The Huipil

The Huipil

The Huipil is Known for its vibrant colors and patterns, a Huipil (pronounced wee peel) is an embroidered blouse worn by indigenous Mayan women in Guatemala, the word Huipil actually comes from the Mayan language of Nahuatl and means “my covering.” Huipiles are elaborately embroidered tops that can take months to make and cost thousands of Quetzales, the local currency. Handwoven on back-strap looms using timeless techniques passed down for generations, a single huipil blouse can take from one to six months to be completed, but at the end the result is a unique and one of a kind work of art.

Huipiles are created using a backstrap loom which, according to National Geographic, has been used by Mayan women for 1,200 years. While cortes are usually made by men using a foot loom, you’ll never see a man using a backstrap loom. That’s because the loom relies on a back and forth motion of the hips in order to create the correct tension on the threads. That swaying is considered to be a wholly female motion, associated with childbirth, making backstrap weaving a women-only activity. In fact, some Mayan legends even credit the moon goddess as the first backstrap weaver.

After Huipiles are not used as blouses anymore they are turned and blended with the highest quality materials in making them handbags, table runners, pillow cases, backpacks, thus breathing new life into the beautiful fabrics to create stunning, one-of-a-kind pieces that also promote ecological sustainability.

The Huipil