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Laura Siegel is an award-winning fashion designer based in New York and Toronto.
Her ethically handcrafted, easy-to-wear textured pieces are designed in collaboration with artisans in Asia and Latin America. After receiving her formal design education at Parsons School of Design in New York City and London’s Central Saint Martins’, Siegel honed her skills in silver-smithing, knitting, natural dyeing, embroidery, and accessory design with top industry professionals and skilled artisans. Her work has taken her to all corners of the globe, enabling the young designer to work for and collaborate with international designers such as Megan Park, Life with Bird, Yigal Azrouel, Luca Luca, and Arthur Mendonca. Siegel’s travels and insights into diverse design processes and unique production methods have shaped her ethically handcrafted collection while enabling artisans in third world countries to preserve their cultures and crafts.
Laura’s easy-to-wear textured pieces are aimed at women looking for comfort in their day-to-day wardrobe while continuing to seek quality and one-of-a-kind designs.
Laura Siegel collaborates with artisans in rural villages around India and Bolivia to sustain traditional crafts by employing skilled locals. Ethical practices are taken through every step of the process to ensure fair wages, a great communal work environment, and production procedures that have positive influences socially as well as environmentally on the artisans and their communities.
The artisans and craftsmanship used in the production of Laura Siegel’s collection include embroidery, block printing, knitting, natural dyeing, and bandhani.
Dhebaria Rebari Embroidery
The nomadic Rabari tribe came to India’s Kutch region in the 13th century, but it was only 15 years ago that tribe elders banned the elaborate embroidery work traditionally performed by women. Heartbroken, Rabari women found a loophole in the elders’ decree, adding an extra appliqué step to their embroidery method that allows them to continue the work they love without violating the law. Characterized by explosive color, rich texture and elaborate motifs mirroring their surroundings, Rabari embroidery is used to identify communities, sub-communities, and even social statuses.
Laura Siegel worked with the Dhebaria Rabari community using their ancient embroidery skills that have been passed down from generation to generation to handcraft the one-of-a-kind clutch in her collection.
For ten generations, Ismail Khatri’s family have been making hand block printed fabric, also known as Ajrakh. The craft itself is over 7,000 years old, with ancient examples found on Egyptian sarcophagi. The artisans use only natural dyes found in their region of Kutch, India. All of our block-printed fabrics are made in collaboration with the Khatri family. Business brought to Ajrakhpur helped to rebuild the community, which was destroyed in the aftermath of the 2001 earthquake that devastated the region.
Laura Siegel also works in Jaipur with Ratan Textiles, a group that has managed to sustain the hand-block printing method, while bringing it to a larger scale- the possibility of reducing the use of digital printing in today’s machine driven world has become one step closer thanks to Ratan Textiles.
All knits are created in collaboration with a group of female artisans in Bolivia. The women specialize in handmade production methods for knitting and hand machine knitting. The knitting artisans often work from home or are provided ample workshop space where they bring their children, allowing for a safe family environment.
Peruvian Natural Dye Work
Natural dyeing is a labour-intensive process that does not incorporate any chemical treatments. This ensures the artisans long term safety and health while preventing harsh chemicals from entering the community’s water system.
A community of natural dyers is located outside of the city of Munnar in Kerela at the welfare center which rehabilitates physically challenged young adults. We continue to work closely with this community of dyers to develop vivid new colors and unique patterns while maintaining traditional techniques.
Bandhani (Specialty Tie-Dye)
Laura Siegel works with Jabbar Khatri, (“Khatri” literally translates to “fill with color”) on various dye techniques and employs women in the Kutch region. These women specialize in Bandhani – a unique form of tie-dye particular to the Kutch region. Each square of fabric is tied by hand and removed after the dying process is completed. This ancient form of tie-dye adds dimension and texture to the fabrics, giving an element that can only be created by hand. Due to this process, there can be no duplicates.
Read more at www.cafawards.ca