Looking for a new hat, Anna stumbled on Yosuzi, a lifestyle brand with a collection of traditional hand-woven hats featuring patterns and symbols.

Inspired by her childhood, immersed in the traditional ceremonies, native myths and cultures of the South American tribes, designer Yosuzi Sylvester launched her lifestyle brand, YOSUZI. Born and raised in Venezuela, Yosuzi (which means cactus flower in the native dialect) started a collection of gorgeous hand woven hats, which immediately gained a following on instagram as the summer holiday wardrobe essential.

Looking for a new hat last week, I was immediately drawn to the blue shades of the Jotsu, Marlin and Bidika

After receiving her B.A. from Boston university in sociology, Yosuzi spent the next decade of her career at the intersection of film, fashion and advertising in New York, LA and London where she is now based.

In 2014, she found a photograph of her grandmother, sporting the original ‘woma’ hat. She had just won the first Miss Venezuela Pageant, held in 1956, and was cruising around la Guajira desert with Spanish reporters. So Yosuzi embarked on an expedition with her mother, to reconnect with her family’s native American, and decided to train as a milliner - spending weekends and evenings taking courses whilst still working in advertising.

Over several trips, they forged relationships with the community leaders of the tribe, who made introductions to the local craftsmen.

These craftsmen hand-weave the hats known as ‘woma’ featuring patterns and symbols representing the spiritual wisdom of their ancestors. Yosuzi worked with the craftsmen to adapt the hats to her customers’ specs, resolving sizing issues and figuring out what colours/shapes were in demand.

Each ‘woma‘ is made of 100% iraki palm straw (native to Venezuela) and finished with whimsical, handwoven trimmings and eye-catching pom poms for a playful finish. Using a diagonal weaving technique, each hat takes about eight hours to weave.

Yosuzi has forged close relationships with the tribe’s craftsman, and a portion of each hat sale goes to CEPIN, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the health, clothing and education of Guajiro indian children.

Fans of Yosuzi include names such as Anna Dello Russo and Poppy Delevingne, and her eye-catching designs have been featured across magazine titles globally.

Now the brand has introduced a broader collection of bags featuring beaded adornments hand-woven by putumayo indians in Colombia. I love the Camelia and Anakena.

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June 2019

By Anna Bance