Gabriela Hearst Spring Summer 2022
Photo by Carla van de Puttelaar
INTERVIEWER “Do you think you have gotten bolder as you have gotten older?”
HESTER DIAMOND “It’s how I have lived and will live for as long as I live.”
While contemplating our SS22 collection, I realized the collections have become journals of what experiences life brings and where my curiosity takes me. I discovered Hester Diamond through my love for minerals. This impressive trailblazing woman had all the characteristics that I am attracted to: passion, instinct, intelligence, skills and a strong value system. She built one of the most impressive art collections with pure love and wit. She collected art because she loved it, in contrast to today’s world where, for some, art has become an asset in a portfolio. After she had collected some of the most impressive art pieces. she was drawn to minerals. Nature always offers the most breathtaking beauty that human eyes can see.
“The work we did with the Navajo community was serendipitous and a spiritual gift. lt brought the Americas craft together in the collection along the work of Uruguay and Bolivia, both of the non-for-profits we work with. The impact of Covid on mental health has affected many of those close to us. My best friend Paola Pravato narrates her circumstances. We used her drawing for our print this season and the crochet work on knits. Being able to create beautiful pieces that are desirable and at the same time that empowers others is probably one of the most satisfying professional experience.”
– Gabriela Hearst
We were put in touch with Naiomi Glasses, a graduate from Creative Futures Collective, a diversity, equity and inclusion marketplace for the creative industries with a mission on empowering the next generation of creative leaders from disenfranchised communities. Naiomi is a proud First Nations Woman from Navajo Nation. She grew up skateboarding, is a weaver by trade and is a passionate creative with wheels currently in motion to launch her own company.
That same week, we were contacted by Judy Clancy-Campbell who used to have two small sewing factories years ago in the Navajo Nation and was looking to find some work for the talented weavers she used to work with because the unemployment rate is very high. That is how we came to work with TahNibaa, who also recruited the help of her mother and daughter. Judy also put us in touch with Krystal Curley who will be photographing our collection.
TahNibaa Naataanii is a 5th generation Navajo weaver and sheepherder and keeps alive the traditional practices of wool preparation from start to finish. She raises Navajo Churro sheep, sheers them, washes the wool, and processes it before spinning and dyeing the wool for her art. Naataanii acknowledges that Native artists should both preserve their peoples’ traditions and keep them alive through innovation.
For TahNibaa Naataanii, and the Diné (Navajo) people, weaving is more than an artistic practice, it is a way of life that teaches and reinforces the connectivity to ancestral and spiritual philosophies of self, land, and community. Naataanii honors and maintains the ancestral weaving protocols and lessons that were passed on to her from her mother, her maternal grandmother, and all the grandmothers before her. Thus, she practices traditional Diné weaving methods by harvesting wool from sheep on her own land in the high desert, dying her materials using plants found in the Navajo Nation, and participating in weaving ceremonies and prayers to bless the nature of her work.
Krystal Curley is a filmmaker and social justice activist based near Gallup, New Mexico. She is a member of the Navajo Tribe, born in Chichitah, NM, who dedicates her life and art to bringing awareness to indigenous issues such as alcoholism, mental health, environmental racism, and intergenerational trauma. Since a young age, she has been actively involved in improving her community which inspired her to earn a B.F.A in Film Production from Santa Fe University of Art and Design. She is currently the director of Our Indigenous Lifeways—a non- profit dedicated to community empowerment on the Navajo Nation. Between 2020 and 2021, Our Indigenous LIfeways raised over $300,000 and served 7,000 families for Mutual Aid Covid relief. (www.ourindigenouslifeways.org)
Judy Campbell-Clancy is a stylist, consultant, and social justice advocate based in Durango, CO. The Navajo Nation has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation—40%—and almost 30% don’t have access to clean running water in their homes. Campbell-Clancy combats these alarming percentages by finding meaningful work for talented weavers, seamstresses and other Navajo artists.
In the past, she has had sewing factories on the Navajo Nation, and currently volunteers for Our Indigenous Lifeways.
We worked with two non-profits this season on our knits.
MADRES & ARTESANAS TEX/ YELKA Bolivia
It is an organization composed of mini-businesses administered by and made up of women dedicated to the production of high-quality handmade fabrics. Each of these self-administered businesses can count on a guaranteed market thanks to the commercial administration provided by Yelka Maric, the organization’s administrator and principal entrepreneur. Madres & Artesanas Tex has specialized in handmade production methods such as macramé, crochet, and other varied knitting styles. This involves mini-businesses that employ up to 200 craftswomen during the high season. Each mini-business is led by a businesswoman who guides, teaches and supervises all the processes used in producing the assigned articles.
MANOS DEL URUGUAY
We started our partnership with Manos del Uruguay in 2015. Manos del Uruguay is a non-profit organization that provides work to artisan women from rural areas in Uruguay since 1968, giving them not just an income but also an opportunity to personally develop and gain independence, keeping their roots and traditions, close to their community and families.
COLLABORATION WITH CLERGERIE
This collaboration came upon working with David Tourniaire, a master shoe designer from Romans-sur-Isere, a town which used to be the heart of shoe production in France and counts more than 120 years of craftsmanship.
Clergerie is the last remaining shoemaker that still produces its shoes in the region. The Clergerie shoes use wood and raffia, two materials that would make up for the penury of leather during World War II and have become signature elements of the Maison. The raffia is woven by hand by traditional artisans in Morocco and the shoes are assembled in France in their factory in Romans-sur- Isere. We brought the cork element, a low impact material as you don’t kill the tree but shave the trunk instead. Combining these elements together was the essence of our capsule collection.
ART & HEALING
“After a year of quarantine in Argentina, one day I found myself having panic attacks and experiencing feelings of loss. I travelled to New York; one evening, my friend Gabi asked me to draw what I felt. I started by drawing lavender and flowers that looked like mandalas, then, she asked me to draw every day. That is how a journey of healing started in my mind, which helped me find myself. As time went by, I understood that these were all things I needed. Nearly without noticing, I started using lavender oil which relaxed my mind and I found myself connecting with flowers and nature; I understood that my head drew everything that made me feel good. That is how I found myself again.”
– Paola Pravato
The music is a tribute to Mike D from the Beastie Boys, Hester Diamond's son. It contains elements from Uruguay, with the voice of La Mala Rodriguez, keyboard and live scratching from Luciano Supervielle, and was composed and designed by Juan Campodonico.
LINEN represents 26% of the woven collection. Linen is a much more complete fiber than cotton because it absorbs less water as a crop and at the same time, its flaxseed can be used for nutritional value; COTTON usage is only deadstock; For footwear, we have used LACTAE HEVEA – a natural rubber derived from the milk of hevea tree; CORK is a low impact material as you don’t kill the tree but shave the trunk instead; BIO EVA – a combination of bio based and recycled EVA foam; Recycled and deadstock materials while being under what we had targeted for this season represent 38% of the collection but we will recalibrate to hit our 2022 target by designing Pre-Fall with 100% deadstock / recycled materials.
Our natural dye capsule for Spring 22 incorporates 100% natural ingredients from the following plants: Welda, Chlorophyllin, and Madder. The process is more sustainable and conscientious for the environment. Seeds are cultivated, dried, and then ground into powder form to create these unique and organic colors.