Behind the Scenes: World’s Greatest Beanie

HO15_BehindtheScenes_Title

Capturing the World's Greatest Beanie

There's quite a bit of time and consideration that goes into creating the World's Greatest Beanie. From the hand-selected baby alpaca fibers to each carefully knit string of yarn, it's a process that requires a high level of care and attention to detail. When it came to documenting this process, we knew that we would have to take the very same approach. After assembling a team of talented photographers, videographers, and adventurers, we hit the road and traveled far and wide across Peru, capturing landscapes and spending time with each individual that makes this beanie truly unique. Learn more about a few members of the team below, as well as details about their experience documenting the World's Greatest Beanie.

TANNER WENDALL: PHOTOGRAPHER

Lightning_RD

What drew you to this project?
At first I was excited about the opportunity to visit Peru. I have never been to South America, and Peru is so beautiful. After hearing about the heart and mission behind this beanie, I was so excited to have the chance to capture the heart behind KK intl. and the Worlds Greatest Beanie also the chance to work on a project that is making the world a better place, that's what I want my life to be.

Did you have a favorite moment or interaction with any of the individuals involved with making the beanie?
I took a Polaroid image of all of the people, during the process. The son of the farmer at 15,000 feet at Mallkini Ranch was a really awesome kid. I took 2 Polaroids images of him and let him keep one of them. He was so enthralled by the image. There was also a really cool moment with our taxi driver. I asked him to drive us to the top of a mountain to photograph sunrise, after shooting for 30 minutes we were driving back down, all of a sudden he took us down this random little road. we drove around the corner to the most epic view of the mountains. A truly local spot.

R26A9691

Where was your favorite place you traveled while documenting the World's Greatest Beanie?
Aerquipa was the coolest place. The mountains and volcanoes surrounding the city were the largest mountain silhouettes I have ever seen.

Did anything surprise you or defy your expectations while on the trip?
To see how much of an impact KK intl.'s Country Director Blake and the KK intl. staff have made in Peru is amazing. They are superheroes to me. Also I didn't expect the altitude to affect me so much, the near 14,000 feet Mallkini Ranch was beautiful but I had some of the worst headaches of my life due to the high altitude. I'm so thankful for modern medicine, and ibuprofen.

Did seeing every step along the supply chain alter the way you think about your everyday purchases?
It absolutely did. I wish more people could experience this process, it gives you such a sense of appreciation for life, the products we buy and gave me a bigger desire to support companies that are very transparent about what and how they create their products.

IMG_8610

JONATHAN ZOETEMAN: PHOTOGRAPHER

_TWS0164

What drew you to this project?
The whole mission of KK intl. really resonates strongly with me, so the organization was a big part of it, but the concept of really putting faces and stories to every step of a product that we buy also really spoke to me. I think it's so easy to just buy things, to ignore what's going on behind the scenes to feed our consumption. So I felt this project really challenged that mindset, challenged us to look at fashion and clothing and the things we buy in a different way. To see them as a collection of faces and stories behind each product we purchase.

Did you have a favorite moment or interaction with any of the individuals involved with making the beanie?
I think the moment I will remember the most happened at nearly 15,000 feet. We had spent the morning filming and photographing the alpacas and their farmer and his son. The farmer's son's name was Ronaldhino, and I still remember the pride on his face as he went over and grabbed his “good ball”. It was a fairly well-used soccer ball, but compared to his other ball that was literally falling apart, it looked great. We spent the next 15-20 minutes kicking the ball around the hilly terrain, with smiles on our faces, surrounded by the beautiful Peruvian countryside. There was a simplicity and joy present in that moment that I'll never forget.

Where was your favorite place you traveled while documenting the World's Greatest Beanie?
Hmm! That's a tough one! I would have to say the city of Arequipa was a highlight for me. Nestled between a series of volcanoes the combination of the beautiful landscapes and the amazing architecture and people within the city was quite something. I'll never forget catching sunrise with Tanner, Philip, and Rob as first light hit the city and the volcano Misti. Truly an incredible place to experience.

Did anything surprise you or defy your expectations while on the trip?
I'm not sure I had any specific expectations for the KK intl. headquarters in Lima, but I can honestly say it exceeded any I had. Getting to spend time with KK intl.'s Country Director Blake and the team there was a real honor, and I was so impressed with the women there, the work they do, and how the organization is giving dignity and support to these women day in and day out. To see so many passionate interns as well also really touched me.

Did seeing every step along the supply chain alter the way you think about your everyday purchases?
I mentioned it before, but for me this process really showed me that every product we buy is made up of a collection of stories and faces. I had the opportunity to see those faces and hear those stories first hand, but everything we buy has a story and face behind it. What makes the work of KK intl. so amazing is that these faces and stories are what it's all about. Not just a product, although we need clothing and hats in our day to day lives. For me it's the fact that we live in an era where we can choose to let our purchases make a difference and create change or we can choose to make purchases that continue cycles that aren't sustainable or beneficial to the people that matter most behind the scenes.

ROB DONEGAN: KK INTL. ART DIRECTOR

_TWS2725

What drew you to this project?
I've been wanting to see our program locations since starting at KK intl. When we started talking about doing the World’s Greatest Beanie I really felt like it was a good next step and challenge for KK intl. to try and do.

Did you have a favorite moment or interaction with any of the individuals involved with making the beanie?
The Mallkini Ranch farmer’s son was a trip! We were all sick from the altitude, struggling to catch our breath after every few steps. Then there’s this 5 year old kid just running circles around us. He was so excited that people were there. I just remember thinking that this guy has no frame of reference for any other way to live. To him, life at 14,000 feet in that setting is just everyday. That was pretty cool.

IMG_7922

Where was your favorite place you traveled while documenting the World's Greatest Beanie?
Every place we visited was incredible. The highlands, where the alpaca live, is beautiful. Of all the places we got to see though, I think Arequipa was my favorite. It’s a beautiful city at the base of a volcano. A lot of the older buildings around there are made from some kind of light colored volcanic stone, so it gave it this old European feel.
I also really enjoyed the time spent around Lima. Blake spent a whole day showing us around the area where the women work. It was really great to see the amount of work that went into the program there firsthand.

Did anything surprise you or defy your expectations while on the trip?
The whole process behind making the beanie was incredible to see. It’s hard to pinpoint one particular moment because I felt like everything built on itself. We would be in the highlands and think, it’s impossible to top this, and the next place would be equally as incredible. The whole trip just kept building and ended at our program location in Lima. The last shot of the trip was a group photo with all of our Peruvian participants. Seeing all the ladies outside on the street was great, they all went crazy when our videographers Phil and Esther Leclerc's drone flew over head too. It was such a great final shot to end the trip with.

Did seeing every step along the supply chain alter the way you think about your everyday purchases?
Absolutely! Meeting all the people along the way added so much more personality to the process. Learning names, hearing about families, and seeing people smile was such an awesome experience.

IMG_9454

_TWS7680

This entry was posted in On The Ground, Product and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments

comments