The Cuyana designers share what they’re giving this holiday.
Written By JACK SUNNUCKS
For Shilpa Shah and Karla Gallardo, founders of Cuyana, there was only one piece iconic enough to start a label off the back of. “The Panama Hat is in some ways the iconic Cuyana product,” says Shah. When they first started working on the brand in 2011, the two women, who share a business background, knew they wanted to do something with authenticity, both in the way they made their products and how they sold them to customers. Thus, the hat. “It’s a beautifully crafted product, they weave it in the wee hours of the morning to make sure that it doesn’t dry out. And it’s actually made in Ecuador,” where Gallardo hails from. “The artisans who make the hats speak a language called Quechua,” continues Gallardo. “In honor of them we chose a Quechua name—Cuyana means ‘to love’. And so, the entire identity is to do with loving what you buy, loving what you wear. It goes hand-in-hand with the rest of the story.”
From these humble-but-ambitious beginnings, Cuyana has become the go-to label for elegant basics made with expertise. “The straw [for the hats] was first,” explains Gallardo. “Then we did alpaca in Peru, then Argentina for leather, and now Italian leather, Scottish cashmere, and Turkish cotton. It’s so exciting to keep growing our supply chain. We don’t look for factories that do many things in one place; we look for craftsmanship and expertise.” What this translates to is a label that’s both chic and noble, and features a full range of clothing and accessories that are distributed directly to consumers by the brand. “We thought we could be analytical and creative. We can be American or Latina or Indian. So we’ve always had this duality in everything we’ve done,” says Shah. “I think the way that we approach everything is to be authentic in what we do.”
Here, Shah and Gallardo use their discerning eye to select their most inspired gifts for the holiday season.
The Travel Case Set truly elevates the everyday. It's been a Cuyana favorite since 2012 and my go-to gift for everyone. This year, I'm gifting this set to my son's pediatrician. – Karla
This scarf is perfect for this time of year. I love the length and its dual role as a shawl when necessary. I'm gifting this scarf to my sons' teachers to keep them warm during the school day. – Shilpa
There is finally a way to travel safely with jewelry! The mini jewelry case is an instant Cuyana winner. These cases will be gifted to all of my female family members, namely my mom, sister-in-law, and mother-in-law. – Shilpa
This set is new this season and I'm in love. There is nothing softer to sleep in than Peruvian pima cotton. I am excited to give this to my sister when she comes to visit from Dubai. – Karla
These bags are the perfect his-and-hers gift for the couple who loves to travel locally or internationally. I'm giving these to my two sister-in-laws and their husbands. The embroidered monogramming adds a special touch. – Karla
This season's alpaca scarf is a fringed version of our classic infinity style. I always keep multiples of this scarf wrapped and ready to gift. I share these with every hostess throughout the holiday season. – Karla