3 Questions for Maiyet’s Kristy Caylor

Maiyet’s alternative approach to luxury is helping the women’s brand carve a new niche in the market.

Co-founded in 2011 by fashion industry veteran Kristy Caylor, human rights lawyer Paul van Zyl and social entrepreneur Daniel Lubetzky, the label promotes craftsmanship in developing countries by partnering with local artisans and cultivating relationships within the communities to foster growth and employment. 

In the past few years, the ready-to-wear, footwear, handbag and jewelry firm has grown to include more than 30 employees, each deeply committed to the brand’s globally conscious mission.

Together with Nest, a nonprofit that helps build artisanal businesses in underdeveloped countries, Maiyet has been able to establish training programs that educate workers about craftsmanship and working with high-quality materials.

The materials for each collection are locally sourced. For example, the firm uses embroidery from Ahmedabad, India; horn pieces and metal work from Kenya; and hand-woven silks from Varanasi, India.

Here, Caylor, president and creative director of the firm, offers more insight into the brand’s mission.

1. How has the brand grown since its launch?
Business has been growing steadily in all markets. We will be in close to 40 doors by fall ’13 with distribution in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Russia, Kuwait, Singapore, Japan and Korea.

2. Have you seen first-hand the impact of your mission in your partner countries?
 Absolutely. Our artisans’ skills have improved, and as our business has grown, so has theirs. With the help of Nest, we have helped our artisans in Kenya move into a new workshop and just announced that we are building a facility in Varanasi, designed by David Adjaye.

3. Do you have any special projects planned in the future?
 We are always exploring collaborations with talented filmmakers, musicians, artists, etc. We are hoping to announce an exciting artist [partnership] in the new few months.

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