What is Archive Madeau?
Archive Madeau is a collection of one-of-a-kind folk art pieces that are timeless and unique. They have the ability to take you on a journey! Each and every textile is hand selected by the founder, Madelaine West. Therefore, Madelaine can vouch for its origin and tell its story. The “new” pieces are hand-made by artisan collectives working to keep their traditions alive, or pieces from indigenous villages and tribes with unique costumes and crafts.
In 2014 Archive Madeau's founder, Madelaine traveled through Southeast Asia for seven months, where she discovered rich cultures that have lost their voice during colonization, wars, globalization, industrialization, and the growing desire for faster, easier things. Since then Madelaine has had a need to highlight these artisans. With her technical knowledge and trained eye from working 10+ years in the fashion industry, she started collecting textile treasures, all around the world. And Archive Madeau was born! It is a place to buy and rent carefully curated, locally sourced, antique, artisan-made textiles. This is her way of connecting us back to nature. Archive Madeau celebrates slow-fashion and what we can create with our own hands, rather than what machines create for us, as well as those cultures and traditions that are under constant threat.
Why are artisan textiles disappearing?
Around the world indigenous cultures are under pressure from the forces of modernization and globalization. In countries like Mexico, Armenia, Peru, to name a few, years of government neglect and a persistent racism have created an economic desperation which has forced generations of men and women to flee the poverty of their communities. These indigenous people are forced to emigrate to the bigger cities and leave their homes and culture. In so doing, their traditions, ancestral knowledge, and crafts like weaving and embroidery as well as their social identity that these hand-crafts provide, get lost.