A Luxury Label that Gives Back
While the recent tragedies in Bangladesh’s garment factories are a reminder of how far the retail industry has to go in terms of reform, it’s important to highlight those rare stories of fashion brands that do support the communities they work in. The latest project from Maiyet, the creation of a state-of-the-art weaving facility in Varanasi, India, to preserve the ancient silk-weaving tradition there, is one such story.
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Maiyet, the luxury label with a social conscience, is barely a year old and launched their very first Pre-Fall collection this week. But the label is already expanding into different categories–and we don’t mean accesories (been there, done that) or beauty.
Maiyet launched a rum line along with their PreFall line this week.
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The fashion industry isn’t generally concerned with social justice or making the world a better place. Just making it prettier. But new label Maiyet aims to do both.
Maiyet, which is named for the Egyptian goddess of truth and harmony, is the brainchild of South African human rights lawyer Paul van Zyl and industry vet Kristy Caylor (she was most recently the president of Band of Outsiders). “Part of this idea was to try to find a way of restoring prosperity to communities which had been through hard times,” van Zyl said. “So the idea was to find artisans who have this very rare skill and to elevate that into something beautiful and to allow them to derive greater value from their craft and to return the prosperity to them.”
What that means is that Maiyet partners with artisans in communities in India, Colombia, Kenya and Indonesia (to name a few countries) and works their craft into design elements of the line. “We take their skill set and do the design work ourselves and harness that skill set into their looks,” Caylor said. Maiyet then works with these artisans to develop their crafts over time and bring value back to the community–no plundering here. To find these artisans, Caylor and van Zyl took 25 international trips over six months. “We scoured the earth from places we both wanted to work with from a social perspective but also from a product perspective,” Caylor said.
And the end product?
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