The history of fashion dates as far back as the earliest civilizations of the world. The social classes were split into two categories - upper class and lower class - where the lower class were impoverished citizens and working men while the upper crust consisted of monarchs, the military, and other affluent individuals. The rich were able to travel to other cities and countries where they were exposed to cultures, food and spices, and of course, fashion. They would return to their homes with souvenirs and would share tales of their exploits over flowing wine at parties or with their wives and children.
Over time, men sought materials from particular countries according to their reputation much like Christopher Columbus' "not-so" trip to India. Throughout history, silks and cashmere of the finest quality became synonymous with a country or city, so much so that nowadays if you discuss madras from India or cashmere from Italy, you know that you are receiving quality. Not every brand heads to the same mills and factories for fabrics however, because business is business. Costs are cut and competitors arise offering the same exceptional quality for a lesser price. Cucinelli was quoted saying that China is one of the few countries where you can find great quality cashmere despite China's reputation in relation to fashion. That's the game of fashion production and manufacturing today. Quality is everywhere compared to early civilizations, but sometimes going back to the country with a history of providing the best fabrics is the best idea.
That's part of the story behind Industry of All Nations. The Los Angeles based brand that was founded in 2010 goes directly to the source of the fabrics and works with small manufacturing businesses to help the country's economy. For SS13, IOAN went to India for a special manufacturing process that's specific to the country. "In SS13 we introduced the traditional Batik prints on the form of button down shirts and tees," brand co-founder Fernando Gerscovich shared. "For the first Batik collection we chose 5 existing patterns that our Batik Masters in India had from long time ago, really traditional and ethnic looking." IOAN is innovating manufacturing through old forms of production that have been pushed to the wayside in favor of faster forms of production.
SS14 is a continuation of the Batik process. Gerscovich shared, "This collection is inspired by the processes of production, by the people involved, by nature." The IOAN crew is very hands-on with the process as well. Gerscovich included, "We walk the indigo fields early in the morning before it gets too hot, we harvest the indigo branches, then we get on the back of the track that carries loads of fresh cut indigo and we go to the extraction plant. It looks medieval because it was build around 300 years ago." Although the process is dated, quality is retained and is touched by several hands and dyed several times in order to achieve the right color and lasting quality.
Gerscovich explained the system to us, "Basically there is a system of pools where the green indigo branches go into the pools and after several steps, the pure indigo pigment is compressed in the form of a bar. Then we take that pure indigo bar to our dye house deep in the Indian forrest, there is just fun and experimentation, trying Batik patterns, different hues of indigo."
Their line of tees are made out of 100% organic cotton and dyed with all natural pigments from plants, minerals and even with secretions of insects. Their signature piece of the season is their Batik Polkadot Pocket Crew Neck Indigo Shirt. India is just the first stop for Industry of All Nations on their quest to provide a true definition of the world's fashion.
Industry of All Nations will be at Capsule Vegas next month.