect here with more tales from the wilderness, I’m featuring a very special young man in today’s post, in a form of a virtual interview since he’s in Guatemala and I no longer have the time luxury to just hop on a plane without any planning. He’s the nephew of a dear family friend (I might even say my parents’ fourth daughter), Thelma, and he’s on an exciting adventure into fashion and art preservation. I can’t wait to see him change the world, one pair of shoes at a time…
Interview: Juan Fernando for Ichor SS
1. What’s your full name and where were you born?
Juan Fernando Tschen Rios; Guatemala.
2. What’s your company name and what is your role?
Ichor SS. My role, well, kinda tricky: owner, designer, dreamer, marketer. I like to design and thinkup new and interesting ways of using textiles.
3. Describe your company or product in one sentence.
Passionate for Guatemala products and its people, fighting to get recognition in the fashion world.
4. What are three adjectives that your family would use to describe you?
Dreamer, Persevering, Dedicated.
5. Why is it important to preserve this Guatemalan art form?
Because it’s disappearing. With less and less sales of traditional backstraploom, the art is dying. More and more companies invest in big production of textiles, but made in modern machines. The fabrics are made handmade, every step, from the dying of the thread, to the weaving. It’s a long process that takes time; in this day and age everything has to be done for yesterday, losing details and missing out on the love that is put on the product. Traditional weaving is on the endangered list.
6. How do you make a traditional art form relevant to your generation?
Making it fashionable. My generation in Guatemala is tricky. We lack of a well defined identity, most of us look for fashion of the US, not taking the chance of embracing our local made products. If it’s fashion and something of a “luxury” item, something that people in the US love to wear, famous people wear…then It will be successful here. Things are changing at a very slow rate, but again,it started looking outside Guatemala first, then inside.
7. Show me three of your favorite shoe samples.
8. Where do we find your products?
Right now on etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/IchorSS?ref=hdr_shop_menu
Please check out my kickstarter project: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1208000953/ichor-ss
9. Most importantly, what shoes are you wearing during this interview?