I’ve been SO EXCITED to bring you guys this post. One of my favorite things to do is shop for art. I love going to galleries, art shows, markets…I stinkin’ love it. Back in Boston, SOWA and the South End Art Walk were one of my favorite things to do on Earth. I get so excited and inspired by others creations, like I can literally feel my soul buzzing around with glee as I take it all in from artist to artist. That being said, I also love fashion. And so when I came across Mara Vera Textiles, I pretty much peed my pants in excitement. New age design combined with old age technique; this handmade scarf is everything. And just when you think it can’t get any better, it does. Let me tell you all about it.
(Oh and P.S. I connected with a local photographer here in Atlanta, her name is Jenn and she is LEGIT, the bomb. All of these pics are by her. Doesn’t she make me look so cute!? You can check out more of her work at her website: Monkey and Squirrel).
Locally sourced materials. Hand woven on pit-looms. Hand block printed with natural and azo free dyes. It takes master artisans in India up to a week to complete one Mara Vera textile – and each one is truly a work of art.
Each scarf is 100% handmade – from start to finish. The scarves are hand woven on a pit-loom from locally sourced cotton and silk yarns, producing the finest and most luxe silk/cotton handmade textile out there. Then, the process of block printing starts with transferring the paper drawing/designs (which Mara Vera owner Drashta creates in her London studio) onto a piece of wood. This design is then hand carved onto a block. Once ready, this block is dipped in natural dye to transfer the design on to the textile. The entire process is eco-friendly, sustainable, socially conscious and ZERO electricity is used.
You have to check out pics of the process – it’s pretty amazing. Mara Vera is LITERALLY slow textiles at their finest.
Dress on sale, wearing a medium, true to size
Not only does Mara Vera take textile making to a whole new level, they are instituting a paradigm shift by measuring success differently. They don’t measure success by dollar amount sold but by how many artisans they support. Five percent of proceeds from every sale is invested back into the local artisan communities. For the artisans, weaving and printing is life and Mara Vera creates opportunities for them to reach markets they otherwise would have no access to. Speaking of artisans…
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Love these sunglasses. I got them in my prescription so I wear the all the time!
Mara Vera works with a couple of husband and wife artisan teams. Babu and his wife out of Gujarat, India, have been in the textile business for the past 11 years and have a family run workshop. They hope to pass the art/skill of hand weaving textiles down to their daughters. Another of Mara Vera’s artisan partners is Arvind and Sudha, a husband and wife team out of Rajasthan, India. They are master hand block printers – an age-old skill passed down to Arvind from his father + grandfather.
“India has a rich textile heritage which needs to be shared with the world. More now than ever before since sustainability in the clothing industry is now a requirement, not an option.”- Drashta
One scarf four ways
Okay so let’s talk about this beauty. I mean come on. Are you guys drooling yet!? This scarf is so GORGEOUS. I love the pattern, the weight, the colors, everything. I also love the size. It’s 39″ X 39″ square. Perfect to use as a head wrap – which is originally why I reached out to Mara Vera because I was looking for a sustainable piece to wear on my head during my “going gray” transition. (I think I found it). It’s also great to use as a headband, a neck scarf or to tie around a bag. Not too big, not too small. And I have to say, the texture is AMAZING. A silk/cotton blend that is light enough for the summer but sturdy enough for the winter.
And how about this design!? Mara Vera has so many interesting designs – it was so hard to choose which one I wanted. This one is called Begad and sells for £45.00 which currently exchanges to about $58. This specific design is inspired by the desert of Kutch and is printed with natural red dye locally known as begad. Like all of Mara Vera’s pieces, this scarf is hand woven on a pit loom with locally sourced yarns and takes about 4 days to make. (FOUR DAYS!) I mean, talk about the definition of slow fashion. This. Is. It.
Imperfections and slight color variations are part of Mara Vera’s beauty and uniqueness – check out some of the beauty marks that came with my piece. I love these because, like any piece of original art, it is unique unto itself and no other piece will look just like this one.
A little about the natural dyes. Mara Vera says;
We use dyes made from natural ingredients whenever possible. Clay, sesame oil, turmeric powder, harda paste, pomegranate peels, madder roots, fermented jaggery and iron, indigo, flowers and barks of specific plants and natural minerals are some of the key ingredients used in printing our scarves.
All ingredients are sourced locally and made into a paste by hand using old school methods. Some of the dyes take up to one month to ferment.
Shoes, no longer available
I also wanted to introduce you to Drashta, the founder of Mara Vera Textiles, and tell you a little bit about how she got started. With a BA in Fashion Design she ran a women’s clothing brand before Mara Vera which supported 15 families in Mumbai, India. Her designs were featured on the cover of Vogue India TWICE and multiple times in local editions of Elle, Grazia, L’Officiel + others. During this time she met Babu, her now master weaver, who needed help to keep his heirloom textile art alive. And this became her mission. She now works with three weaver families and one block printer family in India and travels there twice a year to develop new textile and print designs.
Drashta draws inspiration from the landscapes of the UK coastline and the Indian terrain. Her designs are simple, bold and contemporary which make them easy to style. Because she uses natural dyes, her color schemes tend to be warm and earthy – her signature look.
Mara Vera means “My Love” in Gujarati language which is also Drashta’s mother tongue. It was founded with the intention of bringing modern design and sustainability into our everyday lives. So excited to bring this beautiful piece of slow fashion into my world. Thanks you Mara Vera!
Check out their other designs at the Mara Vera website.