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sourcing


How it's 100% Made in Kenya

We're super excited about our new 100% made in Kenya textiles, and we thought that we'd share a bit more with you about how the fabrics are made!

The cotton that we're using is sourced from smallholder farmers in Western Kenya. It is ginned in a factory in Makueni County in south western Kenya, and then it's sent to the factory we're partnered with for spinning and weaving!

The WisteriaTidal and Mosaic prints were designed by Stephen and his team. Here you can see him standing with the rolls, which are each etched with a different component layer of the design. As the fabric is passed through the rolls, it gets a different part of the design and color from each roll. Below you can see elements from the Mosaic and Tidal rolls.

 

 

The final step in the printing process is heat! The fabric goes through a high temperature press to make sure that the colors are completely set so that when you wash it, the colors don't run! 

The production process is a constant marvel, and every step is a learning process for us. Thanks for joining us on this journey!

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Black Frasier by Phoebe Robinson

You may know comedian Phoebe Robinson from her incredible podcast and TV show 2 Dope Queens and her books and essays, and we are so excited that she's back on the airwaves with a new podcast, Black Frasier. We can't encourage enough listening to her conversation with Michelle Obama on why it's so important to VOTE!

 

 

WHAT WE'RE DOING // Training to be Election Defenders

Whether you're feeling energized or overwhelmed by election season, in addition to voting, we encourage you to take action! We're excited about The Frontline, an organization sponsored by the Working Families Organization, the Working Families Party, and the Movement for Black Lives Electoral Justice Project, which is training individuals on how to become Election Defenders, teaching how to spot voter suppression, and what to do about it.

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Alsarah and the Nubatones

Self dubbed as East African retro-pop, the borderless sound of Brooklyn-based Sudanese singer Alsarah and the Nubatones is both rich and soulful. Inspired by Nubian "songs of return", you'll love the feeling of movement this album brings.

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100% Made in Kenya

A little more than three years ago, Ashleigh and I were blasting down Mombasa Road, driving back from our first visit to our ethical manufacturing partner in southern Kenya and it was around hour four (of an unexpected 10!) back to Nairobi that I remember looking out the window as 18-wheelers flew by (Ashleigh is a VERY good driver), musing about how amazing it would be if someday, we got big enough that instead of buying prints in the market, we could actually produce our own. We could give a platform to emerging designers, and we could create textiles that were original, whose origins we could trace completely, and whose stories would encompass our contemporary world. As is wont to happen on long delirious drives, we set the conversation aside as a road trip pipe-dream, and went back to more practical conversations like what we should eat for our next snack break, but this fantasy stayed with us. 

Now, three plus years and many dresses later, we couldn't be prouder or more excited that this dream is becoming reality and that it's even better than what we imagined thanks to your support! Not only do we get to collaborate with emerging designers and share their talent with you, we have partnered with a textile manufacturer in Nairobi that sources cotton grown in western Kenya giving us not only total traceability, but a 100% KENYAN supply chain. This means that from seed, to fabric, to dress, our new prints will be 100% Kenyan from farm to shop.

We couldn't do this without your support and we are so grateful to be a part of this community that has encouraged us and enabled us to keep growing and finding ways to continually do better. 

And so a new journey begins! Meet our newest prints, 100% made in Kenya! Twende!

GIVING UPDATE // Voter Participation Center

For the month of September we committed to donating proceeds from the sales of our masks to the Voter Participation Center. As we near Nov 3rd, it is evermore important to register potential voters and get them to the polls so that on Election Day, ALL our voices are heard and counted. We're really proud that thanks to your purchases, we were able to donate $3,700 in September, which combined with our contribution from mask sales in August totals $8,700 for the Voter Participation Center!

This month, we'll be donating our mask proceeds to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund to support their work fighting for racial justice and in litigating voting rights and protecting the election. With voter suppression in full force across the country, we all have to do what we can to ensure that everyone who is eligible to vote does vote, and that every vote gets counted.

