Posted: Monday, October 11, 2021. 1:12 pm CST.
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The new Xe’il clothes brand launches it first collection of Mayan garments entitled ‘Yahtz’il’, pronounced (yasil), on Tuesday, October 12.
“Xe’il, meaning “True to our Roots” – a meaningful brand designed and developed to provide a source of economic empowerment to Mayan women and showcase the dawn of a fashion era emerging from Southern Belize,” said a Xe’il press release.
The premiere Yahtz’il collection, which includes 4 items for women and 1 for men, available in 3 different sizes, will be released on October 12 at 11:00 am Belize time at @xe.ilbelize on Facebook.
The collection will be available for sale starting Monday, October 18. For ordering information, customers may contact SATIIM at +501-615-8536 or via the Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/xe.ilbelize.
Xe’il was established one year ago in October 2019 and was executed by the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM) with financial support from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) through its Cultural and Creative Industries Innovative Fund (CIIF).
Xe’il objective is “to position Maya women as national artists and bring their creative products to a wider market, starting with new fashion designs adorned with Xokb’il Chuy”.
“Xokb’il Chuy, or counted stitches, is the name of a Mopan Maya embroidery that turns geometry into art. True to its name, patterns are sewn using a complex counting system,” said Xe’il.
The designs, made by hand from start to finish, represent motifs from Maya stories, such as the sun, moon and animals or plants found in the Maya environment.
Xe’il said their garments are “made from high-quality fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques, also known as a ‘slow stitch’”.
To create Xe’il, SATIIM put together a local team which included attorney and intellectual property consultant: Marissa Longsworth, brand designer and marketing consultant: Tanya McNab, photographer: Chester Wade, and local fashion designer: Ronelli Requena, owner of Zayvha Sarai.
According to Xe’il, Requena designed the Yahtz’il collection in consultation with the Maya women of the San Antonio Village in the Toledo District. Yahtz’il means ‘beloved’, said Xe’il.
Working together with the Ixk’äntz’iit women’s cooperative from San Antonio Toledo, Requena trained women in San Antonio to sew the clothing as “ready-to-wear items created with the conscious consumer in mind”, said Xe’il.
“While the word Maya is now a Mesoamerican brand on everything from airlines and chocolate, its profits have eluded the Maya people,’ Xe’il said. “It is also hoped that Xe’il will be recognized as unique national brand by all those who walk on the road to the sun known as Belize.”
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