Lesia runs to the next room and pulls out yet another blouse, a stack already piled around us—all handmade in Ukraine, all teaching me about the stitches possible, the linen available (and, in a war, not available), the Carpathian Mountain areas each reflects, the matrilineal stories they hold. I tell her about you, your tastes and proclivities. Together, we work out a creative way forward. Culture leaning into commerce. Beauty under duress.
Most designers begin a seasonal collection with a mood board of inspiring hues, shapes, fashion.
At Ibu, we begin always, always, with the prowess and powers of our artisan partners. The genius of each group is theirs to teach, ours to learn.
At the Ibu studio, our design team (Marisa, Meredith, and myself) incorporates the materials and motifs available to Lesia into silhouettes we've developed over the past ten years, paper patterns which offer a sizing consistency to 50 geographically diverse groups where body frames differ widely. Meredith sketches the new look, Marisa sends details and a pattern; we watch a sample emerge with images shared each step of the way. At last the day comes when we receive an actual garment, take turns trying it on for fit, adjust, tweak, alter; and then… another sample begins.
War erupts. A pandemic strikes. Religious holidays roll like seasonal waves around the globe, shutting down work for sometimes long periods. What was designed for one season may come to you two years later. It's fluid.
Choosing a palette is how we keep ears to the ground, sensing not fashion's latest whim, but the deeper tones of this particular moment in time. For Spring, 2023, begun many moons ago, we prepared for our tenth year celebration with a zestful rendering of our classic Ibu palette, adding to it a botanical green and blue for our allies who love cooler tones. Together, the colors sing.
An exciting development came in our collaboration with Schumacher. When the textile giant approached Ibu about offering some of our signature artisanal fabrics as curtain panels, we saw this as a grand opportunity to scale the artisan's work. But we also saw their vast store of gorgeous home fabric as an opportunity to give artisans more choices in base fabrics upon which to add their artisanal skills. The good people at Schumacher agreed.
Hence, for the first time, the Ibu Global Runway will showcase some of our signature looks in Schumacher's iconic fabric. A limited edition run of these garments energizes the next step forward. It's exciting.
Each season, we create one new silhouette, while riffing on the established shapes you've loved. (Wait til you see our new Safari Shirt, our one-shoulder dress, and… yep, a beaded bikini!) We initiate designs with one new group each season, but this spring, we're introducing designs from five new artisan groups including Lesia in Ukraine, one in Jordan, and three in Colombia, as well as 17 new designs from established partners. The development of each design has taken at least a year, and involved countless women devoted to the creation of each piece.
When the new Spring Collection debuts on March 8 on our Global Runway, and March 10 online, I hope you'll feel the leafy green emergence in each look as a botanical motif bears witness to the growth of this Movement. Even through the instability of war, even from the fringes of society, women are about the work of designing change. When you see a dress from their hands, I want you to see courage in their strong colors, sovereignty in their stately lines, and in their tiny stitches, a tireless resolve.
All the best,