Marcella Echavarria’s Noir Handmade expertly ties the traditional art of mud silk to straightforward silhouettes producing deceptively simple garments.
The creation of mud silk garments originates in the Guangdong province of China, regionally linked to the unique organic characteristics of the Pearl River.
Relying on season specific, labor-intensive work, these silks are dyed using the region’s iron-rich mud which binds with the material to create the signature dual-toned black and brown fabric.
While it remained a popular fabric in the region up to the mid-1900s, the silk garments were historically associated with the common people rather than valued as a regal material.
Echavarria’s designs have taken mud silk’s impressive qualities — such as durability, water resistance and antibacterial traits — and posit the material as high fashion.
The material is light and airy, and the textures of the mud-dyed lining simulate the feeling of liquid washing down the wearer’s body.
Echavarria utilizes her keen eye for fabric and finish turning simple silhouettes into elegantly easy pieces that can be worn alone or styled alongside complementary garments.
When not utilizing the classic brown and black colors of mud silk, the fabric’s neutral palette can be enhanced through bold linings of red, green and blue.
In other styles, the silks can be lightly detailed by allowing the colors to peek through the top layer in a crackling effect, creating web-like patterns wrapping around the entire garment.
Noir Handmade’s designs reflect an inspirational use of mud silk and a celebration of such a unique fabric.