WHAT WE'RE READING // In North Carolina, Black Voters’ Mail-In Ballots Much More Likely to Be Rejected Than Those From Any Other Race

Early voting has started in many states and for those who are mailing in ballots, this story illustrates the importance of make sure that every vote gets counted! Analysis of data from the 2018 midterms in North Carolina shows that ballots mailed by Black voters were more than twice as likely as those sent in by white voters to be rejected, and this pattern seems to be holding true already in 2020 and to varying degrees across the country. 

We recommend reading through this voting guide for information on how to make sure that your vote gets counted!

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // How to Citizen with Baratunde

We love this podcast by writer and activist Baratunde Thurston! In each episode he discusses aspects of what it means to be a citizen with activists and academics and provides tangible actions that listeners can take to become better, more participatory citizens.

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Chiwoniso

Chiwoniso was a Zimbabwean singer and songwriter, whose use of the Mbira is at once warm, beautiful and familiar in a totally original way. Caveat: this song will make you feel all kinds of things the first time you hear it, and it's recommended *(by me, who cries easily) that you listen to it when you're ready to let things flow!

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Weekly Newsletter July 28, 2020

Market Days

We usually travel monthly to the markets to source fabric for our clothing, and throughout the month are in touch with vendors to see what's new (in the market and in their lives!). While we aren't able to go to the markets now, we're revisiting photos from a recent trip to Dar es Salaam, and some of the fabrics may look familiar!

Meet Emmy! She always has the most wonderful prints, especially in the crackle batik style, and we're so excited to share Verdant and Cornucopia with you, both sourced from her!

 

 

 

Lunch is a pretty big deal for us in life and in work, and it's hard to express in words the feeling of relief and excitement when we sit down to a heaping plate of rice, veggies, fried tilapia and a bowl of beans!

The fabric section of the market is a mere fraction of the entire, much larger market, and it's always fun to wander through the other areas, especially where produce is being sold, to see what's in season and new! How amazing do these little peaches, tree tomatoes and passion fruits look?

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Les Filles de Illighadad

 

These filles ROCK!  Based in Niger, the lead vocalist and performer, Fatou Seidi Ghali, is one of the only female Tuareg guitarists in the region, and is completely self-taught. They have a beautifully rich sound and I promise you will keep this album cycling through your "favorites" for years to come.

 

 

WHAT WE'RE READING // The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell

 

 

 

This multi-generational epic weaves together four generations of families whose lives have sprouted from the fertile Zambezi delta. Serpell's evocative storytelling amplifies reality and gives us a lesson in history and a deep exploration of relationships and family.

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING // Zenele Muholi at the Seattle Art Museum 

South African Zanele Muholi is a visual activist and photographer, and in this video, they talk about their work and while it's not a substitute for seeing their powerful, moving work in person, it's pretty close!

 

 

 

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Weekly Newsletter June 30, 2020

Hand-dyed in Accra and Dakar

We're so thrilled to share with you two new prints, one a hand-dyed batik made in Ghana by Edwina and her team, and the other a sitiba (stitch-resist) hand-stitched and dyed in Senegal by Cheikhouna and his family. It's a privilege to work with such skilled and talented artisans, and we hope that you'll love these textiles as much as we do!

Accra, Ghana

Wax prints as we know them today originated from the batik tradition, and we're thrilled to be able to work with this collective (hi Oparebea!) to produce hand-blocked batiks in Accra. Working with locally grown cotton, melted wax is applied to fabric, which is then dyed, and then the wax is removed leaving the design! Learn more about the process here.

 

Dakar, Senegal

Sitiba is a technique where the fabric is stitched into a design of tight folds and then dyed. The stitches act as a "resist" so that when they're taken out, the area inside the folds retains the original color of the fabric and the rest is dyed. Cheikhouna is one of the only remaining master dyers practicing this technique in Dakar, and we are privileged to be able to produce textiles with him!

 

 

NYC + SF // Stores re-opening!

We've missed you, and we're really excited to welcome you back to our shops!

