Register to vote // Black Lives Matter // A note about covid-19// Free us and canada shipping for orders $95+

authors


Weekly Newsletter July 14, 2020

Textile spotlight: Kikoys!

We love kikoys -- these 100% cotton fabrics are soft, durable and add a pop of color to any outfit any time of year. Worn all over Kenya and Tanzania, these textiles are most commonly seen along the coast, where men, women and children can be seen sporting them as sarong-like wraps, shawls to keep off the coastal sun, headwraps, and even baby carriers!

Though most warm coastal communities around the world have a version of the kikoy, it's thought that they first originated along the Swahili coast, brought by Arab traders centuries ago. Fishermen adopted them as a convenient garment, comfortable, affordable and quick to dry! 

Characterized by a single solid color with striped bands and fringed ends, kikoys can be found in a variety of palettes from a simple black and grey to bright reds and oranges. 

How do you like to wear your kikoy?

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Camayenne Sofa "A Grands Pas"

This album, originally released in 1976, is one of our favorites from the prolific Guinean band Camayenne Sofa, which was popular in the mid 1970's but stopped recording in the late 90's.  A rhythmic and soulful sound, throw it on the next time you go for a walk--you'll see your neighborhood with fresh eyes and a happy heart!

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE READING // Beloved by Toni Morrison

 

If you haven't read this classic, now's the time! And if you have, it might be time to pick it up again. In our current moment when we are re-examining our history and biases and thinking about a better future, this novel provides a deeply felt reminder of the realities of slavery and how recent it was in our shared experience as a country.

 


 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Point of Origin with Stephen Satterfield

 

If you love food and learning about it as much as we do, this podcast was made for you! Host Stephen Satterfield takes us on a journey around the world to explore where our food comes from. Whether it's crossing oceans with the sea-faring coconut or talking about what a decolonized diet looks like, this podcast is the perfect listen for traveling and eating vicariously!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more →

Weekly newsletter July 7, 2020

Community spotlight!

We love seeing you in Zuris out and about and in the news, and we especially love when you share your sightings and run-ins with us! We've said it before, but we are constantly amazed and inspired by the incredible women in our community, and we're spotlighting a few today!

Meet Prof. Melissa Murray! She's a Professor of Law at the NYU School of Law and Co-Director of the Birnbaum Women's Leadership Network, and a leading expert in family law, constitutional law, and reproductive rights and justice. She also co-hosts Strictly Scrutiny, a podcast about the Supreme Court. We'd highly recommend giving it a listen, especially if you're interested in recent Court decisions and how they affect us all.

 

Minerva Cuevas is a conceptual artist whose socially engaged practice encompasses a range of strategies and media including film, installation, performance, and site-specific public intervention. Her on-going work, Mejor Vida Corp.is a non-profit corporation that creates, promotes and distributes products and services for free, and through these subversive interventions, she is challenging how we think about our established economic and political systems.

 

 

 

Activist Alice Wong is the Founder and Director of the Disability Visibility Project, a community partnership with StoryCorps and an online community dedicated to creating, sharing and amplifying disability media and culture. She is the editor of Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-first Century, which just came out and we can't recommend it enough!

 

 

 

 

Artist Claire Ashley transforms ordinary materials into inflatable painted sculptures and they are truly mind-blowing! Her work investigates inflatables as painting, sculpture, installation and performance costume. These works have been exhibited nationally and internationally and we love their humor and interactivity.

 

 

 

 

GIVING UPDATE // Equal Justice Initiative

We are so proud and grateful to you, our community, for your masks purchases that have enabled us to donate a total of $8,700 from mask sales from the month of June to the Equal Justice Initiative. We will continue to direct the proceeds from masks sales this month to the Equal Justice Initiative to support their work to end mass incarceration, excessive punishment, and racial inequality.

Read more →

Weekly Newsletter June 16, 2020

As someone who has worn a Zuri dress every day for the last three years, I'll be the first to say that it's hard to imagine getting dressed in something that does not have carrots, mushrooms or birds on it!  That being said, we do love a good solid, and we know that many of you have been clamoring for them to be brought into the mix, as well. So we thought: what better way to add beauty and character to a solid fabric, than with texture!

NOW without further ado: we're extremely proud to introduce to you our newest collection of ethically produced linens! Woven by India's oldest certified fair-trade artisanal weaving cooperative, these textiles turned out so beautifully, we couldn't be any more excited to share them! Each fabric is a hand-loomed blend of cotton and linen. We chose this blend for two reasons: 1) to create subtle texture and movement within the weave; and (more practically) 2) so that your shirts and dresses will be super easy to wash and wear, as they'll be more wrinkle resistant, more durable, and drape a bit heavier when worn. (While the fabric was produced in India, the dresses were all proudly stitched in Kenya by our team. 💖)

Why India, you ask? Some of you may remember that I spent some time in Calcutta a few years ago with the incredible team at Sasha (India's first self-managing artisanal fair-trade collective, founded in 1978). We were blown away by their mission as well as their work. Given their heritage and location, it made sense to work with linen, which is grown in the region. With Sasha, we were able to source ethically grown linen and work with their experienced weavers in West Bengal to make these textiles.  

What's next? Great question! We're always in search of textiles that are both beautiful and ethically produced, particularly when they involve artisanal techniques that can and should be carried on. So many of the textiles we see these days are mechanized reproductions of what would have been originally hand-made, and it's extremely important to us to keep these groups and these traditions engaged. We'd love to hear from you if you have any thoughts or suggestions, and as always, we'll keep traveling, learning, and appreciating the places and people who create the beauty in our world, wherever it may be.

