Made by women, for women: BELLE IKAT Reema April 2, 2020 MESSFashion 1 Culture, diversity, craftsmanship, and art merge to create BELLE IKAT. This unique clothing brand strives to portray social justice and sustainability in every stitch. Learn more about the founder of BELLE IKAT and how the brand got its impeccable start in the fashion industry: What was the initial inspiration behind Belle Ikat?I was born in Armenian and grew up in Israel. I was always surrounded by different cultures and really enjoy this feeling of diversity. Following my passion for travel, I studied business with a focus on Tourism. This is how I discovered numerous dream destinations full of beautiful and extraordinary things. A very special find of those trips became the ikat fabrics from Uzbekistan. These fabrics is the starting point of the Belle Ikat story. I combined the diversity of the east with the classics of the west. It was and is particularly important for me, that high-quality fashion and sustainability and social justice go hand in hand. What are some of your favorite pieces?I love Ikat Caftans and Linen Dress with Embroidery. What does good design mean to you?I see good design in bright colors, top-quality materials and the combination of timeless traditions, modern cuts and excellent technique to create graphic patterns in bright colors, which capturethe uniqueness of nature. Every centimeter of the material is unique and the designs we create from this material are truly one of a kind pieces. Other designs, e.g. those made from linen, are decorated with intricate hand embroidery, which also keeps traditional handicrafts alive. How would you describe the brand’s journey?As mentioned above, our brand is based on a combination of traditional and modern life, as well as the diversity of the East and the classics of the West. Plus, we always take sustainability and social justice into consideration. We are following this path and we are always discovering new regions of the world and their cultural specificities. We capture those and consistently integrate them into our designs. We are also always on the lookout for the new partnerships and projects wecan support. We started with “Saheli Women” and now also support “Terre des Femmes”. This means that our customers make a small contribution to improving living conditions for less privileged women and protecting our natural environment by wearing each of our designs. We are planning to continue with this important direction. What do you want customers to take away from this brand?I would like to make our customers be aware of the story behind eachpiece: on the one hand, the traditions and techniques which have influenced these pieces and, on the other hand, the amount of love and work invested in their creation. Each piece, carefully handcrafted, takestime and great mastery on each step, from weaving and dyeing the fabricsright up to the finished product. And this means that our customers do not just get a blouse or a dress, but, for example, a piece of Uzbekistan too. And they are making a contribution to protecting our environment. How important is sustainability to you and how does Belle Ikat match that?I strongly believe that the desire for extravagance, high-quality fabrics, unusual designs, and indulgent luxury goes hand in hand with social responsibility for people and the environment. Beauty and lifestyle should not exist at the expense of the things that make them possible to appear. They must be created in harmony with nature. The following generations want and should be able to experience and enjoythe things we have today. When I launched Belle Ikat and engaged with fashion production intensively, I realised straight away that I wanted to do things differently. Sustainability and social responsibility are our top priorities. The Ikat fabrics, for example, are made by hand in small production facilities in the Fergana Valley in Uzbekistan. Only natural products are used, both for the yarns (silk, linen, and cotton) and for the dyes. Belle Ikat pays fair prices for these unique pieces and thus enables local workers to continue their traditions, which go centuries back. Founder of BELLE IKAT, Isabella Stadler How long is the process to craft a piece? The process of dyeing a length of fabric is relatively time-consuming. Weaving takes around 1 day. Very small batches of these lengths of fabric (10 pieces per design) are used to make the various unique pieces by hand. Finishing off each piece takes another day. What is Belle Ikat’s long time mission?Made by women, for women: that’s what Belle Ikat is all about. Wesupport each other with our partnerships and projects. We create wonderful fashion with wonderful women. They give us their working time and their creativity and we support them in ensuring that they have healthy and fair working and living conditions. We started this path with “Saheli Women” and we now involve “Terre des Femmes” in everyorder. We will continue to build other partnerships that need our support in the future. We want to promote social responsibility and sustainable production. Each of us can make a contribution to our world to become a little bit better. What advice do you have for shoppers to make more sustainable decisions?Buying less, taking a more conscious approach to shopping and considering quality, origin and working conditions. “Buy less, choose well, make it last” as the British designer Vivienne Westwood said. And she’s absolutely right! Any exciting projects or collections we can look forward to?Our “Samarkand” collection, with signature blue color and many wonderful nuances, is brand new. It tells the story of a stylish sense of total freedom and vibe of the pulsing cities of Uzbekistan. More cultures, traditions, and colors will follow soon. Belle Ikat will continue to be innovative, exciting and diverse. What fabrics and textiles does Belle Ikat use to craft the pieces?Handwoven Uzbek Ikat and Eco Linen. Shop the colorful world of BELLE IKAT and visit their website for more information.