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Marty Offline OP
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And switching now, to a story of both tradition and modernity, there's a new garment brand launching in Belize tomorrow.

It's called XE'IL, a new take on Mayan geometrical embroidery that's soon to sweep the nation and the closets of women from PG to Corozal.

And today, a day designated as Indigenous People's day, we spoke to the Executive Director of SATTIM, Maya Choc, about the Mayan women behind this brand and how and how they're forging a living from self-expression. Here's that story.

Looking for a garment that's both Haute Couture and truly Belizean?

Well, there's a new garment brand on the market fitting just that description. It's a line of dresses embroidered with the Xokb'il Chuy, or counted stitches tradition. The designs depict motifs from Maya stories, such as the sun, moon, and animals or plants found in their environment.

Now, Belizean Mayan women are finding one more way to keep their culture alive and to hopefully make a sustainable living too.

Maya Choc, Executive Director, SATIIM
"Xe' Il, it means from our roots and it goes in line with our motto true to our roots, as we know the signature behind this brand is the Xokb'il Chuy embroidery which is a form of expression and it has been passed down from generation to generation, So when you think about Xe'il we are being true to our roots with practicing these hand stitches. It's not factory manufactured, it's not something made in China or even in a sweatshop. It's made by women hand sown by women."

And with lessons learned from the Pandemic Choc says the brand's target consumer is the local Belizean and maybe even the regional consumer.

Maya Choc, Executive Director, SATIIM
"We're looking at how can we create something that would appeal to other Mayan people and other people from the Belizean public, because we don't want to be too reliant on the tourism and waiting on them to buy our products, we want to create something that people want to buy, that you would want to wear and I would want to wear in my every day job or even to go out."

The goal is for the brand to be something current based in the traditional, Choc says that spirit is embodied by the makers, a cross section of middle aged to very young artisans being supported by their elders.

Maya Choc, Executive Director, SATIIM
"We have not found any way for indigenous people on a whole to benefit from this, but here we have an opportunity to create opportunities for our women, our indigenous women who are the most marginalize in our society and its creating economic opportunity for them. No longer, we hope that they wouldn't have to be walking the beach of placencia trying to sell something to a tourist. We want them to be secure at home creating their Xokb'il Chuy and we transform it into clothing piece that people would want to buy and they are able to develop themselves further. That's the idea behind the brand and all the proceeds that this brand creates, it would go back into developing the industry and we are starting with clothing, but we are hoping that we expand, to where baskets, to the koshtal bags, whatever it is that the women they create and not just the women too but other sectors of our group, whether it's the carving with the men. These are all the things that we want to put in there and it's all about empowerment for indigenous people and our women particularly with this project."

Xi'el officially launches tomorrow with four original designs.

Xe'il will be accessible from its Facebook and Instagram page. Starting tomorrow the garments will be available to be shipped countrywide.

Channel 7

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Marty Offline OP
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Collection Released Of New Maya Brand Of Clothing Xe'il Belize

Xe'il, meaning "True to our Roots" - a meaningful brand designed and developed to provide a source of economic empowerment to Mayan women and showcase the dawn of a fashion era emerging from Southern Belize. The establishment of Xe'il started in October of 2019 and was executed by the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM) with financial support from The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) through its Cultural and Creative Industries Innovative Fund (CIIF) to position Maya women as national artists and bring their creative products to a wider market, starting with new fashion designs adorned with Xokb'il Chuy.

Local fashion designer, Ronelli Requena, owner of Zayvha Sarai, has designed the premier collection of garments under this new brand titled: Yahtz'il pronounced (yasil) meaning 'beloved' through numerous consultations with the Maya women of the San Antonio Village in the Toledo District. In collaboration with the Ixk'�ntz'iit women's cooperative from San Antonio Toledo, Ronelli also trained women within the village to sew these clothing as ready-to-wear items created with the conscious consumer in mind. The premiere collection includes 4 items for women and 1 for men, available in 3 different sizes. The collection will be available for sale starting Monday, October 18, 2021.

For ordering information please contact SATIIM at +501-615-8536 or via the Facebook Page at

Click here to read the rest of the article in the Ambergris Today


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SATIIM Launches Xe'il Clothing Line

Fashion shows are not common these days, given the COVID-19 pandemic. But that did not stop the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management from bringing a group of Mopan Maya women together with a Belizean fashion designer.� Today, about two years after they began the creative collaboration, the Xe'il brand clothing line was official launched.� News Five found out more about a purposeful brand developed to provide economic empowerment to Mayan women in southern Belize.

Duane Moody, Reporting

Xe'il, which means true to our roots, is a new clothing line that has been developed by Maya women from San Antonio Village. Established in October of 2019 and executed by SATIIM, through funding from the Caribbean Development Bank, it brought together modern fashion design with a Mayan twist; the embroidery of the Mopan Maya women from southern Belize.

Maya Choc, Executive Director, SATIIM

"It started back with her Excellency Froyla T'zalam; she was a big part of this as the former Executive Director of SATIIM. And really what we wanted to do is create economic opportunity for Mayan women. Through this project we have been able to revitalise some of these practices, the embroidery especially. When you look around, we are seeing how little by little we are losing our culture. We are being socialised in society and so for us it is important to preserve our culture. And how do we go about doing that? And so we went about asking the question what would make you want to wear that clothing. And it started from asking Mayan women because they are the ones who wear them usually. Now it is asking the younger generation how would you want to wear the clothing."

Fashion designer Ronelli Reque�a from San Ignacio, Cayo, was brought in to work with the women. She helped with the sketching of the designs that cater to everyone and can be used in the workplace, going to a dinner and even out for cocktails. Her knowledge of embroidery along with the tradition of the Mopan Mayan women was infused into the garments.

Ronelli Reque�a, Designer

"They are amazing. I got to meet them last year for the first time and basically get that idea and essence of who they really are so we can put those ideas, their little stories that they have and the vision that we have for the project into this one collection - what we call the Yahtz'il "Beloved Collection." When you think about the Maya clothing, you think about modesty, the femininity, but still keeping that tradition into it. So you have the quadrado shirt with this beautiful, elaborate embroidery which a lot us don't know that they actually have a lot of meaning. So each of the embroidery, each of the pieces have a lot of meaning so each of the pieces has a story. So either the birds, they have some with the turtles, some with little dogs on it. Even the diamonds, they have a story, they have a meaning to each of these stuff."

So where can you get these unique pieces?

Maya Choc

"It's authentic, it is not a machine made in china kinda thing. We have the women who literally sit down and they create these pieces, stitching one stitch at a time. But for now, we have it on our Facebook, Instagram - we are taking orders from there - and we also have a large number coming in from WhatsApp, email, people just reaching out wanting to get a piece of the clothing. So that's where it is for now until we get our website up and running."

Channel 5

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