Trailing the team behind Holt Renfrew’s latest international pop-up collection, Andrew Sardone travels through Ecuador and Peru and learns there’s more to their globe-trotting than stocking up on stylish souvenirs. Photography by Jenna Marie Wakani.
On a cool morning in mid-April, Alexandra Weston, the director of brand strategy at Holt Renfrew, and a small team of buyers, development workers and photographers are driving through the patchwork hills that rise up from Ecuador’s Rio Chambo. Adele’s power ballad Hello blasts from the van’s sound system and everyone’s once-light luggage is filled with the spoils – beaded jewellery, woven bags and too many miniature alpaca toys to count – of a visit to the market in now distant Otavalo. Today’s destination: the Swing at the End of the World, a precarious-looking attraction that propels visitors into the clouds high above Banos de Agua Santa and then on to the airport in Quito for a short flight south to Lima in neighbouring Peru.