Anna Cales is the founder of Inti Knitwear. She has been working with the Ecuadorian knitters since the start in 1993. Each year she co-creates a new Inti collection with her head knitters. Everything is intertwined, living in the Netherlands, working in Ecuador, It became a natural and wonderful way of living.
In 1993 we started of as adventurous backpackers to South America. It was love at first sight: the continent stole our hearts with its magnificent nature, colourful culture, and welcoming people. We never left. We still spend about half of each year in Otavalo, located in the north of Ecuador, to support our production and our team of around 700 knitters. Furthermore, we are closely involved with each step of the process, from the design phase to wool dyeing and knitting and the distribution of our products. INTI focuses on items that are hand-made with respect for nature, cultures, and people. Stitch by stitch, each piece is lovingly developed from high-quality materials, on two needles, by local knitters working in their own homes. To us, this is the essence of sustainable fashion.
Leon van den Broek
The Sunny Spirit of INTI For Leon and Anna, INTI has always been an adventure. A positive, brightly growing and always changing story. When they landed in Ecuador all those years ago, the country immediately stole their hearts with its colourful people and welcoming culture. The thread started there: from love. In their quest to build a knitting company, the steps they made were small and considerate. Less is more: by growing and learning together with the knitting community, they ensure our knits are made with durability in mind. Together, we are connected through our love of the product. We take care of each other, celebrate birthdays, share dinners stories. ‘Enjoy each moment, work hard, and be kind to people.’ This bright thread through our lives runs deep. Leon will be missed greatly in both our families in the Netherlands and in Ecuador, but in all of our future adventures, his positivity will keep inspiring us.
The wool is still hand-woven in a traditional manner that preserves its characteristic structure. Weaving is a labour-intensive process: INTI’s weaving takes place at Fabian and Elsa’s weaving shop in Ecuador. Fabian warps and weaves a wide range of colours on the loom. When the weaving is finished, he combs the scarf with a large teasel. This creates an astonishing effect: the resulting blend of colours is always a pleasant surprise. Fabian and Elsa’s life has taken a different turn thanks to this scarf: they were able to build a weaving shop next to their house.
Diana (still pregnant in this picture) is our savior in so many ways. Besides knitting, she checks the knitting samples, takes care of the studio and is a joy having around. In July she gave birth to her son Alexis.
Esmeralda and Eugenia
These two sisters are working regularly in our studio, here they’re making some samples for the new collection.
Knitting studio Ibarra la Florida
This is the studio of Michael and Lucy, they have been making woolen garment for over 40 years. Their company is one of the oldest companies in the region and a reliable supplier of Inti Knitwear.
In remembrance of Imelda Hermelinda Benitez
November 2017 we had to say goodbye to Imelda. For eighteen years this strong willed lady represented the heart and soul of Inti Knitwear. With her sense of style, her vision and passion she was an example to all of us.Â She taught over 300 knitters her skills and devotion.
So with every piece we will make in the future, a little Imelda magic still comes with it.
Dear Imelda, we will miss you immensely!
Donna Rosa Martinez
A cheerful woman who enjoys life and work. She has 28 knitters working for her, including many family members and neighbors.
Señora Miriam Lema
Senora Lema works for one of our head knitters Donna Gloria. After her husband passed away and her children left home, knitting became a welcoming distraction. It gives her a substantial income to leed a carefree life.
In the past 15 years Elisa became very important to us. She is our tower of strength. She takes care of our administration and stays in touch with all our knitters. This is the kind of person we can build on when running our business from the Netherlands. Elisa is the breadwinner of the family and lives together with her father and two cousins.
Mercedes has been working for us for the past twenty years and is one of the many important woman Inti relies on. Not only she, but her entire family works for Inti. She’s a full ‘Indigina’ with heart and soul. (A descendant of the Incaâ). Mercedes lives with her sisters and mother.