New York designer Sander Lak set up Sies Marjan six years ago. Last June, the label was shuttered, another casualty of the pandemic, but before its untimely demise, it had established a reputation for impeccable tailoring, a colour-focused approach and a feel-good point of view. And it went out on a creative high.
For his final A/W20 collection, Lak, a former design director at Dries Van Noten, took an esoteric deep dive into experimental sustainable practices, sponsoring and creating a capsule collection for the AMO/Rem Koolhaas’ exhibition, ‘Countryside, The Future’, which opened in February last year at the Guggenheim. The collection explored ideas of sustainability and eco-responsibility as Lak experimented with innovative material techniques and fabrications. These included a collaboration with Cornell University on an eco-printing technique where plants and flowers were hammered into silk to create prints, and transforming sustainable wool upholstery, developed from sheep sheddings by Dutch textile artist Claudy Jongstra, into two sleeveless overcoats and a duffle bag.
The Jongstra collaboration introduced Lak to textile house Maharam. Jongstra’s Drenthe Heath fabric, named for the indigenous Drenthe Heath sheep that she rears in northern Netherlands, and exclusive to Maharam, was custom-dyed using walnut husks, onion skins, indigo and madder to create a deep, rich kelp colour for the Sies Marjan collection. The textile was also incorporated into a limited run of Maharam pillows as part of a Sies Marjan x AMO capsule line, sold at the Guggenheim store.
This month, Lak and Maharam reveal a new joint effort – the development of three wool fabrics that join Maharam’s wool initiative, launched at the end of February. Responding to growing interest in renewable natural fabrics, while taking a fresh look at classic textiles, the offerings include material made using post-consumer recycled wool, and wool that has been spun, woven and pressed at a single location to reduce the environmental impact of textile transport.
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