The Select Guest
MEET | ARIANE DUTZI
Featured 5.15-5.21.17 | If you've spent any time with me or with my social media, you probably know that Tulum is my idea of the most perfect place on the planet. Turns out I'm not the only one who finds great peace in this area of the Yucatan, so I'd like to introduce you to German-born handbag designer Ariane Dutzi, who moved to this part of the world after studying French literature at the Sorbonne and getting a crash course in fashion design in NYC. She's traveled the world, has an incredible eye for detail and has taken great care to give back to the country she now calls home.
Welcome to Ariane's week.
more about ariane
Born and raised in Germany, Ariane Dutzi is a global citizen with something of an innate resistance to putting down roots in any one place. Ariane is also a born creator. Paris is where it all began. Ariane left home to attend Sorbonne University, and after school landed a job as a foreign correspondent with a German media group. She spent ten years covering fashion, art and design in the industry’s European epicenter, and then another four years in New York where she moved on from the media group and began working with the vintage buyer for Ralph Lauren. It was here that she made the official transition from correspondent to designer. Interacting constantly with top designers for the industry’s best brands.
Pursuing a need for change and relief from the pace of New York life, Ariane ended up in Tulum, Mexico, a quiet beach town on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. There, the high-end hotel business that had attracted several of her friends roped Ariane in as well. In the end, what was originally intended to be a three-month sabbatical turned into a long term, on- again off-again love affair with the Mexican mistress: the Yucatán.
In Tulum, Ariane opened her own vintage shop and even toyed around with some handbag designs, hiring a local artisan to put together a prototype. But still, Ariane remained unsure as to where her heart lay, until finally in 2007 she took the plunge and moved permanently to Mexico, buying and renovating a house a short drive from Tulum, in a small city called Valladolid.
Before long, the new project – the fresh idea and unique opportunity that Ariane had been looking for – literally knocked on her door. Two years after being hired, the artisan she had partnered with brought a handbag prototype to Ariane’s home. Instantly, dutzi design was born. Ariane knew that if she was going to launch her own line, she was going to have to do things differently. For her, responsibility is central: we all have a responsibility toward each other as fellow human beings; and the Earth is a resource that we have a responsibility to protect. These two fundamental beliefs were built into dutzi from the beginning. Not only would it be a company centered around beautiful, high-quality design, it would be a company founded on giving back.
Today, dutzi employs 23 indigenous Mayan artisans – most of them women – from Valladolid and the surrounding communities. it. The materials that dutzi uses are eco-friendly, as well. The majority of Ariane’s bags are made from recycled burlap that she has spent years sourcing from all over Mexico. No mass production is involved: each bag is individually sewn and one-of-a-kind. Even the mecapál straps are hand made by one of the last families in the region trained in the traditional technique.
According to Ariane, “You have to establish something first and then give back.” A lifetime of travels, of learning from the world’s best designers and eventually becoming one of them herself; years of connections, discoveries and experiences collected: this has all lead to the formation of Ariane’s creative flow. Now, her vision is serving as the foundation for a project that is changing women’s lives in the Yucatán while preserving the Earth that we all call home.