As I mentioned in Monday's blog post, this week is Fashion Revolution Week, and I have loved sharing a bit of my production process and more with you on Instagram. I've also loved learning more about the efforts that other designers are making in the fashion industry. With the variety of topics per day during Fashion Revolution, Friday's Textile Innovation really caught my attention and Style412 compelled me to write a second post this week.
Textile innovation is extensive and I won't even begin to try and dissect the topic in its entirety. What I will talk about are the efforts that I have made as a designer and as a boutique owner to provide long-lasting products that are sustainable and safe to wear.
I work with a variety of natural materials that include organic cotton, linen, silk, kinds of cotton, and wools. I have high standards for each material that I use, and it is reflected in our price point. In the last year I've made efforts to improve the colors and dyes that are in our garments. Using AZO-free and natural dye has been very important to me. I even changed my navigation menu in the new year from all categories of apparel and accessories to material and fabrication.
My most favorite fabrication that I treasure so much is our wool from Chile. High-quality, handmade, and ecologically sustainable ~ this material is a great example of textile innovation and bringing practicality and art together.
The wool comes from local farmers in the Maule region and the yarn is made by hand in small batches using age-old traditions. Most spool options are neutral hues as they are untreated and totally natural, but once in a while you can get your hands on a colorful spool ~ the vibrant hues are painted on to the wool, therefore each spool is unique to their batch. The natural wool portrays intense ivory and pepper-like hues. You can literally see the Earth in the wool and in our sweaters, it is pretty magical. The wool is ethically harvested, and the sheep are naturally, organically raised ~ living wholesome lives.
Our From the Heart Sweater was composed of this very wool and was a long-awaited test product because the material is so delicate. My production manager and I were in awe of the final product ~ our sample was perfect and everything sustainable. From here, we moved on to our Pepper Floral Sweater, again a test product because the wool is intricate and a little complicated. Another success. I've decided to continue working with this super special wool and have even released a few more designs. The best part about it, the wool does not scratch or irritate your skin.
Now for a little bit of buying ~ and designing...
Upcycling ~ my dear friend, Ariane Dutzi, launched her handbag company in 2009 with the mission to help local Mayan artisans. Ariane is passionate about tradition and incorporating recycled and natural materials into her designs. Recycled burlap and raffia here make up the most of her handbags that are sewn one by one, and the bright mecapál straps are hand made by one of the last families in the region trained in the traditional technique.
Repurposed ~ Milicent of Artemis Design Co. started her company several years ago following a trip to Istanbul and falling in love with the textiles and ways to repurpose them into handbags and shoes.
Recycling ~ our From the Heart Sweater was the first sweater where we incorporated recycled material from a damaged garment. Our red heart and jet-black details are recycled cashmere. In fact, a Donate a Sweater policy is in the works on my website, where we will incorporate details or create a one-of-a-kind knit depending on the condition of the garment.
I have been working with Ariane and Milicent for years, and they were two of the first designers I carried in my boutique. I love working with both women and learning of their new products, and especially the textiles they are incorporating into their new designs.
Designing and buying are two very different things and I love the roles of both, what I've loved most about Fashion Revolution Week and Style412's podcast is realizing the endless possibility to buy better and design better, to continue to learn, and understand that things are always evolving.