The Life of our Camera and Bag Straps

Hand Embroidered Strap, Camera Strap, Bag Strap

Did you know our embroidered camera and bag straps are not made like others you might see on the market. Like all of our Hiptipico products, each is made to honor the slow fashion movement and crafted by indigenous artisans in Guatemala. Beyond that, our vintage line of straps are made 100% from upcycled textiles, giving traditional weavings a second life! 

  chichicastenango market, straps, vintage textile fajas in Guatemala   vintage fajas Guatemala

Each Hiptipico vintage strap carries its own unique story. The embroidered part of our straps are made from used "fajas" (pronounced ‘fa - has’) which are traditional belts worn by indigenous women in Guatemala.

Maya Woman, Colorful Corte, Handwoven Faja, Handmade Huipil

These belts are hand-woven or hand-embroidered by women on a loom, a practice that has been passed down for many generations.

Colorful Hand Embroidered Strap, Hand Loom, Hand Woven Strap

The designs of each faja tell the story of the individual weaver and the woman who wore it. You will see many fajas with intricate floral design, bright geometric patterns and even some depict birds and other animals native to Guatemala. The colors are thoughtfully picked out by the maker, and the designs and patterns are typically inspired by the beautiful natural surroundings in the mountain villages of Guatemala. There is no limit to each weaver’s imagination, and many times they will even mix several elements together to create an incredibly unique work of art that is truly one-of-a-kind.

Not only are these traditional belts beautiful, they are made with such mastery. It usually takes a female weaver around 30 hours to create one faja, depending on the complexity of the design. Hand-woven fajas take more time than hand-embroidered as each thread is woven in a brocade style by hand not using a needle.

Hand Embroidered Strap, Hand Woven Strap, Colorful Camera Straps

Once they finish weaving, these fajas are lovingly worn by women as belts to cinch their beautiful "cortes" around their waists, becoming an essential piece of their day-to-day outfit. After a few years of wear, many women decide to sell their fajas at the markets. These vintage pieces are sometimes stained, torn, faded or just simply “outdated” for their taste. Although they have been worn for some time, most still preserve their bright colors, and each one holds a unique history of the loving hands that crafted it and the woman who wore it. 

To ensure the women are receiving a fair wage for their vintage pieces, we source directly from Doña Maria, a legend in the textile industry here in Guatemala. She sells both in Panajachel and Chichicastenango for over 25 years, and her family works closely with local villages to purchase used textiles. Maria and her family always welcome us with bright smiles and a twinkle in their eyes, proudly displaying their newly sourced  fajas for us to select from. 

Maya Artisan, Colorful Textiles, Guatemalan Market

Once we have chosen the fajas we know you will love the most, we take them to our artisan partner, Don Vicente, who carefully puts the finishing touches on to convert them into bag and camera straps. Working out of his home workshop in Panajachel, he uses high-quality leather which he sews onto both ends of the strap and adds the proper attachment for your gear!

Leather, Maya Artisan

The final step is done here at the Hiptipico office, where Lisa carefully burns each strap with our beautiful Hiptipico logo.

Colorful Embroidered Strap, Leather, Burn Logo

From start to finish, each strap is a true masterpiece, holding the stories of many talented artisans along the way. Every time you purchase a one-of-a-kind  vintage camera or bag strap, you are giving a pre-loved faja a new life! We love seeing the final product from Guatemala accompany you on all your adventures around the world. 


Click here to find your one-of-a-kind strap!


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