Ancient craftsmanship meets modern design
Legado – Charlotte Duthoit’s answer to fast fashion
»The iconography of these weavings has remained unchanged for hundreds of years.«
Dear Charlotte, please introduce yourself.
I’m Charlotte Duthoit, founder of Legado. I started my career in the cosmetics industry in marketing and then worked as a buyer in the luxury industry. In 2005, I moved to Mexico for work and stayed there for 10 years.
I loved spending my time visiting folk art exhibitions, museums and markets. I travelled around the country extensively and met wonderful artisans who still practice traditional crafts.
What inspired you to launch Legado?
I worked at Hermès for several years which reinforced my interest in craftsmanship. In a world where speed is everything, I dreamed of promoting the value of craftsmanship passed down from generation to generation.
Back in France, I founded my label Legado – legacy – in 2019. I wanted to preserve the legacy of traditional Mexican craftsmanship and give it a fresh look through contemporary design.
The collection’s key pieces are espadrilles made from coloured ribbons. We also offer hand-woven belts. I’d describe it as Boho-chic accessories full of meaning and history.
What makes Legado unique?
The ribbons are woven mainly by local women using the ‘telar de cintura’, a backstrap loom that dates back to pre-Hispanic times. They use this technique to create their own wardrobe. It’s an integral part of their identity.
Through their clothing, every community can tell who is who! The iconography of these weavings has remained unchanged for hundreds of years. They regard nature as a source of life and worship it as such. That’s why you find everyday animals such as fish, ducks, owls and scorpions depicted on the textiles.
I work with the Mendoza family who are recognised as ‘masters’ of this craft. Their work is regularly exhibited in museums in the Mexican capital. The Mendozas organise the work with community members and friends. Through this collaboration, Legado allows them to live with dignity using their know-how, to maintain this ancient weaving tradition and to continue to live with their families in the local village.
But that’s not all. Apart from working with the best weavers in Mexico, Legado also teams up with one of the best espadrille workshops in Spain. The espadrille, which also has a centuries-old history, is crafted entirely by hand. After making the sole out of jute, the Spanish craftsmen meticulously sew on the fabric that the Mexican artisans made a few weeks before.
What makes Legado an ethical business?
All collections are designed with a responsible approach. We work directly with the artisans of the indigenous communities in Oaxaca, Mexico, who set their own prices for their work. These mostly female artisans are often mothers, cooks or bakers and have other jobs in addition to their craft work. We encourage them all to work from home and at a pace that suits them.
The aim is to make the business profitable in the long term, in order to secure the jobs of the local artisans and to preserve this ancient craft.