Journey of the Orchid Print
“We carry the story of the people who made our clothes”
- Ali Hewson
From fibre to final silhouette, each step in the journey of our pieces is an opportunity to create as sustainably as we can. This journey, as we put it, is as important as the final product. We realise that every stage of the process beginning at its inspiration to final production, are what is important to consider to step towards a greener future. It’s as simple as choosing the fibres we know make the least negative impact to using methods of design that benefit our planet and our community. Every conscious decision is mulled over by our team and we take great care in ensuring that we are always keeping our vision true and working with others who value the same green mentality.
We know it’s also equally important to be as transparent as we can be with all of you. Today, we’ll take you on a journey of two of our pieces that are created with some of our favourite slow methods of the season: Orchid Garden gilet (left) & The Orchid Garden Patch shirt (right)!
As many of you may know, our summer collection is based on Singapore, a city that has been a core part of our green journey as a brand. It is also one of the places we learnt to love and appreciate the beauty of tropical flora and fauna. We have always adored the beauty of the orchid flower, but our relationship with this motif truly began when we visited the National Orchid Garden in Singapore. And secondly it felt right, to honour the city’s national flower, the Vanda Miss Joaquim Orchid (seen on the right).
Our collection concepts are always steeped in nature and we have also always been fond of the tropics, so it felt natural to have the gardens as the backdrop to ‘Tropical Sunshine’. The Botanical Gardens are a key destination in Singapore, but for us they have always been a little escape from buzzing city life. Each visit to the gardens always left us with buckets of inspiration, positive thoughts and ideas. We have spent hours walking the paths, exploring the rainforest, the palm valley or just soaking in the sunshine and blue skies. In between all those visits, we knew that we wanted to showcase the story of Singapore via it’s beautiful green spaces. This thought is what led to the creation of Chapter 5, our 2020 summer story.
The orchid print motif itself was created in-house by green Sui team member and textile designer, Anukriti and it is a flower that represents many traits we aspire to always express in our pieces that being love, beauty, charm and thoughtfulness - the latter being the most important because it is what we always hope to be when we create our collections and consider our impact. We spent many days figuring out just how we can best represent the flower through print and the result is what you see here…
Before we design any silhouette at Sui, we go back to our drawing board and ask ourselves how we can create silhouettes which add value to the wardrobe of those purchasing the same. Value when it comes to the fabrics and processes but also value when it comes to the wearability of the silhouette. Designing outfits, which are versatile and classic lie in the foundation of our design process. This helps us create more with less, and also create pieces which will be cherished for years to come. The gilet and the classic shirt are two such silhouettes.
The gilet was a silhouette we first designed during Winter 2018 - specifically our Big Sur gilet from You, Me and the Road - and we immediately knew that it would be an essential addition to any outfit or wardrobe due to its versatility. Hence, every chapter we’ve designed one to two different versions of the gilet which eventually brought us to our Orchid Garden gilet, our very first hand spun, handwoven cotton gilet. When it comes to our shirt, there is always a need for something classic that you can style for either your casual lunches or a business meeting. With a lot of us who work daily and are on-the-go most days, versatility is key so that you could show up to both in one day and still look chic. Our Orchid Patch shirt helps you do just that giving you a timeless look with added flair due to our print.
(Seen here: An early sketch of the gilet, left; first samples of the shirt, right.)
The handspun handwoven organic cotton is widely used in the summer chapter, due to its breathability, softness and for the fact that it’s ethically made (of course). We chose this fabric for our orchid print because of the beautiful collaborations the colours of the print and the fabric create. It was after one to two rounds of sampling that we decided that the handmade organic cotton fabric will be one of the core fabrics in our print collection all of which is provided by green artisan partner, WomenWeave, who we have worked with for previous collections. Our prints have been hand printed by Bagru Textiles, our artisan partner based in Bagru. We met with Vijendra from Bagru a few months after searching a lot for the right artisan partner. We instantly fell in love with Vijendra’s passion for what he does and his belief in supporting this craft grow and we knew we wanted to help him expand his creativity further.
(Seen here: weaver from WomenWeave, left; Vijendra from Bagru working on our print)
From Maheshwar to Bagru then to Delhi, the fabric arrives at our workshop where we quality check everything to then move on to our next step in production.
At The Workshop
This is where our threadspellers begin their work. Our small but mighty team comprises of just 6 tailors who cut, sew, embroider and assemble the fabric into the final pieces - 2 of which, Nawab our machine embroiderer and Amzad our hand-embroider, are not involved due to the fabric already being printed.
As always, the process starts with Tahir, our Master, who skillfully outlines and cuts out each piece of fabric needed. Each measurement has already been sampled, tested and used to create our final patterns so we know exactly what proportions we’re working with. These pieces are then handed over to either Gaffar, Hasan or Hanif, whoever is available at the time, to sew them together. They stitch, iron, cut off fray edges and loose threads, following through each step with a detailed eye and precise actions to create a final finished piece. Any extra fabric scraps from the garment are also saved to create our accessories!
To the Store Then to You
The garment is ready and all that’s left now is to send it off to you, green heart-er! To make sure we’re operating as green as we can, we package every piece with sustainable materials, avoiding as much plastic as we can by using bags made of agro-waste as well as recycled tags and boxes. At this time, we will also be taking all the necessary precautions, sanitizing every item while wearing masks and gloves, to ensure your safety.
On a final note, we also ask that you take good care of your Sui items. Slow, sustainable fashion is all about longevity and conscious actions, so we are always happy to help guide you in making sure your item is your lifelong friend. As an example, here is more info that we provide about our handwoven organic cotton and block printed garments:
The journey of our orchid print, like that of all our other garments, is one we are always trying to evolve. So far, we have been proud of the steps we have made to achieve a process that’s as slow and green as it can be, but you never know, by our next collection we may have found new ways to create a more positive impact on our Earth. It’s our promise that we will always look for the greener way and we hope you stay on this journey with us to see it all happen!