In our latest 'meet the boutique series' meet Lydia Crespo, the woman behind the incredible Argaman & Defiance, the creator of 100% silk scarves and accessories naturally dyed by hand. These beautiful, one of a kind pieces are a labor of love, and below Lydia is sharing how she got her start, how she makes it happen and what she've got up her sleeve next.
Argaman & Defiance creates 100% silk scarves naturally dyed by hand in our studio located in St. Louis, Mo. We use natural dye extracts responsibly collected from tree bark, roots, and leaves. We then hand paint or print a unique design on each piece.
Can you tell us what inspired you to start your own label, and how it came into being?
I studied natural dyes while in the textiles and material studies department at the School of the Art Institute. I can’t describe it any other way… my hands just knew what to do… and the chemistry behind it I could understand perfectly.
After graduation 15 students were selected to receive fellowship grants to continue their studies or continue an art project. I was one of those 15 and used the funds from the fellowship grant to start my Argaman & Defiance.
What is the meaning behind the name Argaman & Defiance?
I am named after a woman who trade was dying fabric. She was know for creating rich beautiful purples. The dye she was working with was described as Argaman and translates to crimson in Hebrew.
Defiance is Defiance, Missouri where my other namesake, my Great Great Grandmother lived, and where until quite recently my grandparents resided. Defiance, MO is a place I cherish!
Describe your brand / collection in three words.
Cozy, Modern, Multi-Functional
Tell us a bit about the process of silk dying? What’s your design process like?
I am using natural dyes, which means I am using tree barks, roots, leaves, and even onion skins to create the pigments for the dyes. Just like food has a season in which it tastes best, color too has a season where it performs best. I am limited to small runs, but it makes it that much more special. Every season the color will be slightly different. It makes it exciting and fresh with each season.
My design process consists of always being on the hunt for the next hot color or pattern. I really tap into my intuition and rely on an emotional response. I have to be excited about a color formula or design process for it to make to the final collection.
Where do you get inspiration from?
I know it’s a cliché, but nature. There is so many wonderful colors and patterns to interpret and reimagine.
What’s your favorite piece from your current collection?
The Cape. It’s the only piece you will ever need. Weather you are traveling or need to elevate your look after work for a night out. This is the ultimate article of clothing that works for any occasion and any season.
What’s next for Argaman & Defiance? Are you working on any new product or service offerings in the future?
Working on some new color formulas, possibly a dress design. I am most focused on working on a home collection – duvet covers, rugs, maybe some fine art.
Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you or your brand?
I love what I do and I work really hard to keep it going.
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