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DittoHouse Works With Cooperative To Honor Indigenous Textiles

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Molly Fitzpatrick’s Ohio-based textile design company DittoHouse operates with an important goal in mind: preserving Indigenous practices. DittoHouse makes unique products such as throw blankets and pillow covers for home furnishing, major airlines, and even baby accessories. 

For Fitzpatrick, it’s also all about sustainability. All of the yarn used to make DittoHouse products uses pre- and post-consumer waste, with all waste cotton materials sorted by color and de-fiberized to be reused for new material. The company works on a collection with Trama Textiles, a worker-run, fair-trade Guatemalan company that preserves and develops Native traditions.

Photo Courtesy DittoHouse   

“It’s really important for me to understand various cultures and the history of their textile manufacturing processes, acknowledging that the textiles industry in America is built upon a troubled history and seeking to repair centuries of abuse,” Fitzpatrick said to Fast Company. “Knowing what goes into making a textile allows me to design from a place of appreciation and respect for the practice.”

Fitzpatrick started DittoHouse in 2015 after the birth of her first child. Her initial goal was to have what she calls “cute and cozy” furnishings around the house but with a respectful nod toward the original cultures that many patterns come from.

The company’s commitment to using pre- and post-consumer materials is tied to original Indigenous practices. By honoring those traditions, DittoHouse removes the need for new dyes, eliminating water waste and chemical run-off. 

Because the cotton is recycled, it needs no new farming, cutting down on land use, fertilizers, and pesticides. By saving previously-used cotton, DittoHouse also keeps materials out of landfills.

The company’s partnership with Trama Textiles is an educational one driven by stories of hardship in the Central American country. Fitzpatrick wanted to understand how these Indigenous fabrics are created while looking for the best way her business could help the communities there. 

When clients requested Guatemalan patterns, Fitzpatrick wanted to acknowledge the cultural significance of the design and make sure they were used with permission, with respect to each pattern’s origin.

Photo Courtesy DittoHouse    

“I see being a textile designer and an entrepreneur as a great privilege and honor in the same way that it’s a responsibility,” she told Fast Company. “I saw my budget as a moral document and thought about what I could do to align it with my values — even if it was a small amount — and where I could take it.”

With the rise of digital textile printing, Fitzpatrick also advocates for making sure such Indigenous designs do not become open source. Though she acknowledges digital printing can be more sustainable, it’s imperative it’s done with the permission of the artisans.

“It’s so easy for a company to take one of these gorgeous handwoven textiles, scan it at a high resolution, and just print it off,” she continued. “I feel it’s my responsibility to say loud and clear that Indigenous textile designs are not open source. These designs are culturally significant, and if they’re used without compensation and permission on mundane items, it’s deeply disrespectful and hurtful to the communities that are the collective custodians of these designs.”

Photo Courtesy Trama Textiles 

DittoHouse’s respect for its origins and commitment to legacy-inspired sustainability practices are why the company can truly live up to its motto, “vibrant textiles for vibrant people.”

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