Kate and Hanna met in New York in the summer of 2011. They were tired of the uniformity of mass-produced clothing. They were both concerned about the environmental and social effects of the way these clothes are made. They felt that the fashion industry exploits women: we are exhorted to buy clothes to fit a mold, and not to bring out the best in us.
Kate and Hanna worried that we are forgetting how to make things with our own hands, and we are forgetting about the very real people who make the clothes we buy. They wanted clothes that were different, clothes that reflected that everything we wear contains the work of someone's, and often many people's hands.
So they founded a small women's clothing company. They set about building a business that would promote the idea of handmade, making clothes that make women feel beautiful and that are a pleasure to wear, and to make, a business that would support independent artisans in the process.
Successful funding of this project would mean we can release our first series of products: the Rose collection. Your contribution will allow us to purchase fabric and place embroidery orders with our network of artisans. We designed the embroidery for this collection around the image the rose, one of the best-loved elements of embroidery in the area our embroiderers are from.
We designed classic silhouettes: a peasant blouse, a dress with a fitted bodice, and a maxi skirt. Each design will come in a variety of fabrics and with a variety of embroidery and trim options.
The images above show pre-production samples of the pieces in the Rose collection. If funding for this project is successful, we will be able to go into production and offer them for sale on our website, in our planned webshop. You will also be able to choose pledge rewards like the pieces above.
Our products will come in two varieties:
1. Ready-to-wear pieces: our skirt, blouse, and dress designs are sewn right here in the USA, in Queens, NY. They are trimmed with embroidery made by craftswomen in a region of Hungary particularly well-known for its intricate embroidery: near the township of Kalocsa. This region was hard hit by the global economic recession, and each piece you buy supports a talented artisan who needs work.
2. Ready-to-sew kits that contain the fabric, thread and other notions needed (interfacing, bias tape, elastic, zipper, etc.), embroidery (finished with a version of Richelieu lacework and ready to be appliquéd onto the garment you will sew), assembly instructions, and (of course!) the sewing pattern in your size, (choose from sizes XS-XL) with seam allowance marked to make laying out, cutting, and sewing as easy as possible. We have decided to include the patterns in one size in each kit as this allows you to lay out the pattern pieces much more efficiently, saving on fabric for both large and small sizes.
The kits come packaged in unbleached cotton bags you can use as lingerie bags, produce bags, etc. We recommend laundering embroidered pieces in these bags, or a pillowcase or lingerie bag. The embroidery is colorfast but may snag in the wash otherwise.
Depending on funding level, you can choose rewards such as:
- a plantable seed postcard printed with our logo, the rose:
- silk scarf made of recycled sari silk: each of these scarves is one-of-a-kind (you can see some color options below);
- fitted t-shirt printed with our logo in your choice of white or black (sizes range from XS-XL);
- ready-to-sew kits that contain fabric, finished embroidery, thread, notions, pattern and instructions for your chosen piece, for both the ready-to-sew kits and the ready-to-wear versions you will have a choice between embroidery or lacework on a solid fabric, or a print fabric. Please take a look at our updates, and all other photographs of embroidery on this project site for your embroidery and lacework options.
For example, you can choose your peasant blouse in a more classic look like the solid-color examples shown towards the top of this page, or a blouse that pairs an embroidered rose with (for example) a playful floral print:
Kits come packaged in a reusable unbleached cotton bag;
- ready-to-wear versions of our blouse, skirt, and dress (with the same fabric/embroidery choices as for the ready-to-sew kits);
- combinations of some or all of the above (please see reward levels at right for details).
In their own words
Kate: ”I remember spending entire days playing dress-up with my sister at my grandmother’s apartment in Budapest. We lived with my grandmother and she would often take care of us while our parents worked during the day. My grandmother never threw anything away, ever. She could take a torn robe, chop it up and make a dress out of it. She’d unravel moth-eaten sweaters and use the yarn to knit hats. And I was happy to wear it all.
When I was fourteen, she taught me how to sew. I loved making things with my own hands. I always returned to sewing since then, through work, graduate school, and raising small children. With our ready-to-sew kits and embroidered garments I want to give others the joy of making something beautiful and useful, and to do it in a way that helps people, especially women, who need work.”
Hanna: “The day before I came to New York for the first time I was sitting in my grandfather’s garden, looking at the fruit trees, vegetables, and strawberries growing next to a small pathway that leads to the river, and I wondered if my village is heaven on Earth… This village is where a lot of the embroidery we use in Kate & Hanna products is made by local craftswomen.
The name of my village means 'soul' in English. When I sew a dress with embroidery made there I feel I’m giving you a piece of my own soul. My grandmother spent most of her free time embroidering. It was a tradition taught by each generation to the next, I learned it from her and my mother. I grew up surrounded by this tradition, and I want to involve our customers in it as well. We want to give women clothes that make them feel beautiful and that also mean something: by connecting with the past, and by connecting women across the globe.”
*A Note to Our International Backers
If you are located outside the US, we ask that you add a little extra for shipping to your pledge. We would love to ship your reward for free but, unfortunately, we can't quite do that.
$7 Pledge - add $1
$25 Pledge - add $3
$35 Pledge - add $5
$50 Pledge - add $8
$75 Pledge - add $12
$95 Pledge - add $12
$195 Pledge - add $18
$500 Pledge - add $25
$725 Pledge - add $25
$1000 Pledge and up - add $18
**About the soundtrack to our video**
We love this song & want to make sure you know what it is: "River Meditation" by Jason Shaw (audionautix.com).
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