Modern Fiber participated in the L.A. Christmas Cash & Carry Gift Show, held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, Oct. 29 – Nov. 1. Hundreds of people attended the three-day event, designed to attract shop owners and retail buyers looking to stock their stores with unique merchandise for the holidays. It was the perfect venue to roll out our first-ever lineup of handmade, imported goods – including handwoven rebozos, scarves, tablecloths and bedspreads from Mexico, and – especially – our trademark Mukasuns made in Afghanistan.
As hoped, the Mukasuns were big sellers. These are slipper socks made by local villagers north of Kabul. They’re designed from uber cozy, upcycled sweater materials received through the generous donation of aid organizations. Sometimes desirable items like these don’t always “fit” with the local culture or environmental needs within a specific population. When this happens the goods become available at low cost inside the country to regional merchants, who then sell to retailers or act as a local supplier.
It’s here where the Afghan artisan steps in, using her hands and experienced rug making techniques to re-imagine the materials in footwear modeled off the traditional slipper socks of Afghanistan’s tribespeople. Once the garment has been deconstructed, the artisan sets about creating a familiar shape for the sock that promotes comfort and warmth. Next comes the more rigorous process of knitting the upper, which incorporates indigenous alpine motifs, along with the artisan’s own interpretation of color combinations (every pair is unique!). The footprint is then matched and a leather sole is stitched to the bottom, producing a complete slipper sock that is both durable and uniquely flexible for indoor or outdoor wear.
People love Mukasuns, since the women have adapted the design to match a more relaxed American lifestyle. Wear them around the house, by the pool, to the park… even on the plane to keep your feet cozy. Because they’re easy to slip on and off, Mukasuns can tuck into a backpack or rest on the back of a chair, ready for cuddling up by the campfire or just kicking back with your friends.
Our first exposure to the world of wholesale was a big success, but we’re also interested in making Modern Fiber products available to everyone – young and old, women and men, and even the toddlers (look for a line of Baby Muks coming out in 2016). In fact, we want to share with everyone the Modern Fiber feeling: comfort, authenticity, and the knowledge that by purchasing one of our hand-picked, high-quality products you’re helping to sustain a traditional form of creativity that can’t be easily manufactured.
Join us for the upcoming Holiday Night Market in Costa Mesa on the evening of November 28. Along with Modern Fiber, a select group of local vendors will be selling their handcrafted goods at special holiday prices. The event will be held on either side of Bristol at The LAB and The Camp – both popular destinations in the SOBECA District. See you there!