by Chérmelle D. Edwards
Design boutique Slow Factory merges silk and satellite images into sustainably designed, limited edition scarves that are entirely eye-catching. Three years ago, founder Celine Semaan Vernon began gathering images from NASA through a Creative Commons license, which would allow her to use the public data on her scarves.
Given that Vernon—who hails from Beirut, Lebanon—wasn’t a fashion designer and didn’t have a background in the industry, she used social media to solicit response about her ideas. The positive feedback she received propelled her to explore the production of the scarves with the goal of keeping the sanctity of Earth’s resources in mind. “I was already a conscious shopper and I really wanted to create ethical pieces that were super-beautiful—almost holy—but that wouldn’t hurt the planet,” says Vernon.
After some time of searching for a partnership with a textile company that could honor and support her mission, Vernon teamed up with a family-run artisan company in Como, Italy. With a reputable house behind her, she then looked for a partnership that would help her bring the environmental messaging behind her scarves to a broader audience. After researching images from NASA and suggesting shapes, sizes and fabrics, she presented them to WWF. “We all collaborated and curated this collection together,” she says. “Each scarf represents areas of where WWF is extremely active.”
This first collection with WWF, named “Petit Atlas,” has NASA images of oceans, forestation, and fresh water from areas where sales of the scarves will help fund where the organization is most active in North America: Canada, US and Costa Rica. Using twin sisters Cipriana Quann, co-founder of the blog Urban Bush Babes, and singer/songwriter TK Wonder as models for the initial campaign, the varying sized scarves are shown in an array of styles from tops to dresses to wrist-tied bracelets. To celebrate Earth Day 2015 and Hubble Space Telescope’s 25th anniversary in space this week, there’s also a new collection featuring galaxy cluster silk ties, bows and more.
“I wanted a collection where I could offer another way to raise awareness, where I could create something beyond fair trade and eco-friendly—something meaningful to preserve the planet and humanitarian aids, this was the area,” says Vernon.
Shop Petit Atlas online at Slow Factory, where prices start at $55 for pocket silk scarves.
Images courtesy of Slow Factory