Apr 12, 2024
XTANT:Textiles for Change
- By
Blaire Dessent
XTANT:Textiles for Change
Apr 12, 2024
by
Blaire Dessent
XTANT:Textiles for Change
Apr 12, 2024
by
Blaire Dessent
View Mallorca speaks with Kavita Parmar and Marcella Echavarria, founders of XTANT, which will open its 5th edition in Mallorca on May 9th.
XTANT:Textiles for Change
Apr 12, 2024
- By
Blaire Dessent
XTANT:Textiles for Change
Apr 12, 2024
- By
Blaire Dessent
XTANT:Textiles for Change
Apr 12, 2024
- By
Blaire Dessent
Above: Kavita Parmar and Marcella Echavarria. Opening image: Studio JUMI, Photo by Jean-Paul Pastor Guzmán
“W

e wanted to create a space where a few things can happen,” says Kavita Parmar, co-founder, along with Marcella Echavarria, of XTANT, an annual gathering that celebrates the art and craft of textiles in all their diverse possibilities. “One, we come together as a community of people: small brands, artisans, artists, entrepreneurs who are not just making beautiful work, but who want to see change. Yes, beautiful work is a part of it, but the motivation to instil change either as an individual or a community leader or as an executive, is more important to us. And we wanted to have a space where we can have honest discussions”, she explains. Since its first edition in 2020, in Mexico, literally weeks before the global shutdown, XTANT has been fostering a growing community of textile enthusiasts of all disciplines who are passionate about the craft and heritage of textiles as much as the potential for innovation and diversity to bring change within the fashion and textile industry.

Both Parmar & Echavarria have extensive experience in the fields of fashion, textiles and craft in various capacities, and both were frustrated by the lack of any real initiatives in fashion to implement sustainable initiatives and fair labour practices, among other issues; they were both also deeply concerned that textile traditions were slowly dying in many communities. Through this, they came together in 2018 to form XTANT, a non-profit initiative that they both refer to as their most personal project to date.

Atelier Ventra
Emma Cassi

When XTANT opens on May 9th, it will be the 5th edition of the event, which has been held in Mallorca since 2021. Parmar, who is based in Madrid, was doing a consultation job with Camper, when the idea to continue XTANT in Mallorca in 2021, came up for discussion. The owners of Camper offered their finca, a beautiful space designed by Rafael Moneo, encouraging her to continue with the project despite the obvious complications at that time. In the end, they decided to host the artisan market, the central force of Xtant, on the terrace of the Es Baluard museum in Palma. While everything was planned at the last minute, in part because they were not even sure flights would arrive due to Covid restrictions, the event took off and a connection to the island was established. Encouraged by trend forecaster and textile expert Li Edelkoort, who is part of XTANT advisory committee, Parmar and Echavarria decided to keep Mallorca as its base, as a way to create a sense of place and continuity. XTANT has steadily grown with each iteration, not only its artisan marketplace, which brings incredible talent from around the world to sell their handmade clothing and objects, but also the surrounding exhibitions and installations that take place around the island. The Mallorcan government has also increased its support of the event, seeing its potential in bringing a different kind of tourism to the island, offering historic buildings such as Can Vivot and Can Balaguer as sites to host talks, events and the market. Parmar and Echavarria have also helped the Mallorcan government in exchange – for example, they recently worked on a proposal to have the Telas Lenguas, the traditional Mallorcan weaving, become a UN cultural patrimony.

Since the beginning, Parmar was interested in setting up a leadership program to expand their potential to bring change and awareness. “We wanted to bring changemakers together and provide a place where they can be inspired. I was inspired by the ambition of the tech industry, where they invest in crazy ideas and encourage new ways of thinking. No one does that in our industry, and so I thought, could we create a space for that”? For a week before XTANT opens, this interdisciplinary program, which started in 2022, brings together a group of leaders in tech, research and development, activism, fibre, craft, farming, etc., to exchange ideas.

“We wanted to create a space where we can come together as a community of people: small brands, artisans, artists, entrepreneurs who are not just making beautiful work, but who want to see change."
Sanja Lulei
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