gET tO KnOw AgUa By AgUA BenDiTA

Where sisterhood reigns supreme

Words by Heather Gwyther 

If you’re a woman in this world, there’s one thing above all that will help you survive it: sisterhood. Sisterhood protects us from harm and soothes us when hurt inevitably comes our way, but – most importantly – it also fills life with camaraderie and fun. Without it, you may well be sad and bored. A brand that fully embodies this is Agua by Agua Bendita.

Founded almost two decades ago by dear friends Mariana Hinestroza and Catalina Alvarez, Agua by Agua Bendita doesn’t just signify sisterhood by grace of being a womenswear brand designed by women, it’s also made by women – exclusively so, in fact. “Agua by Agua Bendita would not exist without the female artisans that give life to our stunning garments,” Hinestroza and Alvarez tell us plainly. Back when the brand was a burgeoning business, the designers sought help with production in their native Columbia. “Through family and friends, we were fortunate enough to meet women from Medellín and its surrounding towns who turned out to be the best partners we could ask for,” they say. While the brand benefits from their skills, the women benefit from being allowed to work from home: “these women usually weren’t able to work because they had to stay at home and take care of their children,” Hinestroza and Alvarez explain.


“Nature is our greatest source of inspiration and thus we strive to honour it in all of our practices,” Hinestroza and Alvarez state when questioned on the brand’s sustainability. “With a production of only three collections per year, we are committed to creating less and creating better.” This is “not only for the sake of our creative process but also to reduce our impact on the environment,” they continue. However, any sustainable brand worthy of being dubbed as such will know that how its products are made matters just as much as how often. Hinestroza and Alvarez are not hesitant in noting that their swimwear is made using reclaimed polyester obtained from recycled PET plastic bottles, or that their printing techniques also “reflect a deep love for the planet”. What does this mean you might ask? Taking “a digital approach saves water and reduces the overall environmental impact [of printing],” they explain. Ink itself is also notoriously bad for the environment, but Hinestroza and Alvarez have that covered too: they use “water-based inks that are safe for both workers and the planet.”

While Agua by Agua Bendita is a brand concerned with the world’s wellbeing, it’s primary purpose, as its founders themselves see it, is “to honour the beauty of Latin America” with a particular focus on Columbia. From exploring its artisanal traditions to honouring the country’s biodiversity and generating employment, “Colombia means everything” to Hinestroza and Alvarez, they say. At the start, they “dreamt of creating a 100% Colombian brand that was able to cross borders.” And so it has, but the brand’s not quite done yet: “we want to keep exploring this whole universe,” Hinestroza and Alvarez tell us. Closer to home, this means being “devoted to further exploring and elevating artisanal techniques used in all development phases of their products”. Here at KOIBIRD, we can’t wait to see what that will look like.

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