Shari's Notes From Jaipur

June 29, 2009

Shari Keller, the Designer and Creative Director for Mehera Shaw, writes from our production studio in Jaipur, India:

Deepali, our shop lady, quality control checker and computer person, Vijay, and Rajan, our manager for everything at our Jaipur Store
I have been in Jaipur for the past 10 days working out new designs and sourcing fabrics for future collections. I work at our Mehera Shaw production studio in which is located in an affluent neighborhood in Jaipur. I’ve had a rather strong desire to try out some Chinese influenced designs lately, so I’ve sketched out a tunic style with Mandarin collar, quilted front and back insets, and beautifully hand-done, Chinese buttons. I’ve added to that a style of traditional Ladakh pants and hopefully we’ll make a Ladakhi quilted vest as well. In general, my imagination has been leading me along the Silk Road for inspiration, so I also have some richly quilted long coats, trimmed in velvet with Chinese/Russian buttons. Before my trip to Jaipur, we shot some fashion photos of our upcoming fall collection and kept our model going with images of yak herding Mongolian princesses. My fictional muse is now named “Yasminka” and is able to lead large herds across the Mongolian plains while looking gorgeous in multiple turbans, a quilted jacket, Ladakhi pants, and perhaps a saber at her side. What does all this have to do with you and me and a stylish urban fashionista? The challenge I suppose, is to bring all my imaginative wanderings into focus in a very wearable, comfortable, yet richly intoned and decidedly feminine style. Hints from my style muses filter down into something urban, stylish, unique. I love the hint of the Orient and the wearability of the West.

My desk, before it got too messy

On this trip, we also searched for and found a new block printer. We are always on the lookout for new artisans to work with and this was a particularly good discovery. He specializes in the vegetable dyes of Bagru village, a centuries old tradition that has been developed to the point of true artistry. The printing techniques are dependent on the weather, quality of the water, drying times, and absorption of the fabric. All these elements influence the colors, so the mixers and printers are truly master artisans at work. I always find myself lost in the beauty of a print, noting how it changes characteristics when done in different color schemes. It is usually difficult to limit myself in choice of prints. Often, as I work, I choose a print and develop it into new and slightly modified color schemes. On this trip, the vegetable dye colors were so lovely and earthy, I decided to go ahead and use them as is since they brought the richness of my oriental inspirations to light.

Madanji, our pattern master, putting a new sample on the dress form

I am also developing a few original prints, blending the characteristics of the traditional block print motifs with stylized floral patterns and contrasting shades of intense jewel tones and muted pastels. There is almost limitless possibility in this realm. I love the freedom of imagination reigned in by my guiding principles: beauty, femininity, and wearability.

Ramuji, our cutter, Hanumanji, our sample maker, and Madanji, our pattern master

I have come to have great respect for those who are working here in our studio now. Our pattern master is brilliant at making lovely clothes from my sketches. Our cutter is equally as talented in making sure the patterns and prints are cut just so. They take the care that few people even consider doing. Each day, at our shop in the states, I hear people comment on the quality of the cuts, the stitching. Praise for this goes to our stitchers: a small group of men (yes, in India the men are typically the stitchers, pattern masters, and cutters). Day after day, they carefully make beautiful clothes. They are all ordinary people; but they are doing their best. All these bits and pieces, on a human scale, are felt in our clothing.

So, needless to say, I love every minute of the whole process—from sourcing and developing beautiful fabrics to working out the designs with our staff.




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Fit/Sizing/Care
FIT

Our styles are meant to give room to breath and move.  We use fine tailoring coupled with a relaxed, comfortable fit.

We use a fit guide for each of our styles to provide more information about the fit that was intended.

Slim Fit: a close fit to the body. Regular Fit: a comfortable, relaxed fit with room around the body. Generous Fit: a very loose fit (such as in our oversized blouses) with lots of room around the body for ease of movement.

 

SIZING

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

XS/ 36

S/ 38

M/40

L/ 42

XL/44

 

 

chest

35.5 inches/ 90 cm

37.5 inches/95 cm

39.5 inches/ 100 cm

41.5 inches/ 105 cm

44.5 inches. 113 cm

4cm extra from body

waist

26 inches/ 66 cm

28 inches/ 71 cm

30 inches/ 76 cm

32 inches/ 81 cm

35 inches/ 89 cm

fitted

 

low waist

28 inches/71 cm

30 inches/76 cm

32 inches/ 81 cm

34 inches/ 86 cm

37 inches/ 94 cm

fitted

 

hip

37 inches/ 94 cm

39 inches/ 99 cm

41 inches/ 104 cm

43 inches/ 109 cm

46 inches/ 1

4cm extra from body

 

 

WASHCARE

All garments have been washed several times during the printing/dyeing and manufacturing process.  

CARE for 100% cotton

We recommend cold water machine wash (up to 30 degrees celsius) with a bio detergent and either tumble dry on low heat or line dry in shade for all of our 100% cotton garments/homewares (except for quilts).  

Iron on reverse side of garment following fabric settings.  

Do not use bleach or stain remover.

Cold water wash and low heat drying or line drying in the shade will increase the life of the garment, prolong the vibrancy of the colors and reduce energy use. Shrinkage on all cottons is minimal, approximately 3%.

Garments/homewares are dyed or printed using AZO free, low-impact, pigment or reactive dyes unless otherwise noted.  These dyes are color-fast, but care should still be taken to wash with like colors to retain the vibrancy of the colors.

CARE for 100% cotton quilts

For quilts with cotton fill, we recommend spot or light surface cleaning only with a damp cloth and mild detergent.  Eco-friendly dry cleaning is also recommended. 

CARE for herbal/vegetable dye items

Vegetable dyes are not colorfast and are specifically marked in the product description.  We strongly recommend that all vegetable dye products be washed once before use in a cold water wash with minimal detergent.  Wash separately. Tumble dry on low heat or line dry in shade.  Iron on reverse side.  Do not use bleach or stain remover.

Please keep in mind that indigo dye does continually fade over time.  This is the nature of true indigo dye and is not a defect, but rather a sign of the 'living' nature of the dye.

CARE for silk and cotton/silk

For our silk and cotton silk garments/homewares, we also recommend gentle cycle machine wash cold water (up to 30 degrees celsius) or delicate hand washing to increase the life of the garment and reduce the environmental footprint from energy use, detergents and water wastage.  

Tumble dry on low heat or line dry in shade.  

Iron on reverse side of garment following fabric settings.

Do not use bleach or stain remover.

Dry cleaning using an eco-friendly service is also recommended.

CARE for linen and cotton/linen

For our linen and cotton linen garments/homewares, we also recommend gentle cycle machine wash cold water (up to 30 degrees celsius) or delicate hand washing to increase the life of the garment and reduce the environmental footprint from energy use, detergents and water wastage.  

Tumble dry on low heat or line dry in shade.  

Iron on reverse side of garment following fabric settings.

Do not use bleach or stain remover.