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Fashion with a conscience: Scottish womenswear label Ala Mairi launches second collection of luxury ethical fashion

Inspired by sunsets in the Shetland Islands, this striking new designer collection features a dream-like colour palette and combines the finest of exclusive hand-loom woven fabrics created by traditional artisans in Scotland and embroidered by hand with 100% silks by women facing hardship in Pakistan. The result is a stylish capsule collection of unashamedly sumptuous and intricately made statement dresses, tops, shirts, trousers and scarves, with a conscience. 

Edinburgh-based designer and founder Fatima Mahmood fused cultures and skills to create the inimitable Ala Mairi brand - and the highly anticipated winter 2014 collection. Mahmood travelled to the Scottish Highlands in search of handloom weavers and lace makers to help create the fashion collection. The moody colour palette of blues, oranges and pinks offset with dramatic black reflects more than a nod to Shetland’s iconic St Ninian’s Isle beach and its infamous sunsets. 

Each garment is hand woven from luxurious silk, cotton and linen yarns such as Harris Tweed she sourced from British artisans before being fused with embroidery and hand dyed Pakistan by women facing hardship. The cultural mix of the finest craftsmanship from both continents is what makes Ala Mairi unique. 

The feminine Arch top (£390, left) features a dramatic asymmetrical hand woven panel. Made from 100% silk, the ivory top was hand dyed in Lahore.  

The understated Abbie dress (£550, right) features raglan sleeves with an asymmetrical neck detail. Artisans from Duns have hand woven threads of cream, grey and deep pink to create the playfully majestic colour palette. Made from 100% raw crepe silk, hand dyed in Lahore. 

The limited edition Naomi snood (£165, right) infuses Scottish heritage with Pakistani culture. Hand-dying skills passed down through generations of Lahorean hand dyers have been used to create unique diamond shaped ivory motifs onto 100% silk Prussian blue plush velvet. Scottish artisans have hand woven yarns of cream, copper and antique gold lurex with a subtle sophistication and refinement.

The limited edition Ava Scarf (£175, left) was crafted by artisans from Women’s Welfare Centres in Rawalpindi. Unique hand-dying techniques create a colourful palette reflective of Pakistan’s vibrant culture. Inspired by Fair Isle motifs, Scottish artisans have hand woven cream, pink, grey and gold lurex yarns to create a unique infusion of colour. The grey crochet panels have been hand embroidered with pearl beading by women in Rawalpindi.

As well as being a luxury ethical fashion brand, Ala Mairi is also a Social Enterprise with a vision to generate sustainable income for the workforces of Scottish and Pakistan artisans. The company has been awarded a Positive Luxury Butterfly Mark for its commitment to maximising social impact whilst minimising environmental impact.

Ala Mairi founder and designer, Fatima Mahmood says of her designs with a conscience: “This second collection sees the unique Ala Mairi trademark fusion between Pakistan and Scotland become further entwined, resulting in a stronger style look.

“We have worked hard on pushing the designs, the collaboration with artisans and the colour palette which makes this collection not only striking but incredibly distinctive.”

The new Ala Mairi collection is available to buy online at www.alamairi.com.


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