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Otavalo Mountain Shirt

Otavalo Mountain Shirt

The Otavalo Cotton Shirt made in  the Andes mountains of Ecuador  is popular around the world. It’s been a tradition here for hundreds of years. For that reason it’s not a contemporary fashion statement, but wearing one you will be sporting a timeless style. South American Indigenous style. The traditional dress for Otavalo men is white shirt and pants, a navy poncho and sandals.

Otavalo Shirt

Lighweight cotton Otavalo Shirt is perfect for summer

These beautiful handmade cotton shirts from Otavalo, Ecuador are typically embroidered.  The shirts are also available without embroidery, or with white embroidery on white cotton, which is very subtle. This post showcases some of the varieties we have available.

The natural fiber clothing provides cool comfort for summer days. Slight wrinkles and creases ensure you won’t have the starched look. You will merely be comfortable. And attact some attention.

More Otavalo Shirts

On the left, incorporating other textiles in the trim: on the right is the Golden Mask design.

Our Otavalo shirts are similar to those worn by the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa. A popular Ecuadorian design motif is the  radiating golden sun-mask that is the symbol of the Banco Central.

It’s from  La Tolita culture, dated sometime between 350 BC – 350 AD. and on display in the Sala de Oro in the Banco Central museum in Quito.

Sun Mask from La Tolita Culture, and symbol of the Banco Central

Mens Cotton

Embroidery varies from geometrics to the Sun, animals and Crosses

Suns, crosses, animals like turtles and iguanas that are  native to  the Galapagos Islands are also popular themes for embroidery, but the most prominent theme is a wide range of  geometrics. North American Indian themes such as eagles, bears, buffalo, wolves and dream catchers are also popular.

Embroidery on the Otavalo Shirt

A few different styles for those who like lots of embroidery

Tagua buttons are used rather than plastic. Tagua is a carved nut from the Amazon which resembles elephant ivory, but is eco-friendly. Prior to the invention of modern plastics, a flourishing tagua button industry supplied the European fashion industry, and many uniforms from the American civil war used buttons that were made from Tagua.

In a shop near the Copacabana Market you will find cotton shirts embroidered with  Messianic Christian designs, incorporating rams, Jewish menorahs, and statements of praise and worship. From ancient times the weavers of Otavalo were producing textiles and clothing not only for the local market, but also for distant markets, creating designs for export.

From North American Indian to Messianic Christian Design

Designs vary from Indigenous to Messianic Christian

White is the traditional color for the Otavalo Mountain Shirt. Tan, green, brown and black shirts are available but normally in limited quantity unless special ordered. Collar options are the military collar or the fold down. So if you are looking for a cool comfortable cotton shirt that you can wear with ease, try one from Otavalo.

Author: Henry

5 Comments to “Otavalo Mountain Shirt”
  1. Jonathan M. Young says:


    I’m intersted in buying some mountain shirts (as a retailer). I wouild like to know if you have anu=y that are long-sleeved. that’s the style I prefer. Thank you.

  2. bernard whitcomb says:

    while in Portugal on holiday (Albufeira) my wife and I purchase embroidered blouse and shirt and we are delighted with them. Is there any where in UK we can buy some more. We are private individuals- not a company.

  3. Where can I buy an Otavalo Mountain Shirt in the U.S.? I bought some once at a local fair. There was a booth from Ecuador there. But they have not been back and the shirts I bought are all wearing out and I want more. Help!!!

  4. Hello!! in Ecuador has an online store that drives many artisans selling their name is EcuadorianHands.com where many models may elect Otavaleños shirts;)


  5. Trevor Small says:

    I like your range and styles but do you have any plain white ones size XL??

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