YAPA was founded by Bernarda Pelaez a Bolivian fashion designer based in New York with the idea of sharing her Andean and Latin roots with the world by creating a unique brand concept that combines traditional Andean craftsmanship with modern designs to create superior quality alpaca fiber knits.
The name «YAPA » which means «something extra or a gift», in Quechua and Aymara is a symbol of gratitude from the merchant to the buyer.
YAPA illustrates a vision of contemporary fashion influenced by it's Bolivian heritage and culture, the pieces reflect the roots and magic of their origin with the idea of sharing them with the world.
Alpacas are representatives of the Andean culture as well as being a symbol of prosperity that is why we chose an Alpaca for our logo.
YAPA is a perfect balance between tradition and modernity.
We combine our love for natural materials, passion for design and high-quality craftsmanship.
New York is where we work creatively and design all of our products, but our production and much of our inspiration come from Bolivia and Latin America.
It is in Bolivia where all our pieces are made with love by artisans and respecting the environment. We believe that the origin of our products, sustainable production and environmental impact are of equal importance to the aesthetics of the garments and that the combination of these elements is what makes our products luxurious. Our pieces are all carefully finished works of art and many embroidered by hand.
At YAPA, we value the expertise of our artisans, whose skills are passed down from generation to generation with a true desire to keep ancient traditions alive and support fair trade.
The entire manufacturing is based in Bolivia. From farmers in the highlands to fiber processors in the city, and the teams of mostly women who knit the finished product from their homes or in our workshop. By choosing to either work from home or at the workshop, the women can dedicate more time to family culture, while benefiting from stable living conditions and fair wages. Each of these aspects contributes to a larger process that supports local lifestyles, Andean craftsmanship, and the future of this community.
Bolivian Highlands are home to one of the world’s oldest domesticated livestock - a sustainable source of raw material for fine textiles and products, the alpaca. The Andes, where the Bolivian alpaca and their ranchers live symbiotically, is the longest continental mountain range in the world, and was once part of the legendary Inca trade network, where goods were exchanged by farmers, artisans, and merchants. Locals continue to produce fine yarns, empowering their communities to develop the finished goods using their own ancestral skills. The living practice of these ancestral skills, adapted to the needs of our days, continues to express a key relationship for sustainability - that which is formed between the land, its people, and animals.
The thick winter coat of domesticated Alpaca is shorn in the spring, allowing them to graze more comfortably in the summer heat, while providing quality fiber for processing in La Paz. After the fibers are transformed into yarn they are knitted by local artisans at our workshop or at home into these fine garments.
Stitch by stitch, this centuries-old tradition needs to be kept alive. From humanely raising and shearing Alpacas to hand- knitting finished fine garments, the ancestral techniques employed in making YAPA knits carry both history and a commitment to using manufacturing practices that support cultural and environmental sustainability.