In the meantime, we're thrilled to share these luminous textiles with you, and we promise that they will be your absolute go-to's this summer!

PS Shoutout to mother-daughter duo Inja and Nia for modeling our new fabrics!

Meet Rebati! From Tulshabari in East Medinipur, she has been weaving now for the past five years and has become an extremely accomplished weaver. Rebati is proud of the fact that her income and talent allow her family to lead a better life and set an example for her children.

 

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Truth Be Told with Tonya Mosley

We love this podcast. Host Tonya Mosley takes listener questions and dispenses advice and so much truth! We especially recommend listening to last week's episode where she discusses the recent protests and systemic racism with Dr. Eddie Glaude from Princeton's African American Studies Department.

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE READING // Freedom is a Constant Struggle by Angela Davis

This collection of essays by activist and scholar Angela Davis is indispensable, especially in this moment when we are confronting injustice and creating change. Her analysis of past liberation struggles and discussions of intersectionality provide both inspiration and actionable grounds for how we can take on state violence and dismantle systemic racism and injustice individually and collectively.

 

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE READING // What I Pledge Allegiance To by Kiese Laymon

We're big fans of Keise Laymon, and this essay on American-ness will stay with you long after you finish reading. 

"I am a black Mississippian. I am a black American. I pledge to never be passive, patriotic, or grateful in the face of American abuse. I pledge to always thoughtfully bite the self-righteous American hand that thinks it’s feeding us. I pledge to perpetually reckon with the possibility that there will never be any liberty, peace, and justice for all unless we accept that America, like Mississippi, is not clean. Nor is it great. Nor is it innocent."

Read more →

Weekly Newsletter June 2, 2020

We've been struggling the last week with overwhelming rage, frustration and grief but just recognizing these feelings and the injustices that cause them is not enough -- we must take action. We are actively educating ourselves, reading, listening, engaging, speaking out and standing up against the white supremacy and systemic racism that this country has perpetuated since its founding, and we hope that you will join us. We've been sharing resources on social media that we have found helpful or have been recommended by others, we have more below (both new and from past newsletters), and we will continue to share.

Thanks to your support over the last two weeks, we have donated $10,000 to GiveDirectly's Kenya Covid-19 Fund, and starting this week, we will be donating all profits from the sales of our masks to the Equal Justice Initiative which is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in our society.

We really want to highlight the power of this community, OUR community -- thanks to your support, we have donated a total of 18,000 masks to vulnerable Kenyans, and now $10,000 that will support 334 people and help them through this pandemic in Nairobi, not to mention the jobs you've enabled us to continue to support through the production of these masks. We are strong and we are powerful when we come together.

Black Lives Matter. We cannot be silent, we must act. Join us.

WHAT WE'RE READING // The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century by Grace Lee Boggs

From legendary activist Grace Lee Boggs, this manifesto lays out her vision for a more compassionate, humanistic future and what we can do to bring it into our present. The world she envisions feels particularly prescient today as are reminded of the fragility and inequality in our social, political and economic systems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING // Black Feminism & the Movement for Black Lives: Barbara Smith, Reina Gossett, Charlene Carruthers

This conversation between feminist scholar Barbara Smith, activist Reina Gossett and activist and organizer Charlene Carruthers is an inspiring primer about Black Feminism and how it has been and continues to be foundational to social justice movements today.

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Code Switch

This podcast doesn't hesitate to talk about race. The hosts, journalists of color, take on all parts of modern life, from pop culture, to politics, to the economy and history, diving into how race plays a role in every aspect of all of our lives.

Read more →

Weekly Newsletter May 19, 2020

We've got you covered!

Thanks to the feedback and encouragement from many of you, after producing and donating masks in Kenya over the past few weeks, we are now producing non-medical masks that are available for sale in the US and in Europe! We will be donating all of the proceeds to GiveDirectly's* Kenya Covid-19 Fund, which is sending digital cash transfers directly to low-income families in Kibera and Mathare in Nairobi. The economic impact of the pandemic is being felt around the world, and we believe strongly in the dignity and value of cash transfers to allow people to take care of themselves and their communities.

The masks are made with 100% cotton kitenge and have two layers with contrasting prints on either side. Each mask has a pocket in the middle where you can insert a filter and elastic ear-straps for an easy and secure fit. We've made them in two sizes, so hopefully they can fit you, your family and friends!

Each mask is handmade and unique, so the prints will vary from what's pictured!

Given the obvious nature of these masks, all sales are final!

 

WHAT WE'RE READING // The Dialectic by Zadie Smith

Is that Zadie Smith, one of our favorite authors of all time, in a Zuri? Why yes, yes it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She needs no introduction, really, all we can say is read her work! From her first short story collection, Grand Union, The Dialectic is incisive and quick, and you'll wish to keep reading!

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING // Bisa Butler, In the Artist’s Studio

Hosted by the Museum of the African Diaspora, this conversation with artist Bisa Butler about her work and her inspirations is a fascinating must watch!

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Black Chick Lit

This podcast talks books by and about black women, and we especially recommend this episode from a few years ago where they discuss Swing Time by Zadie Smith. With humor and deep insight, hosts Dani and Mollie share books they love and we assure you, you'll love them, too!

Read more →