Fashionably good with SURevolution

30 March 2011

Charity-minded clotheshorses face a clear dilemma: how to justify spending money on fashion when there are so many people in need? Enter SURevolution. This innovative fashion house, headed by luxury brand vet Dina Rothstein, designs luxury goods that are handcrafted by artisans across the world. SURevolution’s goal is nothing less than to alleviate poverty and preserve traditional folk arts. We caught up with Rothstein to learn more about traditions, their upcoming sample sale, and her travel essentials.

The Stylish City: What was the inspiration for SURevolution?SURevolution - Dina Rothstein
Dina: SURevolution is inspired by the artisanal world: their culture, their lifestyle, their traditional techniques. I’m from Columbia, where there’s a vast artisanal world: woodwork, metal work, stitchwork. There are so many beautiful things being made, but most artists are impoverished because most people in the country don’t have the income to buy these artisanal products. So what happens is that the artists get other jobs, which means the artistic tradition is being lost. With SURevolution, I want to make these traditional arts appealing to the Western luxury world, so we make the quality impeccable and pick the colors. The end result is a brand with appealing designs and artisanal production.

The Stylish City: How, exactly, does the organization work?
Dina: Our New York creative team makes the design and then, depending on what the design is (wool, metal, etc.), we pick a different artisanal group to produce it. We travel to the group with the design, and together, we come up with the perfect sample. When orders come in, we pass them along to the group. Our goal to provide the artisanal group with enough work that they can build up their workshops in a healthy, productive way. As the workshops grow, so do their businesses. They start hiring those around them and now they’re entrepreneurs.

The Stylish City: How do the collaborations with other retailers, like J. Crew, work?
Dina: I’ll take you through our collaboration with J. Crew, which will hit stores in May. J. Crew came to our showroom, where we have products from all over the world. They picked mochila, a traditional bag made by the Indians who live in the northern desert of Colombia in Guajira. The mochilas come in various patterns and J. Crew chose the ones they liked. We then sent people to Guajira to oversee production. J. Crew will tell the story of the mochilas and the people of Guajira, not just sell the items.

SURevolution - Palm BangleSURevolution - Silk BangleSURevolution - Twig Bowl

The Stylish City: Looking ahead to this week’s sale, what are the best pieces?
We have these great brightly colored silk bangles ($5) that are perfect for spring. I also love these cuffs made out of real leaves dipped in gold ($20). We’re also offering recycled brass sand casted bowls made in India for just $20.

The Stylish City: You travel a ton. What are your travel essentials?
Dina: I’m on the road every six to eight weeks. I always bring a great scarf, usually from SURevolution, to keep me warm on the plane and at night. A great pair of flats is a necessity – I like Diepa Restrepo. And, of course, I can’t forget a SURevlotion wooden bangle to take my outfit from day to night.

The Stylish City: What’s your best travel story?
Dina: I usually make friends wherever I travel. People are extremely hospitable and the artisans usually invite me to their homes for dinner. I love trying their food, meeting their families, and experiencing how they live. Once on a trip to Udaipur with my mother, an artisan friend (who was very concerned that I was not married yet and was convincing me of the virtues of arranged marriages,) had his personal palm reader take a look at my future. My mother was very pleased to hear that I would meet my future husband over the New Year. And guess what, I did! I can’t say if it was destiny or mere casualty, but I sure want to go back to hear what’s coming next.

WHEN: 3/31 – 4/2, Th (noon-6), F (10-8), Sat (10-2)

WHERE: SURevolution NY Showroom
197 Grand St., Loft 6s (between Mott & Mulberry)
Buzzer 62

Leila Cohan-Miccio

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Posted by Leila Cohan-Miccio at 02:22 PM
bargain news , Designers , People |

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