To Be Bluetiful

To Be Bluetiful

From our Ibu studio, Jamie headed to an artisanal exposition in Guatemala to search out women who carry in their hands a forgotten craft, a story to tell. She returned excited about a group of women resurrecting the MesoAmerican tradition of indigo dyeing in El Salvador—something about which I knew little. That was six years ago. 

Since then, I've learned a lot about this small group who call their work Bluetiful, about the ceremonial significance of indigo in their history, and about their innovation with resist dyeing in deep indigo vats. A lot of resist dyeing creates busy patterns, while my eye loves lines simple and strong. By enlarging their soft circles, I wondered if they might have something new and powerful, something like the moon rising in a deep indigo sky.

Vintage Ibu pieces

Vintage Ibu pieces created by Bluetiful— from 2019 - 2021

Designing with artisans is a layered process built over many years. Our Director of Design and Production, Marisa Nemirow, and I have the privilege of first taking a deep dive into the technique a group has carried as a part of their cultural heritage, and appreciating its subtle possibilities and limitations.

Marisa then communicates at least weekly with the artisan leader to understand their creative world, the religious holidays which take them away from work, the violence or war that sometimes interrupts their daily routines, the challenges they face with acquiring materials and supplies. She sends the dress and jacket patterns we've drafted to keep our sizing consistent for you. Over many trials—sketching, sampling, tweaking—we settle into a sweet spot which stretches the artisans and us, both.

Vintage and new Ibu pieces

Vintage and new Ibu pieces created by Bluetiful— from 2020 - 2023

Sometimes, a design comes through which strikes a perfect note. Of all of the dynamic designs created by Bluetiful over the years, it is this white orb in the inky sky, we've had to re-order so many times—you simply couldn't get enough. The moon just kept rising.

After ten years of Ibu, after ten years of designs, some of our handcrafted garments have become classics. We're proud to return to ten of these signature Ibu pieces in our tenth year, starting with the moon lighting up the summer sky. 

Look for these Top Ten throughout the year as we revive and re-issue an Ibu canon of classics. It's just another way to celebrate the women of the world who have proudly crafted these spheres of light, this radiant hope. 

All the best,