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Shopbop Enlists Artisans From Tamil Nadu for Capsule Collection

Shopbop is doing its part to promote sustainability in textiles.

The fashion e-tail heavyweight teamed up with Piece & Co., which works with artisans worldwide, to launch a limited edition collection featuring fabrics created at weaving co-operatives located in India’s Tamil Nadu region.

Some of the fashion industry’s top names contributed designs to the seven-piece capsule, including Diane Von Furstenberg, Veronica Beard, Mara Hoffman and Alice + Olivia.

“The mission of Piece & Co. is to create a more responsible fashion industry,” Piece & Co. founder Kathleen Wright explained. “And it has been an honor to work with such talented designers, sourcing fabrics that make the most impact socially, and the least impact on our environment.”

Each garment in the Shopbop collection, ranging from dresses and blouses to shorts, incorporates fabric that was handcrafted and dyed in India—primarily by female artisans—and showcases the country’s traditional dobby weaving technique.

For instance, an off-white ruched shirtdress from Veronica Beard features a vibrant blue pattern created using the dobby technique, which is something the founder of the co-op that made the fabric has been trying to keep alive in the Tamil Nadu region. She herself is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Handloom Technology and today she trains and supports her workers in the tradition.

“It’s incredibly inspiring to work with Piece & Co. because of their work in helping artisans,” designers Veronica Miele Beard and Veronica Swanson Beard offered. “I love that our dress uses a traditional weaving technique and captures the style of the region.”

Similarly, Alice + Olivia’s colorful striped shorts and dress were made from a textile that was hand-loomed by a female-led weaving community. Meanwhile, a Diane Von Fursternberg top offers another take on tradition: The geometric design and floating threads are inspired by what would usually be on the reverse of the material, which displays the versatility of dobby weaving. So while the same dobby technique was used to create all the fabrics featured, the collection showcases how the raised yarn process offers many different design and pattern possibilities.