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The History of Silvania

Silvania is the revival of the fabric business created in 1956 in Lima, Peru by Georgia Kirkpatrick’s grandmother, Silvia. Silvia took inspiration from precolonial Peruvian motifs and turned them into her own colorful prints on cotton products.

Silvia in a Silvania dress, Silvia with huacos at the Museo Larco, Silvania

Silvia created Silvania Prints after a two-year expedition with her husband, Victor von Hagen, for his book Highway of the Sun.  Victor met her as an art student in New York and described her in his book as having "a way of puncturing sophisms with thrusts of disarming frankness".  With family roots in Germany and Peru, Silvia identified herself as a citizen of the world after growing up in Bremen and Sao Paolo, attending college in New York, and raising her family in Lima and San Francisco.

Silvia in a Silvania dress with a screen, Silvia with Bettina in Lima

Silvia raised three children while starting her business.  She was ahead of her time as a modern working mother in a country dominated by male-led businesses.  Georgia's clothing and accessory designs are inspired by strong, working women like Silvia. 

Silvia in a screenprinting in her taller, Silvia with printed fabric, Silvania

Silvia came to open several stores in Lima and Cusco, Peru selling fabric, clothing, and home goods.  Silvania Prints was a popular brand in Peru until Silvia closed it in 2004.  She passed away in 2007.

Seated Georgia in Fauna de la Costa wrap dress

Georgia revived Silvania in 2012, a few years after graduating from Reed College in her hometown of Portland, Oregon (Georgia has spent a few years living in Peru and continues to visit frequently).  Follow Georgia's work on the blog.