Fashion Without Borders — Feast Your Eyes On The Piece & Co. x Banana Republic Capsule Collection
We often marvel at well-constructed garments, innovative silhouettes, and eye-catching design details, but how often do we really stop to think about the fabrics with which these pieces were made, about where they came from and how they were woven or dyed? Well, now’s the time to ponder the issue. See, Piece & Co. is reinventing the way textiles are created and sourced within the global fashion market, focusing on producing socially responsible and environmentally sustainable fabrics. It’s no secret that apparel companies often source their textiles from factories abroad, and consumers don’t ordinarily know much about the conditions under which these textiles are produced (in other words, whether workers are being compensated fairly, treated humanely, and ushered into safe facilities) — that is, until they read about a tragic incident such as the 2012 blaze in Bangladesh that claimed the lives of over 100 factory workers, a calamity that could have been avoided had factory owners fired proper fire prevention and emergency protocols. So how can consumers do their part to make sure workers are treated fairly? Well, one way is to support companies like Piece & Co. that source materials from artisan groups creating traditional and stunning textiles. Piece & Co. connects textile-producing, female-led artisan groups from all over the world — from Zambia to Bolivia — with major companies, thereby providing thousands of women with constant work opportunities. Most recently, Piece & Co. joined forces with Banana Republic to launch a capsule collection featuring fabrics hand-crafted by artisan groups in Ghana and South Africa, all boasting stunning and unique prints created using techniques indigenous to these regions.
The Banana Republic x Piece & Co. collection, available at BananaRepublic.com consists of a variety of pieces — from floor-length shirt dresses with utilitarian silhouettes to floaty one-shoulder tops with dreamy floral prints. Three prints can be seen throughout the collection: two abstract floral prints inspired by South African flora and fauna and executed through a sun-dyeing technique; and a striped print made through a wax-resistant batik dyeing process. All the prints feature rich blue and purple tones with hints of black, white, and gray.
The floral prints make for some of the most show-stopping garments in the collection, pieces like the Sun-Dyed Silk Twist-Front Dress shown above at top ($187.99 at BananaRepublic.com), a sleeveless maxi dress with a twist-front detail at the waist and a keyhole accent below the neckline; the Strappy Twist-Front Batik Silk Dress shown fourth above ($159.99 at BananaRepublic.com), which features a more abstract take on a floral print and boasts a twist detail at the front with a cascade ruffle accent; and the Dillon-Fit Sun-Dyed Silk Shirt pictured sixth above ($89.99 at BananaRepublic.com), a figure-skimming, button-down, white silk shirt with a spread collar and a sun-dyed floral print along the very center of the shirt, even covering the placket area.
The geometric batik print, meanwhile, feels like a fun riff on the traditional pinstripe pattern so that, while there’s a clear striped motif, the lines aren’t particularly precise or consistent. To give your work outfit a touch of Bohemian flair, try the Batik Belted Blazer ($173.99 at BananaRepublic.com) shown second above, which features an inverted notch collar, welt pockets, and a tie belt at the waist; or pair your favorite shell tank or button-down with the ankle-skimming Avery-Fit Batik Pant ($117.99 at BananaRepublic.com) pictured third above.
This type of cross-cultural and inter-country collaboration could be the answer to creating a global fashion market that’s ethically and environmentally responsible, but which still results in garments that are dynamic and exciting. Who wouldn’t want to invest in that?