Fashion represents the visual declaration of what we are. With our clothes, we tell stories. The story of sustainable luxury brand Belle Ikat is about expertly crafted items made with so much love by women that it can even be felt by women wearing them. It is the story of the independent designer Isabella Stadler, who wants to leave a sustainable mark on the fashion industry.
Born in Armenia, Isabella Stadler grew up in Israel, where she worked as a model. After studying tourism in Germany, she travelled the world and brought home numerous finds from markets and bazaars. Accidentally she attended the International Tourism Fair in Tashkent Ikat, where she discovered traditional ikat fabrics.
“I was totally thrilled. The culture, the craft, the people, everything fascinated me. I took some of those fabrics home with me and for a few years I couldn't decide how to use them in the future. One day I got the idea to try something completely new, brought it to my seamstress and let her sew a dress out of it. I was able to combine the special flair of Uzbekistan with the classic western fashion ideas”. Thus, Belle Ikat was born.
Belle Ikat started with just one small collection and now develops limited editions from it. All models remain unique. But Belle Ikat is more than just a brand, it is a mission. Isabella has not only succeeded in converting cultural peculiarities into fashionable creations, but she also empowers the people who make the clothes– especially the women–, supporting them with fair and resource-saving working conditions. The protection of Nature is also part of Belle Ikat’s DNA.
To Belle Ikat, good design means bright colours, first-class materials and the combination of ancient traditions with modern cuts in first-class workmanship. Ikat fabrics, for example, are made using a special technique in which graphic patterns that capture the peculiarities of nature are created in bright colours. Each panel is unique, so the models made from it are equally unique, handmade in small factories in the Fergana Valley in Uzbekistan.
The brand only uses natural products, both for the yarns (silk, linen and cotton) and for the colours. Other models, for instance, linen, is provided with elaborated hand-made embroidery, which also pass on traditional crafts.
Made by women for women. The brand is a bridge between women thanks to partnerships and projects. It provides life-changing opportunities through holistic care programs that offer healthy and fair working and living conditions. “We started this path with the `Saheli Women´, now `Terre des Femmes´, in every order and will continue to add partnerships to promote social justice in sustainable production. Everyone can do something to make the world a little bit better.
“Our customers do this with each purchase.” – Isabella Stadler says. “The desire for fashion, beauty and luxury does not have to expense other people and our environment. Fashion and sustainability go hand in hand. As a wife and mother, I wanted to be a role model for my daughter, to show that social justice and sustainability depend on a personal attitude and not a short-lived fad”.
The designer has close contact with its manufactures: “The Ikat fabrics are produced in family businesses in Uzbekistan, with which I am in constant contact . I visit them regularly. Sewing is done in Mannheim (Germany), so I can always be there and can ensure compliance with quality standards”.
Bella Ikat’s customers can recognize the history of each piece. Not only can they see the traditions and techniques that influence these garments, but also how much love and work they integrate. There is a lot of hand-work involved. Belle Ikat doesn't just offer a blouse or a dress, but also a unique piece of Uzbekistan.
The ‘Samarkand’ collection is inspired by the colour blue in all its wonderful facets. It tells the story of a stylish journey along the Silk Road, in complete freedom through vast landscapes and the life of pulsating cities in Uzbekistan. More cultures, traditions and colours will follow soon, Belle Ikat remains exciting and diverse.
We can buy it on its online shop or at its showroom in Mannheim. Belle Ikat also offers its collections in selected stores that follow the principle of sustainability and are regularly present in exclusive pop-up stores.
“I am always looking for other traditions, handicrafts, cultures that inspire me. I want to show our customers the beauty and diversity of the cultures of our world and let them participate. I have just discovered wonderful embroidery that originated in a specific region in the Hindu Kush.”
We can see a nice tomorrow for this label. We would love to see you there!