Leafy Natural Couture is a sustainable luxury brand dedicated to creating timeless yet original, modern, and conceptual handmade garments bringing together the ancient art of crochet and Silvia Vassão's contemporary design.
Inspired by her gypset lifestyle, Silvia designs destination wear for hip and sophisticated women who value quality, sustainability and uniqueness. We create fashion made to last, versatile pieces that transition from day to night and from beach resorts to city.
Leafy's Collections feature handmade crochet pieces carefully handcrafted from hand-spun silk yarn dyed with organic pigments (such as mate herb, eucalyptus fiber, coffee and urucum). Our dresses, kaftans, tops and swimwear are produced by groups of mothers living in small fishing villages in Southern Brazil. Since 2008 we have been developing a social project to foster their economic independence while keeping alive traditional hand-weaving techniques.
Leafy is 100% anti-industrialization. Other than exceptional artistry, it takes only two elements to make our clothes: a needle and the purest yarn.
Fashion designer Silvia Vassão left her native Brazil as a free-spirited 18-year-old and set out exploring and globetrotting, hungry to experience a cornucopia of cultures far and wide. It was during her travels that she forged her love of nature, human diversity and discovered a passion for ancient, faraway cultures. After many years drawing on these experiences and inspirations in her various incarnations as a visual artist, she ultimately chose NY as her base and found a way to translate all her interests and talent into a sustainable fashion manifesto.
It was Silvia's nomadic style, an amalgam of Talitha Getty and young Bianca Jagger, culled from her many travels, which became the blueprint for the Leafy girl. The concept for her sustainably sourced fashion house sprang forth as she traversed through Cambodia, Vietnam, India and Japan and fell in love with silk. After this first encounter, she set up to study and collect different kinds of silk, searching for the "perfect" one. Little she knew that this quest would take her back exactly where she started: the South of Brazil. It was there she discovered the Brazilian "Silk Valley" and set up Leafy's production base."
Leafy is dedicated to reduce the environmental impact of its business and promote a more responsible way to experience fashion. We source our primary raw materials from suppliers that meet the highest standards of sustainability, "craftswomenship" and social responsibility.
Leafy's crochet pieces are made with hand-spun silk yarn, produced in the Brazilian Silk Valley (Maringá, Paraná), and dyed with organic pigments from plants, teas and tree barks. Families on small rural properties provide most of the silkworm cocoons in this area, improving income and contributing to reducing rural exodus. Each hectare is planted with seven varieties of mulberries tress and its leaves are the only thing silkworms eat, they are very spoiled worms. Because of that and the small production of silk in Brazil it is considered the best quality organic silk in the wold.
Our crochet artisans are women living in small fishing villages and rural areas in southern Brazil who have learned traditional hand crochet techniques from the elders in the community and family members, from mother's and grandmother's, and from our mobile training programs in different villages which focuses on broadening the opportunities to reach women in remote areas to offer them direct training from some of our crochet masters. Being able to earn an income working from home while caring for their children, has inspired younger women in these communities to start crocheting again and bringing back this beautiful and almost forgotten craft back to a much needed non industrial fashion ethic, keeping alive the art of crochet while learning Leafy's garments which incorporates ancient techniques with a modern design and total customization, creating beautiful and timeless sustainable "wearable art" pieces.
For our collection, "Pangaea," we use the flawless skin from the Amazonian fish Pirarucu (Arapaima Gigas). This fish leather is an eco-alternative to bovine leather, and its processing is not harmful to the environment. The Pirarucu being part of the staple diet in the Amazon region, the fish skin we source is a byproduct of the local fishing industry. It is tanned using eco-friendly means and is certified sustainable by IBAMA (Brazil National Agency for Environment).