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Headbands Made from Sunshine and Love

Posted on June 11, 2014 by Jesse Schiller | 0 comments

 

Sunshine and love. Yep, you read that right. Just like the hippies before us, those there are our magic ingredients. 

Thought we'd take the opportunity of our recently launched new summer headbands to share with you a bit more of the behind the scenes on how they came to be. 

 

Sunshine and Love

As you may already know, one of our commitments to sustainability is keeping things local. We personally live and work in Vancouver, Canada, though manufacture everything in Los Angeles. So how is this local? 

Well, here's how we like to explain it: there are more people living in California then all of Canada. So in reality, being in L.A. puts us right where the people are at.

In addition, LA offers us an opportunity to keep our knitting, dyeing, cutting, sewing and distributing all within a 25 mile radius - something that would unfortunately be impossible here in Canada (fabric dyeing has gone the way of the dinosaur in these parts). The fact that it's always sunny in LA, even during our darkest, coldest Canadian winter months, is a lovely plus! 

So that's how we stay local. Now for the sunshine and love...

For the purpose of this example, I'm  going to focus on our very popular line of hand dyed ENSO Batik headbands, a product made from super soft (and wicking!) organic cotton.

 
The hand dyed ENSO Black Batik headband, one of our top sellers 

The journey for the hand dyed headbands begins at a fabric mill just outside of downtown Los Angeles. There, the organic cotton yarn is knit into pure white organic cotton fabric. This acts as our canvas for all the fun to come. The fabric is then transferred to our dye house, only a few miles away.  

The dye house is where things get really interesting.

In our case we work with artists. It's a pretty special relationship to have with your supplier. For the Batik headbands an artist will hand dye the fabric using a stunning (and labor-intensive!) ancient Indoneisan technique called Batik'ing. We wrote an in depth blog about Batik'ing a little while back (read it here) but it's essentially a multi-stage process involving dedicated focus, hot wax and low-impact dyes. The artists that oversee this process are incredibly passionate about their work and no product leaves their hands without meeting their exacting standards. 

That's where the Love comes in.

Well, to be fair, it also comes from the hours spent designing the product in Vancouver, the incredible team that cuts, sews and finishes the garments in LA, and the post-sales customer service. So in truth, the love comes from many places but you get the point: it takes a lot of love to make these products a reality.

 
Leilani, our talented Designer, on her way to another meeting at our Dye House

Next for the sunshine...

What further sets the process apart - aside from being located right in downtown L.A. as opposed to a 3rd world country - is that the dye house is literally powered by sunshine. You read that right. Good ol' 100% sunshine!  

Taking advantage of California's famed endless sunshine, our Batik ENSO headbands (and the Journey Shawls that'll be launching next week) are dyed in what is likely the world's only solar powered dye house.

We`re pretty proud of this set-up and especially love how fitting it is that our Blazing Yellow Batik headbands are effectively dyed by the very sun that so inspired them. 

 

Dyeing: Where Art Meets Science

Now to take a few steps back from the dyeing of the finished product.

Though they're just hitting the market now these new summer headbands can trace their history back at least 6 months, well into the depths of winter. 

Choosing a new color always begins with weeks of color research that involves color seminars with Pantone (the world leader in color forecasting), a plethora of store checks, countless internal meetings and daily check-in's with what our intuition is saying. Eventually a range of colors comes clear - in the case of the new Batik ENSO headbands about 10 prospective colors. 

Tons of thought goes into choosing exactly the right color of thread for a product

Next comes the trialing portion of the development. This is the stage of the process that inevitably leads to emotions ranging from exasperation to pure elation. The reason for this is that dyeing by hand is more art than science. Even in the best case scenario, 3 rounds of refinement are required in order to get a color just right.

Sometimes the results are shocking. What could begin life as a forest green Pantone could very well become tennis ball green on fabric due to the chemical interactions between the dye (always low impact dyes, we should add), the water and the fabric.

Like we said: more art than science.

Eventually though, the cream rises to the top and we're left with a handful of colors that can be jaw-droppingly beautiful. That's the elation part :) 

In the case of the original 10 summer headband color choices, only 3 made it through to reality. They are: Blazing Yellow, Coral and Mint Green (note the links lead to the Women's section but all 3 colors work equally well on Men, as seen here) We do our very best to capture the beauty of these colors on camera but truth be told, you have to see them in person to truly appreciate just how gorgeous they are. 

For this summer we've also complimented our new ENSO Batik headbands with 2 new solid color headbands: Blazing Yellow (liked it so much we did it twice!) and Pantone's 2014 color of the year, Radiant Orchid

 

The Pre-Sale Launch Celebration

Given the amount of work that has gone in, it seems only fitting that we kick things off with a party.

In our case, because we're here and you're there, we have to have our party online. That means a Pre-Sale Party in which for a very limited time (till Friday, June 13th at midnight) all our new summer headband colors are 20% off

Thanks so much dear friends. We'll see you on the beach - you won't be able to miss us in our smile-inducing headbands!

Happy summer,

Jess & Rach 

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