With business acumen as honed as their weaving skills, many Otavalo weavers have been able to afford travel abroad thanks to the popularity of their craft; and while thousands of Otavaleños have set up outlets across the world, their prosperity on the international market hasn’t tainted their cultural identity. For the most part, Otavaleños still wear traditional garments even as they own gleaming pick-up trucks, electric looms and modern hotel blocks. Women can often be seen in embroidered white blouses (camisas), shawls (rebozos), black-wrap skirts (anakus), gold-coloured bead necklaces (walkas) and red-bead bracelets (maki watana), with their hair wrapped up in strips of woven cloth (cintas). Men sport dapper blue ponchos (ruwanas) and mid-calf-length white trousers (calzones), with their hair braided (shimba) beneath felt hats (sombreros). Both wear alpargatas, sandals made from the fibre of the penko cactus.

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