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PROUDLY INTRODUCING: HAND-LOOMED LINENS YOU'LL LOVE!

This June, we were thrilled to release our first line of solid-colored hand-loomed linens, produced in collaboration with team Sasha (pictured above)!  Woven by India's oldest certified fair-trade artisanal weaving cooperative, these textiles turned out so beautifully, we decided to expand this partnership with new colors, textures and techniques!

Over the last several months, we've been working together on some gorgeous textiles, starting with the colorfully rich (and super cozy) beauties below.  Each of these fabrics is a hand-loomed blend of cotton and linen, and takes about 4 months to complete. (While the fabric was produced in India, the dresses were all proudly stitched in Kenya by our team.) This fabulous 70% linen/30% cotton blend both creates subtle texture and movement within the weave, and also ensures that your dresses will be super easy to wash and wear -- they're wrinkle resistant, durable, and as an added bonus, will drape a bit more gracefully when worn.

We hope that you will love them as much as we do, and that they'll bring both joy and color to your world!

Holiday Reading List

 

We're book lovers here at Zuri, and we love that so many of you in our community are, too! This holiday season, what better gift to share than a really good read? We've compiled a list of Zuri writers that we'd love you to join us in supporting and celebrating, and we're highlighting local women and/or BIPOC owned bookstores, where you can find these books and many more!  We'd also love your recommendations, so if you're an author or have a bookstore that you'd love us to include, drop us a line at heyzuri@shopzuri.com.  (Pictured above, clockwise from top left: Edwidge Danticat, Monique Truong, Tracy K. Smith and Zadie Smith.)

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Bobo Yéyé: Belle Époque in Upper Volta

Started in Burkina Faso in 1964 by Kone Idrissa, Volta Jazz became a symbol of global inspriation, fusing Cuban influences with west African funk. This all-star compilation album is a nostalgic must-listen--it's an especially perfect soundtrack for an evening spent cooking, as it will definitely turn up the heat! 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE READING // Deacon King Kong by James McBride

Set in Red Hook, Brooklyn in 1969, Deacon King Kong reminds us what we love about New York, and about humanity itself.  The story details the tailspin of Deacon Cuffy ("Sportcoat") after the loss of his wife, through his interactions with an ensemble cast of truly memorable characters, and is told in way that is quick, witty and humorous. It is absolutely worth the read! 

 

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING // An Interview with Edwidge Danticat

We're going deep in the archives for this interview with one of our favorite authors, Edwidge Danticat. If you're a fan of her novels, you'll love watching this conversation with Marlene Racine-Toussaint, the founder of the Multicultural Women's Press.

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Just For the Holidays!

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // All My Relations with Matika Wilbur and Adrienne Keene

We're so excited about this podcast! Hosted by visual storyteller Matika (Swinomish and Tulalip) and writer and activist Adrienne (Cherokee Nation), this program explores what it means to be a Native person in our world today.

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE READING // Dirty Kitchen by Jill Damatac

Through recipes, Damatac tells the story of her family and their journey to America, and the history of Filipinos and their shared experience of colonialism and fragmentation. We can't recommend enough taking a few minutes to read this gorgeous essay!

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Talé by Salif Keita

Salif Keita's 20th album is JUST full of surprises. Known for his incredibly soulful voice, Keita worked with producer Philipe Cohen Solal (of the Paris-based Gotan project) to create this experimental mix. Collaborations range from Bobby McFerrin's scat vocals to a rap infusion by Roots Manuva. While there's not a ton of cohesion, each song is a special work in it's own right.  

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Thankful for YOU!

We have so much to be thankful for this year, and despite all the unexpected turns, we're grateful to have you, our community, our guiding beacon. We've had to say goodbye (for now) to some incredible women as we've downsized our retail teams, and we're deeply grateful to the women who have stayed on, keeping our doors open, our stores warm and welcoming, our packages moving and all of us connected to one another. We're thankful for each individual on our production team, from Stephen who handles the prints hot off the press in Thika, to Josephine who makes sure that each piece of fabric makes it from Dar, to Edwinah who makes sure that each flawlessly folded dress arrives in NYC in perfect condition. Finally, we're thankful for you -- our customers, our community, the reason we get to do the work we do, our inspiration and our support. While we may not be celebrating the holidays as we always have, we hope that this year will be an opportunity to find joy in change, warmth in relationships new, old, close and distant, and always, always gratitude for each other.

WHAT WE'RE THANKFUL FOR // Great reads by Nicole Dennis-Benn

One of our all-time favorite authors and an inspiring member of our Zuri sisterhood, Nicole Dennis-Benn's novels Patsy and Here Comes the Sun remain staples on my bookshelf that I frequently lend out to friends and revisit often in my memory. Powerful stories about women navigating across cultures, these novels will transport you.

