(or Made in _________ )
Here's part 2 of my Capsule Show NY recap. Travel is often cited by fashion designers as an influence. What makes these designers different is that they're focused on a particular place, produce in that place and/or evoke that place throughout their entire collection. Made in the USA is highly valued because it's assumed it's higher quality and that there are better conditions for the workers, but have you ever seen this Portlandia Reverse Sweatshop clip? It doesn't matter where something is made if it's not made responsibly. Being made in Bali, Tallinn, or Africa can be just as highly regarded if it's done sustainably and responsibly. Often it is even better quality, especially when it comes to artisan techniques. Overseas doesn't have to mean high minimums or sweatshop labor and inspired by travel doesn't have to mean exoticizing the local culture. Here are some of my favorite designers sourcing their brand and designs globally on their own terms.
Angela O'Brien and her husband Jim founded their clothing and accessories line in Bali, Indonesia, where they develop their products with local artisans and small factories to create sustainable jobs. When not living the island life, they are in SoCal where they have a boutique in Sunset Beach (one of my favorite beaches). Their A/W collection features intricate beaded goddess crop tops, fringe, simple prints and gown-like dresses you can wear all day in rosy maroon, chalky black and cream. It's like the wardrobe of a chic genie. While it's more fun to wear these pieces with your toes in the sand, they are just as functional for subway rides and layering under a winter coat. You can shop their current collection here: Cleobella.
Designers Hanna Riiheläinen and Emilia Hernesniemi met while studying in Helsinki, Finland. Their new work includes a fun purple crush velvet dress and top in their signature Mickey design, to-die-for wool coats, and a modern light denim bomber and pant set. Their minimal color palette, body-conscious shapes and graphic prints ooze of sophisticated Scandinavian design. They are based in Helsinki, Finland and produce in Tallinn, Estonia. You can shop their collection at RH Studio.
Tejido shop is a textile and accessories brand that works with artisan communities in North and South America. Back in 2013 they had a kickstarter campaign to work with an artisan cooperative in Arequipa, Peru and now sell to retailers like Free People and Club Monaco. I go gaga over their prints and like the more subtle purples and monochromatic pieces from their upcoming collection.
After working with Stella McCartney and Alberta Ferretti, Mariana Iacia created her own vegan fashion brand. Based in Brazil, Svetlana includes swimwear and ready-to-wear in bright colors with custom prints. You'll be able to shop her collection soon here: Svetlana -- check it out before I buy her whole collection.
Spanish-Japanese duo Clara A.Montsalvatge and Leticia Cano Baba are shirtmakers based in Barcelona, Spain. They design strong prints in simple shirt bodies for both men and women. They source their fabrics in Shanghai and sell online at Batabasta. As they say, printed silk shirts are always in style.
Indego Africa, a nonprofit lifestyle brand, is based on economic empowerment and education. They partner with cooperatives of female artisans in Rwanda and sell their handcrafted products online. 100% of the profits fund job skills training in design, production, entrepreneurship, and English and Kinyarwanda literacy for the artisan partners. You can shop their beautiful housewares, accessories and jewelry online at Indego Africa.