06 Jul The Perfect Summer Look with Eco-friendly Loungewear Nourished Threads
Summer is in full force and with it comes the heat. While we’re looking for comfortable loungewear to take a much-needed break from the stressors of the state of the world and enjoy a bit of respite at home, many of us are also looking for ways to reduce our impact on this planet even more. One Texan has created such a line that meets the best of both worlds. Ana Liza García designs the most comfortable, breathable caftans using organic materials, and even a few unexpected ingredients. Nourished Threads debuts a collection of naturally dyed clothing that will be your go-to Summer staple this year while also supporting efforts to do good for the planet. From going through personal hardships to finding her true self, Ana Liza takes us through her journey of turning passion into purpose.
SLTV: Your caftans have been all the rage with our team! They truly are the quintessential Summer piece. Tell us how you decided to start designing. Was fashion always your career path?
ALG: I consider myself a Professional Lounger! (Laughs) My heart has always been drawn to Fashion, just the art and creativity behind it. Ever since I was little, I just loved to look through fashion magazines and was always into what was going on in the world of fashion and how to put pieces together; things like that. I actually wanted to go to school for it, but I didn’t and ended up studying Communications and Journalism and minored in Marketing/PR/Advertising. I lived in New York for a while and just being there you absorb so much, even if I wasn’t in the Industry, I was very in tune with my environment.
SLTV: It’s impossible not to! So, what brought you back to Texas?
ALG: So, I got divorced and was stagnant for a while. I really have to give recognition to my Holistic Life Coach at Botanical Rituals, Erika Madariaga, who help me find my dharma (inherent nature, truth). It just organically happened! Through different sessions with meditation, she helped me gain strength and self-worth. She showed me that I can do anything! Now I have this small company that makes me so happy! I had this vision of being home in the luxurious organic piece of art, so I just started working on this collection!
SLTV: That is so inspiring! The holistic, luxurious vibe is definitely perfect during this time. How did you get everything started for your line?
ALG: I reached out to wholesalers and got some samples. I started sketching and learned how to dye fabric with plenty of research. I’m still testing a lot and learning to perfect the technique. I think that’s the fun part! There are so many ways to do it, with all eco-friendly components. I find that it’s such a beautiful process to see a naturally raw fabric, and use something that is from the earth to turn it into something even more beautiful. That Caftan design just really called me, seeing that most high fashion designers have created their own versions of it, I thought “Ok, I can make my own version!” So, that’s where I decided to start. I do have other design ideas I’ve been playing around with like two-piece sets, shorts, little tops, and other types of dresses, but the caftan was what launched Nourished Threads.
SLTV: You mentioned you didn’t have formal training in fashion. Do you sketch and sew all the pieces yourself?
ALG: So, I did self-teach the sketching but I work with a dressmaker, who is amazing! I sketch it out, she gets the pattern and makes it exactly the way I want it. I honestly don’t sew, but I have the vision and she’s able to bring it to life. I do take care of all the dyeing, prep the fabric and get it ready for her to put together.
SLTV: So, it’s very much a team effort! What made you go the sustainable, eco-friendly route?
ALG: Thinking about how clothing is made, like day to day, that’s relatively new. No one really taught us that there are some not great things in our clothing. It can be very toxic and not knowing what’s all in it is a bit scary. If I’m living in these clothes all day, I’d rather be in something that’s not just beautiful but also non-toxic. It’s not about what we ingest but what we touch with our skin. So, think clothing, linens, bedding, etc. I would just choose organic, natural materials for myself. I know people are making small changes in their personal lives so it felt right to provide clothing that filled that need. I think it’s a win-win. I feel that people would really appreciate a handmade piece. It takes time to hand dye the fabric with organic ingredients like avocado seeds, so I know people appreciate the level of effort put into making it.
SLTV: I agree 100%. I’m known as the Sustainable Queen here in these parts, so this resonates with me on every level! I definitely look for natural, non-toxic, sustainable, and eco-friendly products and though a transition may be challenging, it’s doable. I’ve done extensive research on the impact of fashion and it’s the second most harmful pollutant industry on the planet. I’m an advocate for organic materials, small-batch production, slow fashion as opposed to fast fashion, so when I found you online I was very excited to meet you and see what you’re doing with natural materials and ingredients.
ALG: First of all, I love that you are so knowledgable on this topic! You, know I live on the Border here in Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley and I have seen mountains and mountains of clothing, discarded materials outside of these warehouses and it’s truly shocking. So, I knew I wanted to do Slow-fashion, being very selective sourcing my materials and making it with time and love.
SLTV: Tell us a little bit more about the process of hand dyeing. This is the first time I hear about using Avocado Seeds as a natural dye and I am truly fascinated by this! What is the process like?
ALG: Believe it or not, the Avocado seed is probably the easiest way to achieve a delicate blush pink tone. I’ve used other ingredients like flowers, tree bark, and plants, but those require a moderate and like 2 or 3 additional steps before you put it in the dye bath. The Avocado seed is much easier. I use about 10-15 seeds that I obtain from a local restaurant, bring it to a boil for about an hour to get the desired shade. During that time the fabric is soaking in water so that the fibers can be ready to absorb the dye evenly. Then, I drain out the seeds and any residue from the shells. I place the fabric in the dye bath, which I use this giant 5-gallon pot for. My poor little kitchen has been converted to a bit of a chemistry lab! While the fabric is still wet, I submerge it into the dye bath; you want to make sure that it’s completely soaked. I continue the heat for about an hour, but I leave it overnight to cool and in the morning, I check to see if it’s the color I want and that it’s all even. Then, I take it out and wash it with a PH-Balanced detergent and air dry it but without direct sunlight, and iron it. After all that process, the fabric is ready to be cut and sewed into the pattern.
SLTV: Wow! That is definitely a project! I don’t see myself trying this at home, so I’ll leave it to the professionals like yourself! It really is a labor of love. How do you feel now that you’ve officially launched?
ALG: I can’t tell you how happy I am! I have found my highest purpose and that is to create. I feel the most fulfilled and the most authentic when I’m in creation mode.
SLTV: I feel that on a deep level. What a beautiful sentiment! And you are so naturally talented. So, being a Texan, what are your thoughts on our Fashion Industry. Do you feel that Texas is overlooked?
ALG: Absolutely! We can stop having to go to L.A. or New York, we have the talent here and I’m not just speaking for myself. In general, I’ve seen so many wonderful creatives, stylists, and photographers, and it’s like “Okay, let’s regroup, and let’s put the shine on this beautiful state!” Not only that, I’m a Latina. I want to make sure to represent the Latinx community accordingly, as well.
Find Nourished Threads on Instagram. Every order is custom made, so reach out to Ana Liza via Direct Message to order your Caftan!