When Mrs. O traveled to San Francisco a few weeks ago we got several inquiries about her heart print tunic, but not until later did we discover the designer (via a Mrs-O.org tipster via New York magazine, thank you!). The top is from a new label called SUNO, formed in 2008 by Max Osterweis, a film director and screenwriter turned designer.
The inspiration for the collection came after Mr. Osterweis spent more than a decade collecting textiles from Kenya, where his mother had built a house on Lamu Island. (The collection is named after her.) Wanting to do something positive for Kenya after the country found itself in political turmoil in 2008, Max decided to put his collection of fabrics to new use.
He started SUNO -- a company that employs local Kenyan talent and is committed to treating workers fairly. The overarching aim is to affect positive and lasting economic and social change.
Design for the SUNO collection originates in New York City, where sample and pattern makers construct the first pieces for the collection. The patterns and samples are then sent to Kenya, where the garments are produced in small artisan workshops. The first SUNO collection for Spring/Summer 2009 consisted of 1,000 individually numbered, one of a kind pieces made from Kenya kangas. (Kangas are large rectangles of printed cotton that come from coastal East African tradition.) The pieces are then finished with touches of silk charmeuse, used for piping, binding, pockets and collars.
Mrs. O's top is a cotton tunic by SUNO, made at a small fair-trade workshop in Kenya from a vintage kanga. The top was purchased from Ikram in Chicago. With such a substantive background and lovely, interesting pieces, we are not suprised that SUNO has found its way into Mrs. O's wardrobe. Fingers crossed there is more to come! To see the SUNO collection, click here. For further reading, click here.
Photo by Kimberly White/ Getty Images