Shabd Simon-Alexander: Seasonless and Artful Eco-Fashion (Photos)

Shabd Simon-Alexander spring 2010.

We first spotted the artful designs of Shabd Simon-Alexander on eco-fashion site Beklina. It was love at first sight. Shabd approaches fashion design as if it where art; She draws from a minimalist aesthetic and incorporates the folk costume tradition (of beginning one dress with the remnants from the last). For fall 2010, she imagines "seasonless shapes" in a "bright, reflective, washed-out winter palette."

In a little Q & A over e-mail, we ask Shabd more about her inspiration for fall (think mountains, and rocks, and skysrapers, oh my!), more on her locally hand-made and -dyed process, and look at beautiful photos from her upcoming collection (and a few favorites from spring, too), after the jump:For photos, keep scrolling.

TH: According to your website, you began doing your own hand dying to create fabrics that could "interact playfully with the rigidity of manufactured prints." Can you tell us what fabrics you use and where they are sourced from?

Shabd Simon-Alexander: The silks and wools for my fall collection are from my favorite garment district shops; I love that you can have a long-term relationship with the people you're buying from. The basics are bought pre-made and then dyed; I buy them from companies who work ethically, and I use organics whenever possible.

Shabd Simon-Alexander spring 2010.

"It's important to wear natural breathable fabrics with a history like silk, cotton, wool, and linen."

S S-A: What's most important to me is wearing natural fibers; I really respect designers who are sourcing interesting eco-friendly recycled blends, but for my own body it's important to wear natural breathable fabrics with a history like silk, cotton, wool, linen, etc.

Shabd Simon-Alexander spring 2010.
TH: You hand dye your fabrics. What kind of dyes to you use?

S S-A: I use professional, fade-resistant Procion fiber reactive dyes. When I first started out I was interested in natural dyes as well, but the chemicals needed to make natural dyes as stay-fast as Procion dyes are often outweighs the "natural" aspect of them. In the end the Procion dyes are great; They form a bond with the fibers themselves, and you don't have to worry about the chemicals leaching into the watersystem or into your skin.

Shabd Simon-Alexander fall 2010.
TH: Is your collection entirely hand made in New York?

S S-A: My main collection is made in my Brooklyn, NY studio, or by a small and wonderful production house in the Garment District. All of the dyeing is done by hand in my Brooklyn studio. The basics, as I said, are bought pre-made; Some of them are made in the US, and others are ethically-made in Peru, Thailand, and China.

Shabd Simon-Alexander fall 2010.
TH: And now on to our favorite question: What was the inspiration for the artful prints and shapes for the fall 2010 collection?

S S-A: Mountains and skyscrapers; metal, rock, and glass; These were the basic ideas in the back of my mind, but to be honest, sometimes I'm not even sure which came first, the clothes or the inspiration...I'm inspired by craft, and I really wanted to take my dyeing to a new level, so I began working loosely with Shibori techniques [dyeing cloth with a pattern by binding, stitching, folding, twisting].

Shabd Simon-Alexander fall 2010.
TH: Can you speak to any other environmentally conscience aspects to your collection that we may have missed?

S S-A: I didn't start my line with a goal or manifesto to be environmentally friendly, but it's the way I was raised and the way I live my life, so it's important to me that I run my company and my studio like that as well. for years I used deadstock or re-purposed fabrics. Now, I buy everything new for consistency and quantity needs. But I am continually working to evolve the collection to include environmentally-friendly fabrics.

It's very important for me to be socially- and historically-conscious as well: I want to know where and how my clothes are made, and I want to know that they have a history behind them.

Shabd Simon-Alexander fall 2010.

Shabd Simon-Alexander fall 2010.
All images courtesy of Shabd Simon-Alexander.

Prices range from $88, for leggings and tees, to $400-500 for hand dyed silk dresses. The complete collection will be available online at Shab's shop in fall 2010 and in boutiques across the US.

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Tags: Green Fashion


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