Maelu is an ethical women’s apparel line, thoughtfully designed in a Portland studio and meticulously handmade in India. Delving deep into traditional artisan techniques, such as block printing, hand weaving, and screen printing, their products are a testament to the charm of authentic craft. Sustainable textiles, infused with natural fibers and vegetable dyes, form the cornerstone of their offerings.
Meghna Dave, a second-generation Indian American, is the soul behind Maelu. A confluence of her rich Indian heritage and inspirations from American fashion trends led her to the creation of this unique brand. After traveling through India, Meghna felt a calling to preserve the vivid art of her culture, blending age-old crafting methods with contemporary patterns and silhouettes.
But Maelu’s commitment goes beyond beautiful textiles. The brand stands firm in its dedication to a responsible business approach, always prioritizing the artisans at the heart of their operations. Collaborating directly with these skilled individuals, Maelu ensures a part of their profits flow back into the artisan communities. Their alliance with an NGO in Gujarat reinforces this commitment, empowering women and advocating against domestic violence.
At the core of Maelu’s creation process is a family of artisans in India, who have honed the art of block printing through generations. Teak wood blocks, hand-carved with precision, are dipped in natural dyes derived from ingredients like jaggery, pomegranate skins, and indigo bush. Every hue and design requires distinct blocks, culminating in a detailed and layered textile art. Once imprinted, the fabrics are sun-dried, steamed, and ironed, ensuring vibrant, lasting colors.