 

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // CYMANDE

Pronounced sah-mahn-day, Cymande was a funk group based in the UK with members from several Caribbean nations that performed in the early 1970's. The band name derives from a calypso word for "dove", which symbolizes peace and love. Fun fact: for those of you who remember the song "The Score" by The Fugees, you'll immediately recognize sampling from track 6 on this album, aptly called "Dove".

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Last batiks of 2020!

It's such a pleasure to have the opportunity to work with Edwina and her team in Accra, Ghana, to develop these fabrics, and we're thrilled to share these new prints with you!

In the photos above, you can see the wax designs for Confetti and Valencia. Starting with plain white cotton fabric, wax is applied using a stamp to create these designs. Once the wax dries, the fabric is soaked in a dye bath for its first layer of color. Both of these prints go through multiple separate dye baths, for Dashing, the first is red and after wax is removed and another wax pattern is added, it goes into a dye bath for orange and then pink. For Valencia, the first is to dye the pink and the second is to dye the orange!

Here you can see Operabea preparing the Valencia fabric for its wax removal. It's already been dyed pink, and now the wax will be warmed and removed before going into an orange dye bath!

 

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Daby Touré

Born in Maruitania and raised in Senegal, Daby Touré's music combines traditional African and western folk music with influences of jazz, reggae and soul. This is one of our favorite albums, particularly the 4th track "Yaw", which feels tender and ethereal but powerful all at the same time. We hope you'll love it as much as we do!

 

 

WHAT WE'RE READING // THE EL PASO EXPERIMENT A Public Defender’s Lonely Fight Against Family Separation by Melissa del Bosque

This deeply researched story traces one of the earliest cases brought to court to fight against the government's zero tolerance border family separation policy. While maddening and painful to read, I can't recommend this piece enough if you're interested in understanding how this policy was implemented and how one lawyer tried to fight it.

 

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING // Jordan Casteel at the New Museum - Virtual Tour

We're super excited about this show at the New Museum of Jordan Casteel's work, and while we're not able to visit in person, this virtual tour, narrated by the artist, is incredible! Join us for a visit to the museum :)

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Customer Spotlight: Authors!

The incredible women in our Zuri community never cease to inspire us, and we wanted to highlight a few of you today who are using the power of the written word to change our lives and world for the better. 

We're just one week away from an election where our values and democracy are on the ballot. We can't emphasize enough how important it is to vote, encourage those around you to vote, and to think of women like Tricia, Gina and LaNitra and so many in our community who are taking action to fight for social justice, equity and inclusivity for all of us.

Tricia Elam Walker is an award-winning author, attorney and educator. Her first children’s book, Nana Akua Goes to School, was published in June and it's fabulous! If you're looking for a new read for a little one or yourself, look no further!

 

 

 

Every time Gina Apostol stops by Bleecker St, we all drop what we're doing to admire her wild in the best way outfits. She's a celebrated author and a true style inspiration! Gina's fourth novel, Insurrecto, was named by Publishers' Weekly one of the Ten Best Books of 2018. Her third book, Gun Dealers' Daughter, won the 2013 PEN/Open Book Award. Her first two novels, Bibliolepsy and The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata, both won the Juan Laya Prize for the Novel (Philippine National Book Award). Confronting colonialism and colliding histories, Gina is a fearless, powerful storyteller.

LaNitra Berger is an academic, social justice advocate, and inclusive excellence professional. She recently edited a book on Social Justice and International Education, and her monograph, Irma Stern and the Racial Paradox of South African Modern Art, is coming out next month. We encourage you to check out her work!

 

 

 

Let's VOTE // Share your pics!

With Election Day one week away and early voting already started, little makes us more proud than the thought of our sisterhood turning out at the polls in force to VOTE!

Follow these steps for a 10% off code on any upcoming order!

1) Throw on your favorite Zuri.
2) VOTE! (at home or at the polls)
3) Take a selfie of yourself at the polls or with an "I VOTED" sticker on your dress.
4) Post the pic on Instagram + tag @zurikenya.
5) Check your Instagram DMs for a code for 10% off any purchase!

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Our Body Politic with Farai Chideya

Our Body Politic is hosted by journalist Farai Chideya and explores the impact that Black women and women of color have had on the election and politics today. Through in-depth conversations with activists, politicians, and academics Chideya brings us insightful analysis and perspectives on today's most pressing issues.

 

 

WHAT WE'RE READING// How to Spot (and Fight) Election Misinformation from ProPublica

Misinformation (incorrect information shared by people who believe it to be true) and disinformation (deliberately created with the intent to cause harm) are playing a huge role in this year's election, and this article from Propublica breaks down what this means, how to spot it and what you can do about it.

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Bembeya Jazz National

In the aftermath of Guinean Independence in 1958 and the encouragement of national pride, several bands sprang up, one of the best known of which is Bembeya Jazz National.  A rich sound with 7 original musicians, give yourself some space to get wrapped up and whisked away!

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