“Slow fashion” may also be slow to gain momentum, but Narrative Made, a Hong Kong-based brand that recently debuted with a Fall/Winter 2016 collection, is the perfect poster child for all it can and should be. Created by Central Saint Martins graduate Sharon de Lyster, whose brief career as a trend forecaster introduced her to crafts-making communities in rural parts of Asia, Narrative Made is as much about what you can’t see as the gorgeous things you can. The blue of the watery ripples on cropped pants dyed with the Japanese arashi shibori technique comes from Bangladeshi indigo, the fermented discharge of which is then used as an all-natural fertilizer in farming communities. Cuffs on silk button-ups are cross-stitched with chili-flower designs in Guizhou by artisans from the Miao tribe, whose only form of a written language is embroidered motifs, and the ikat that appears as trim throughout the collection is all upcycled. Like a good narrative, each piece has a character and timeline—three weeks for Kai Jin to hand pleat a midi skirt, say, or two months for Moslema to quilt a scarf—along with the commendable mission of keeping these traditions alive at fair wages. But these are not artifacts to stow away. Wrap dresses that double as jackets and butter-soft, floor-length silk overcoats are nothing if not city-ready.
This article originally appeared in the June/July print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Maker’s Marks”).