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Caribbean Inspiration

by Sofroina Timmons
Amanda Judge, founder and designer of Andean Collection, recently introduced her 2012 Cayambe Line, which merges natural and modern with urban and rustic. Think: bursts of tropical colors using playful energies of striking bright pieces inspired from Ecuador’s stunning coastal region.

This line incorporates raw rainforest materials turning them into innovative modern designs that showcase traditional artisan craftsmanship and fashion-forward trendsetting styles. The stunning jewelry collection features earrings, necklaces, bracelets and oversized Madera rings made from tagua, acaÍ and pambil seeds of the rainforests of South America and paired with soft silver accents encasing electric palettes of color such as lime and aqua. The handmade pieces have are beautiful and functional.

Accessories embrace current touches of batik prints and the 50s with The Del Sol and Lupe straw hats in four bright colors ivy, periwinkle, lime and sunset orange to fawn over. Take the Caribbean with you whenever you wear Andean Collection.

Tell us about how you chose the name Andean Collection?
Many of our artisans live in the indigenous communities of Ecuador’s Andean Highlands. Their skill and artistry is deeply rooted in a long tradition of artisanal handicraft - skills that have been passed along through the generations in these communities. Our name epitomizes the merging of the fashion world with the Andean tradition.

Give us some background information on the genesis of Andean Collection?
Andean Collection founder, Amanda Judge, was inspired to create Andean Collection while conducting field research for her M.A. in Law and Diplomacy from the Tufts Fletcher School. She was specifically examining poverty reduction strategies among women in South America, and was struck by the intricate jewelry being created in Ecuador.

What was the inspiration for your Cayambe Line?
We really wanted to embrace vibrancy for our Cayambe line, and to push the boundaries of eco-conscious design. Part of the inspiration for this latest collection comes from Ecuador’s stunning coastal region. The intricate pieces in the Cayambe Line also showcase the high skill level our artisans have developed over the years.

How do you remain competitive in this market?
We remain competitive by staying on the cutting edge of fashion, while maintaining an appreciation what women want to wear. Our designs embrace current trends, but they are also incredibly well made. Each piece is one of a kind and has a story behind it - I think women like to feel that they are wearing something special. Perhaps more importantly, they are easy to wear and affordable.

What era in fashion does your collection most resemble?
Modern-pre-Columbian. Ok, we just made that up, but the materials and techniques we use are deeply rooted in the pre-Columbian era. Many of our artisans are Quichua, their first language is Quichua, and their handicraft can be traced back hundreds of years. In addition, their bright traditional clothing has persisted throughout the generations. Our designs are informed by this traditional craftsmanship and style. At the same time, we bring modern trends and colors to the table. So yeah, we’re Modern-pre-Columbian.

Where can Andean Collection be purchased and at what price points?
In Andean Collection's online shop: and in boutiques across the globe - - from $10-$135.

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