You would think that sourcing a bandana was no big deal; well friends, not quite. We searched for a long time to find an ethically grown and produced organic cotton bandana that was also sewn well. Enter the Canadian company Maiwa, founded by Charllotte Kwon. Maiwa supports traditional craft through an ethical business model. Like us, they maintain a strong educational component to their business through the School of Textiles. They work directly with farms and producers all over the world, but primarily in India, establishing relationships that have lasted over 30 years. An incredible resource if you are interested in natural dye, we took lessons from them with our experiments in Indigo Iron Vat dying. In addition to their for-profit business model, they developed a non-profit called The Maiwa Foundation. The Foundation works directly with artisans and craftspeople to support and develop higher-level skills or sustain existing skills. Maiwa is such an inspiration for us to one day be able to grow into our ambitions, no matter how big and far away they may seem.
We are incredibly grateful for the products they source and produce and are so pleased to add these bandanas to our collection!
We knew we would be working with the beautiful agave illustrations drawn by Stephen Hall for the designs of both the totes and the bandanas.
The compositions were a collaboration between Gabriel and Sabrina. Gabriel spent a few years designing textile patterns for the fashion industry, he is also the creative mind behind those beautiful patterns we post on IG occasionally. Many compositions were produced, many prints were taped to the wall, many conversations were had over morning coffee, a final choice was selected, and then Gabriel started from scratch, again.
More often than not, the hardest part of designing is committing to your choices...still not an easy thing for us after 20 years of creative practice! A big influence in the design was how the bandana would look worn as a mask. We decided to allow one agave have the spotlight, the majestic tepeztate (A. marmorata).
Gabriel's perseverance paid off and we are quite pleased with the results!
Andy and his team over at Fleaheart in Bushwick provided flawless silk-screened prints. He mixed a special water-based recipe that allows the ink to integrate into the super soft light-weight cotton fabric. Watching these humans work is really a joy, plus being able to pull a few prints ourselves is so much fun!
In 2015 I (Sabrina) bought a tote bag from a clothing company our friends founded called Don’t Worry Baby. I started using it and soon it became my go-to everyday bag. The fabric is thick and the size is perfect, not too big, not too small. Over the next four years, this bag came to represent so much more than just a thing that holds other things. It traveled with me to every single hospital visit I made while my sister Tara, was battling Ovarian Cancer. The simple text printed on this bag acted as a reminder that worrying serves no good purpose.
Earlier this Spring when Gabriel and I were deciding what products to produce in the year of COVID, I remembered that bag. Despite the serval washings, and countless spills this little tote had been subjected to, I could still read the inside label of the manufacturer. After a quick google search, it came as no surprise that my friends would have chosen such a great company with which to partner!
Enviro-Tote is also a woman-owned, family-run business. Based in New Hampshire, they cut and sew all of their bags on-premise. They have developed efficient cutting and stitching techniques, to prevent as much fabric waste as possible. In fact,all of their standard sizes (our agave totes) are designed to have no fabric waste!
We decided on a two-sided print because it accommodated six different species of agaves, and in this case, more is better! Keeping in conceptual continuity with our Agave ID Card Deck, the original project that created the Stephen Hall x TUYO x Tess Rose Lampert collab, we included the scientific names of the agaves in this pattern.
Simple in material and function, these humble utilitarian basics act as object witnesses to our everyday experiences. It's just a matter of waiting long enough for them to hold your story inside its fibers.
+ Images courtesy of Maiwa, Enviro-Tote, Fleaheart and TUYO NYC