For some the very idea of travelling solo with a 7 month old on a business trip may be enough to cause a rise in blood pressure but for Alexandra Gizela the founder of Cabbages & Kings it’s a time to be cherished and enjoyed. We catch up with her following her latest trip to Peru.

You are frequently travelling to Peru, can you explain why?
I travel to Peru mainly to maintain relationships with the artisans we collaborate with, but to also view the new yarn colors and any new fabrications in development, scouting for new artisans to work with and to oversee quality control of our collections.

What technics, materials & products can be sourced from Peru ?
We source our alpaca fibres which are mainly hand-spun and hand-dyed by the indigenous women in various outlying villages of Peru. Many of them carrying forth the centuries long traditions of embroidery and/or knitting techniques. We value the work and craftsmanship of the various artisans and we aim to keep the their traditions alive. Another popular material that is sourced from Peru is Pima cotton. We are currently working with this fabrication for future collections.

Can you tell us about the artisan co-ops craft work you encountered and the differences between the villages ?
The artisans have been practicing their craft ever since they were children, most learning from their ancestors. Watching the artisans create their pieces is so special and leaves you mesmerized. The diligence and know-how and the ease in which they do it with. To watch the elders teach their children and their children’s children, it is so beautiful. Each village has their own story to tell, unique patterns and designs and color-ways. It was a steep learning curve for me, for when I first started I thought I could sketch my designs and simply have them made. But this was not the case. It truly was a collaborative effort between myself and various artisans and over time I have been able to bring more of my original creations to the table. Trust and friendship is at the forefront of this partnership we have created.

Your travelling companion was your 8 month old baby. How did that work out? Did you plan ahead or go with the flow ? Any tips ?
Overall it was a wonderful. It was such a different experience of travel than I was used to. It was the first time I set off on a “solo trip” with one of my children. Stirling  was 7 months at the time. Crawling around a tad, but still quite stationary, napping quite a bit, very much dependent on me and quite easy to please. The baby carrier was his safe little home (although it did take a toll on my back!) He was the perfect age to travel with. It was fabulous, I wasn’t rushed at all- no husbands or kiddies around to tell me to move onto the next. I could take my time and get the most out of my days.

A combination of planning and going with the flow works best for me. I always like to plan the first few days of my trips (2-4 days). It gives the peace of mind knowing we have a place to stay and it also makes for a leisurely time in adjusting (time zones, being in a different space).On this particular trip I booked each city in the city prior. I do this to ensure I have ample time in each place visited. If I need more or less time in one place then I could take it. I also love going off of local suggestions and so the “go with the flow” approach meshes well with this.

Please share a favourite memory from the trip ?
My favourite memory would be dragging my suitcase into the bathroom everyday and placing Stirling in it so I could keep an eye on him while I showered!

Peru has amazing food, a mix of Japanese and Amazonian influences. What’s your favourite restaurant in Lima?
The food in Lima is so exciting and unique! I especially loved trying the assortment of ceviches and the spin offs the local chefs took on this very traditional dish. My favorite spots were the local restaurants and food markets we would stumble upon, but one of my favorite places was Lima27 which does a nice mix of traditional foods with a twist.

What are your thoughts on the Peruvian people and their culture. How does it influence your creative process?
The people are so curious and kind. Their colors are vibrant and alive. Their traditional dress is something I have always loved and admired. There is so much of their everything that influences my design and creative process.

Did the trip live up to your expectations ?
Yes, and then some! It was a fantastic time.

Alpacas and Lamas, a little bit scary or super cute ?
Definitely a mix of scary and cute, but I would have to tilt the scale with the latter. Seeing them dressed in their pom poms and embroidered garb…it’s hard not to melt.

Cabbages and Kings, what should we look forward to in the new year ?
We are expanding the brand to have more every day pieces that have a modern twist with traditional flare. It’s an exciting time!










Alexandra Gizela has worked in the fashion and entertainment industry for over 25 years. She was on the books of Ford Model Agency from the age of eight. She went on to graduate in Business Administration and Anthropology. This was when she first became fascinated with Andean culture, and in particular the centuries long traditions of weaving and hand-knits. This serving as inspiration for the debut collection of her infant and children’s accessories line, Cabbages & Kings.


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