Your clothing and accessories choices shouldn’t cause irreversible damage to the environment. That’s where Marici comes in. Here founder Amanda Navaian speaks exclusively to MOJEH about her latest venture…
Luxury accessory labels have long been set in their ways when it comes to methods of craftsmanship. And why not? Their focus on the highest quality materials and finest of leathers have proved a recipe for success. Yet with the current environmental crisis bearing down hard, designers are starting to reshape their practices, setting a course that will be more ethical, responsible and clean. For us as consumers, that means researching a brand properly, understanding its process and materials used, and making greener choices when it comes to our wardrobes. No-one is making that easier than Amanda Navaian.
It’s highly likely you will have heard her name. The brains behind the vibrant and luxurious line of Navai handbags, the Iranian-born designer is currently creating waves in London with her latest venture Marici, a new range of luxury handbags formed in direct response to the continued environmental impact of both the synthetic and traditional leather industries. As the world’s first plant-based luxury accessories brand, Amanda uses vegan material Pinatex in all her handbags – an innovative plant-based leather that ticks all the necessary sustainability boxes. It’s locally sourced and made, mindfully processed and uses local craftsmanship – and buyers are starting to sit up and take notice. “More and more people are looking for alternatives to animal products yet are unaware that synthetic substitutes are extremely bad for the environment,” Amanda tells MOJEH. “With Marici I wanted to shine light on this matter. Turning plants into leather is so exciting and futuristic, and I was instantly drawn to the look of Pinatex, too – it’s extremely rich and luxurious.”
Having moved to London just two and a half years ago, Amanda wasn’t going to let a little thing like a global pandemic stand in her way of success, and today you will find her game-changing bags taking pride of place in both her own store on the prestigious Draycott Avenue and in the Selfridges luxury designer section alongside the likes of Tom Ford, The Row and Valextra. The brand is also part of this month’s Project Earth edit, celebrating sustainable brands which are kind to our planet. “Before a brand can be a part of Project Earth, due diligence is made to ensure they pass the set requirements, and we passed them for all our styles,” explains Amanda. The Pinatex itself (made from waste pineapple leaves and processed into usable materials), plus the fact that each limited-edition handbag is crafted traditionally by artisans in Venice, and that she caps her production numbers to ensure minimal waste all played a part in qualifying for Project Earth.
With substance comes style, and Marici handbags have already been seen draped over the arms of royalty including Lady Amelia Windsor and Her Highness Farah Diba Pahlavi – “she called me personally to congratulate me on the quality of the bag,” enthuses Amanda. And it’s hardly surprising – not only does each style abound with quality, but the bags use pure raw organic silk inside, have hidden magnetic closures, detachable card holders and come complete with hardware crafted in 18k gold-plated brass. What’s more, the material is managed to result in beautiful hues such as gold, silver, pearl white, burgundy, cognac black and a moody grey that complement any ensemble. “My style is classic with a twist, as I wanted to create something that is timeless. My aim is for my bags to be passed down generation after generation,” adds Amanda. “They have the Scandinavian element of being very practical but are versatile too. Each bag can be worn in a number of ways, and most come with two separate 18k gold-plated brass chains that allow the wearer to create different looks.”
Given all that Amanda has achieved since the brand’s launch, it’s hard to believe Marici is only just creeping up to its second anniversary. But if its inception is anything to go by, we have no doubt she will continue to step up and play her part in changing the fashion industry for good. “I believe in small brands and if we truly want to talk about sustainable practices we should focus on supporting them,” she concludes. “It’s the small brands that keep niche luxury alive.” Shop at Selfridges
- Words by Naomi Chadderton