We will be re-opening 363 Bleecker on Wednesday, July 1, and our opening hours will be Wed-Sun, from 11-5pm.

We'll be opening 1902B Fillmore on Friday, July 3, and our hours will be Fri-Sun, from 11-5pm. 

(Both stores will be closed on July 4!)

As you know, our stores are cozy places, so we will be limiting the number of people to two at a time inside. We ask that you please wear a mask and maintain social distance!

We are also taking private shopping appointments, so please feel free to reach out (heyzuri@shopzuri.com) to schedule a time at either location.

These are uncharted waters for us and we're taking each day as it comes.  We are taking all necessary precautions to protect both our team and you with routine cleaning and health checks, and we will be responsive to updates in state and city protocols. We can't wait to see you soon (from a safe distance of 6 ft)!

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Sona Jobarteh

Two words: WOW + WOW.  Sona Jobarteh's music will awaken something in you that you haven't accessed in at least 106 days, and you will truly enjoy it.  A vocalist and instrumentalist from The Gambia, she is the the first professional female kora player to come out of one of the five main West African Griot families, and her music is just SO beautiful.  Sit near a window, put in your headphones, and let go.

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Floodlines by Vann R. Newkirk II

Though it's been 15 years since Hurricane Katrina brought devastation to New Orleans, we're still learning from its lessons today. Host Vann Newkirk brings us the stories of people who lived through the flood, revealing what really happened and how much we misunderstood.

 

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE READING // Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby

From the first time I read Samantha Irby's essay collection, "We Are Never Meeting in Real Life," and couldn't move from the couch until I finished it, I was hooked. Non-stop giggling funny, unflinchingly raw, her newest essay collection documenting a more settled life at forty after growing up struggling with chronic illness and the loss of parents in her teens doesn't disappoint.

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Weekly Newsletter Mar 24, 2020

UPCOMING EVENTS // INSTAGRAM LIVE // Artist talk with Dennis Muraguri

Join us on Thursday at 1pm EST for an artist talk with Dennis Muraguri on Instagram Live! You may remember Dennis from the our collaboration to make our Ma3 print, and we're looking forward to talking with him!

Not sure what Instagram Live is? Just sign into Instagram and you'll see a circle at the top where the Stories are that says Live, click on that and you'll be able to watch our live conversation!

PS If you have specific questions you want us to ask Dennis, please email or DM us!

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING // Simone Leigh Artist Talk

Produced by the Guggenheim Museum, this video is a wonderful introduction to Simone Leigh and her artistic process!

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Recording Artists: Betye Saar Working My Mojo

This podcast was produced by the Getty Museum in LA, and features conversations with and about six artists and their relationships with feminism. We especially recommend this episode on Betye Saar, which features interviews with the artist when she was in her late forties. It's incredible to hear about her evolution as an artist, and how the feminist and vivil rights movements around her impacted her work.

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE READING // What Do We Want History to Do to Us? : Zadie Smith on Kara Walker

All I can say is read this! Here's an excerpt:

"What might I want history to do to me? I might want history to reduce my historical antagonist—and increase me. I might ask it to urgently remind me why I’m moving forward, away from history. Or speak to me always of our intimate relation, of the ties that bind—and indelibly link—my history and me. I could want history to tell me that my future is tied to my past, whether I want it to be or not. Or ask it to promise me that my future will be revenge upon my past. Or warn me that the past is not erased by this revenge. Or suggest to me that brutal oppression implicates the oppressors, who are in turn brutalized by their own acts of oppression."

 

 

WHAT ELSE WE'RE DOING // New Orleans Safety and Freedom Fund

If you're able and looking for organizations that you can contribute to during this pandemic, we encourage you to consider the New Orleans Safety and Freedom Fund, which helps post bail for individuals who are awaiting trial, but can't afford the cost and must otherwise wait in jail. Especially as this virus spreads, we can make a difference in reducing the number of people who will be infected unnecessarily and help make New Orleans a safer, more equitable place for everyone.

If you'd like to learn more about bail reform, we recommend listening to this!

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