Thursday, April 7, 2011

Adventures in Menswear

After countless requests for Menswear, I decided to include some pieces in my 2011 collection. It started with a request from a good friend of mine for a purple plaid shirt. After he said purple, I immediately thought, that would go perfectly! I quickly found fabrics, but how was I going to make the plain ol plaid fabric into a trachten hemd? It needed something... like a cool button. I decided that I would do something different, something that I have never seen... Hand painted edelweiss buttons! After a few trial and error, I got the hang of painting the little guys and before I knew it, I painted 100+ buttons!

Painting buttons at the Summer Haus!

Plaid Short Sleeve Shirt with Hand Painted Buttons

But not all of the pieces could have the buttons, that would be a little redundant and boring... and I wanted more than 2 menswear pieces in my collection. Now what? I began to think back to my meeting with Joan Shifrin and Catherine Shimony, co-founders of the Global Goods Partners, at the trade show in Chicago. They had said that they have great embroiderers in Cambodia and that maybe we could collaborate on something. This was the perfect opportunity. After lots of back and forth via e-mail and phone, it was decided that the El Hombre Sobre La Tierra embroiderers from Mexico was a better fit for the kind of work that I was looking for and I sent off my fabrics!

El Hombre Sobre la Tierra expert embroidery!

Within about 6 weeks I received my fabric back and the embroidery was perfect! It was just what I wanted and I was even more excited that I was able to give my business to the women working in the poverty stricten areas of the Yucatan. "El Hombre Sobre la Tierra works with several Mayan villages in the Mexican state of Yucatán—the peninsula perhaps best known for one of the country’s top tourist destinations, Cancún. Despite Cancún’s successful economy, there is severe poverty in the region. For the past five centuries, the indigenous Maya have fought to defend their cultural identity and natural resources in the face of colonization, state-sponsored marginalization and most recently, globalization. Today, most Maya live in poor conditions, usually in small homes with earthen floors, palm-leaf roofs and timber walls. Education levels remain low, and Mayan-speaking adults are alienated from the Spanish-speaking majority, who claim a monopoly on political, economic and social power. Cultural norms make progress particularly challenging for women in the region, preventing them from owning land and working outside the home. Slash-and-burn agriculture has depleted environmental resources, making it necessary for Maya communities to seek more sustainable means of development." GGP

Since the release of my 2011 collection, I have gotten the most response and comments regarding the menswear. I've already sold 6 of the Grey Shirts with embroidery! So this week, I've been working hard to make more menswear pieces for the summer collection! I'm trying to be resourceful and use some of the embroidery that I have from Mexico, as well as my painted buttons. But I'm also going to use new metal buttons and new prints and colors! I've very excited about the men's shirts and I can't wait to shoot them when the weather gets warmer.

Newest Menswear piece for summer 2011

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