WEHVE: The Thread of Human Relationships

Created by International Fair Trade board member and social entrepreneur, Gesine Holschuh, WEHVE is a brand dedicated to women. She was inspired to begin her adventure into the world of fashion during her visit to South America, when she encountered weaving collectives spread throughout her travels. Because of their dedication and talent, Gesine was inspired to found WEHVE by employing skilled artisans in Uruguay, and partnering with designer Marine Halna du Fretay. To Gesine and Marine, this company isn’t just about fashion, but rather a chance to connect others through the threads of their relationships. WEHVE essentially strives to create a cross-pollination through the distribution and design of these garments, with grace, style and intention.

Modeled Image via: Wehve, Sheila Hicks Artwork titled 'Dauphine' via: artsy.net
Modeled Image via: WEHVE, Sheila Hicks Artwork titled ‘Dauphine’ via: artsy.net 

The Maker Magazine recently released a short post stating that WEHVE’s Spring / Summer 2019 collection is inspired by the work of an artist named Shiela Hicks. Upon further investigation into Sheila and her path, it is easy to understand why they came to this conclusion. Both Gesine and Sheila share similar stories as to how they started their careers. In 1957, Sheila received a Fulbright scholarship to study painting in Chile, and during her stay in South America she gained an interest in working with fibers. In the years since, she has become an artist involved in both solo and group exhibitions, and is most widely known for her invigorating use of color and unique material.

Modeled Image via: Wehve, Sheila Hicks Artwork via: artsy.net
Modeled Image via: WEHVE, Sheila Hicks Artwork via: artsy.net

There are also similarities in the message behind their work. For years Sheila has been creating ‘minimes’ (a french word for minimal), which are a creative way of journaling the places she goes and the people she meets. Travelling with only necessary items in a carry on and her small loom, she creates these minimes to tell the stories of others. She mixes items within her woven materials to help convey a greater sense of the story behind the piece. Much of her artwork from the Minimes collection were on display as part of a show called “Material Voices”, which was a retrospective of her work at Toronto’s Textile museum.

Although their use of color is extraordinary for their own reasons, WEHVE and Sheila are most similar in their motivations. They both have created work that is imbued with the journey of the very people who inspire them. While Sheila interprets other peoples’ histories, Gesine and Marine are passing their story forward in a different way. Every piece at WEHVE is handmade, and it is as though their stories are being handed down through these uniquely made items. There’s a sense of heritage and tradition stitched into every textile, with each shawl or cape being rooted in the places where these artisans learned their craft.


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