Meet San Diego's Coolest Eco-Conscious Entrepreneur: Johanna Swanson

By Casey Gillespie | January 6, 2020 | People

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“The name ‘Mar Y Lana’ means ‘sea and wool,’ and this project is where my Colombian heritage, with its rich history of loom-woven wool textiles, and my lust for all things beach and surf collide,” says Johanna Swanson, Cardiff resident and founder of Mar Y Lana. The idea for the business came to her during one of her daily surf trips, but what Swanson has created is far more than a nostalgic pastime—she is on a mission to save a village of talented artisans, do her part to end fast fashion and create a business that will directly benefit children in need. “Weavers are abandoning their looms every day to go work in the coal mines and potato fields. I want to create enough business for them so that they can return to this beautiful craft.” The ponchos are made to order (delivery time is about two weeks), and with every poncho sold, one is donated to a child in need in Colombia.

Many of Mar Y Lana’s patterns and weaves are based on traditional poncho styles, but as the brand grows, it will add more home decor items such as luxe blankets and rugs. It’s also experimenting on other items of clothing using a variety of materials such as organic cotton and hemp. But as the company blossoms, Swanson’s dream is for that little village in Colombia to blossom alongside it. “I envision the artisan community growing exponentially, as this craft involves a whole ecosystem of makers. It starts with the shepherds who keep the sheep and the farmers who grow thistle, moves on to the shearers, those who spin the thread, [then goes on to] weaving the fabric, cutting, sewing and carding,” says Swanson. “My goal is to impact this whole system by bringing life to each aspect and restoring respect of the craft in order to encourage the younger generation to take part in the process.” Fowlers Boutique, 2029 San Elijo Road, Cardiff by the Sea; The Rising Co., 332 S. Coast Highway, Oceanside; Sea Hive Marketplace, 1555 S. Coast Highway, Oceanside



Tags: Clothing

Photography by: Kat Reynolds