Ethical Brand to Watch: Maiyet

Amanda Hearst gives props to Maiyet, a brand that works with artisans around the world to create chic, luxurious clothes.

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It is an unfortunate fact that the luxury retail market has virtually no brands that represent the ethical fashion movement. I mean, it's understandable considering the difficulties of working with small communities and artisans to produce clothing for a global market. What can viably be produced will not always meet demand. And of course, there is the challenge of teaching artisans the level of design necessary to produce garments that will compete with the likes of Celine, Marni, and Prada. In short, it's not an easy endeavor, yet somehow, Maiyet has done it! Their design team works with artisans from around the world to create clothing that successfully responds to the luxury consumer's need for fine tailoring and splendid textiles. And, after having just debuted their second collection during Paris Fashion Week (and having much of Spring/Summer 2012 picked up by Barney's!), it's safe to say that Maiyet is here to stay.

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Maiyet's FW12 collection was much more streamlined and subdued than its previous offering, an understandable choice for cold-weather-clothing. The color palette consisted mostly of maroon, midnight blue, and ivory and the shapes were feminine and modest. The one constant between both collections was that every look (and often piece) was produced by international artisans.

For example, in the above look, the top was handmade in India, the skirt in New York, most of the jewelry in Kenya, and the suede pumps in Italy.

The coats were by far the strongest pieces in FW12, and were in my mind reminiscent of the classic shapes at Max Mara that made its coats a closet-staple. But as with all the pieces, this Maiyet coat has its own special story. (The coat was created in India and then finished in New York). By elevating artisanal work to the level of luxury fashion and supporting communities and artists throughout the world, Maiyet is a brand without precedent and one with a bright future ahead of it.

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