We first met husband-and-wife team Alex and Lilly when they joined the vendor line-up at the We United Show, organized by C.O.F. Studio in New York City. They were kindred spirits with Howard in their ability to connect with their customers and fellow vendors through clothing. Their passion for their work is apparent in the meticulous and dynamic design of their garments. We are excited to be working with Blluemade and look forward to future collaborations.
Blluemade is proud to work with heritage linen mills and family-run businesses and factories in New York City's Historic Garment District. They design the clothing they want to see and wear, and are particularly inspired by vintage apparel across many cultures and areas, especially farmer clothing and workwear. They also have a small but growing collection of historic textiles which they study to understand how natural fabrics and treatments develop with age. This approach is for the purpose of creating modern, useful, and elegant clothing with an eye to history. These are clothes to be worn in every city in the world.
The Blluemade name references their many influences. “Blue” comes from their love of indigo, denim, and blue-dyed textiles from around the world . “Made” speaks to their commitment to ethical production. The extra “l” in blluemade is for linen, which is central to Blluemade's origins.
Lilly and Alex spent years studying art history and philosophy and teaching these subjects at universities. Both of them wrote art criticism. This training and experience gave them an eye for design, form, and color, as well as an appreciation for timeless quality. They became interested in the intersections of fabric with other aspects of their lives, and the connection between natural fabrics like linen with Old Master painting or as wrappings for Egyptian mummies. Linen, they realized, was a platform for so much of what they had appreciated over their lives. In turn, linen became the platform of the clothing they design.
Linen is the oldest textile known to man, a fact which is a constant source of inspiration for Lilly and Alex. This sustainable fabric comes from the flax plant, a versatile plant where every part, from seed to stalk, is usable or biodegradable, including finished cloth. The best linen comes from the fields of Flanders (an area encompassing Northern France and Western Belgium), where Blluemade’s 100% linen fabrics are made, dyed, and finished. They primarily work with a carbon-neutral mill that has been family-owned for five generations and oversees every step of the process, from flax farming to the finished bolts of linen. Their linen is made from long staple fibers, meaning the fabric is naturally wrinkle resistant, strong, and never itchy. Their garments are designed in Brooklyn and produced in New York City’s historic Garment District in a factory owned and run by women.
The 100% linen they use is certified by the Masters of Linen, a registered mark of excellence promoting textile companies that produce fabric entirely in Europe, from field to yarn to fabric. Their Belgian linen is always hypoallergenic, naturally wrinkle-resistant, and easy to care for.
Beginning in Autumn Winter 2018, they have expanded into fabrics from Japan and Belgium which blend linen with other great natural fibers. They are using silk-linen blends from the linen mill we work with in Belgium that have a luxurious feel and elegant appearance, as well as wool-linen blends from Japan that are warm yet lightweight, and very hardy, and a new cotton-ramie-linen blend typewriter cloth from Japan that is light and a little stiff, like a more luxurious canvas, and has a tight weave and gentle slub that makes this fabric extremely distinctive and beautiful to wear.
As they grow, Blluemade will continue to experiment with and expand their range of natural fabrics as well as the global inspirations for their designs. American-production, particularly in New York City's historic Garment District, is at the core of their work. With these dual missions, they hope to embody a New American Tradition of garment-making.