Pima Doll: converting waste into fashion in Peru
“I feel deeply for pima. I loved it so much I wanted to celebrate it by incorporated it into my company name. “
When Ashley Hamedi was in her late teens and early twenties, she worked as a fit/fashion model which led to an internship position for a sweater company that eventually turned into a paid position. With a Master Degree in Art History, this fashion experience and lifelong love for art, she decided to start Pima Doll; a spirited and fun PIMA cotton collection designed and developed in New York City but manufactured in Peru. Ashley says,
“I started the line because I’m a rather obsessed tee shirt wearer and only want to wear 100% cotton. I didn’t like the synthetics that were less breathable and inevitable pilled after a few wearings. I wanted a tee that would last decades and only get softer and better with time. This lead me to Peru where I discovered Pima. In Peru I was able to find pima cotton that was organic and ecological harvested. Due to the delicate nature of pima cotton the cotton must be hand harvested.”
On her first visit to the company factory in Peru, Ashley realized how much of their expensive cotton was going to waste. She quickly thought of a way to reuse the cotton waste by cutting it into thin, yarn-like strips to be used for knitting. After some research, Ashley found Peru had a large knitting culture, leading her to Christina, a serious knitter for almost 40 years. Christina operated her own knitting business where she employed local women for jobs, at times hiring up to 3,000 women for larger productions; many of these women single mothers trying to support their families.
“Pima Doll Hand Knits evolved from the desire to recycle the cuttings from our jersey tops.”
When Ashley connected with Christina and met all of the knitters and saw their work and dedication, she committed Pima Doll to support them so they could in return, support their families. Ashley started off by purchasing brand new, hi-tech American knitting needles to replace the wooden ones the women had been using. The knitters already receive respectable wages, but Ashley plans to grow the hand knit aspect of her business in hopes of increasing sales so she can give even more money back to the women in Peru.
The result, a collection of bright, stylish, on-trend hand-knit tee’s and dresses made entirely by hand that supports traditional craftsmanship, a community of women knitters and their local economy.