More than a belt: The embroidered straps

The embroidered straps from Guatemala are versatile, beautifully embroidered and decorated in many colors. We use them as camera straps, which make you more interested in photography and give even classic outfits that certain something when traveling. But how are the embroidered straps normally used in Guatemala, the origin country?


In Guatemala, the straps serve as belts, called faja, for indigenous women. They are part of the typical outfit of indigenous women in the Guatemalan highlands and ensure that the skirt does not slip. Together with the skirt, also known as Corte and the blouse, known as Huipil, the clothes form the traditional indigenous women's outfit. The strap is therefore worn around the waist of the women and is not kept as a belt, but elaborately embroidered. Vibrant colors ensure that there are many variants that all differ from one another. In the Highlands of Guatemala, the faja, i.e. the artistic belt, is part of everyday life and is an integral part of the traditional costume of women. The production is very similar to the Huipil, which is first woven and then artistically embroidered.

Colorful and elaborately embroidered belt from Guatemala

The embroidered straps are made by hand by the indigenous women without exception. The individual threads of colored cotton are first woven into a belt. In contrast to many other textiles from Guatemala, the belt consists of only one piece and is not composed of different parts. The exact dimensions and the thickness of the belts depend on the respective product, as there are differences depending on the model. This belt is then also embroidered by hand, whereby the motifs and symbols have a deep meaning that can still be traced back to the Maya and their culture. So these are not simply symbols that have no further meaning. Rather, they reveal something about the culture, the origin of the women and the region from which they come. Flowers in all colors and shapes are very popular with the embroidered straps, which provide a tropical touch and go well with a feminine look.

In combination with high-quality leather and snap hooks at the ends, this creates a belt that brings that certain something with it. Because it should be noted here that there are no two identical embroidered straps. The reason for this is that in contrast to machine work from factories, a certain uniqueness is always preserved. Each model is therefore actually unique and can definitely not only be used as a belt by the indigenous women in Guatemala.

At Mayalla, for example, we love using the straps as a camera strap, replacing boring, monochrome straps that are normally used with the camera. But here it pays to be creative when using it. How about use as a guitar band or a bag that urgently needs that certain something? There are many options here, depending entirely on your preferences and your style. What is certain is that the embroidered straps, like all textiles from Guatemala, have been in use for a long time and the bright colors do not wear off as quickly.

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