Refined Luxury | A Better World
I know silk scarves. The thrift shop I manage is currently inundated with dozens of lovely silk scarves in every floral and stripe. But I’ve never felt a scarf as luxurious as Emma Suzanne.
I know that sounds like an overstatement, and I’m not claiming to know the luxury market all that well, but for the price point and ethical standpoint, Emma Suzanne scarves are a cut above the rest.
The Emma Suzanne scarf line is woven on handlooms in Cambodia using local silk and natural dyes, with an aim to incorporate organic cotton into the line in the near future. The handlooming process means Emma Suzanne’s scarves are nearly zero waste, and since silk is a natural material, the products are also biodegradable.
Artisans work in their homes on their own time, and receive fair wages based on hours worked and adjusted based on local incomes to ensure that the broader infrastructure is left intact. In the brand’s words:
Emma Suzanne is a value-based business: we value beauty, we value ethical and sustainable fashion and we value happy and sustainable village lifestyles. Being handmade, no items are ever exactly the same. By purchasing our products, you own a unique creation.
Cambodia has been known for its Khmer Golden Silk for hundreds of years. It is a delicate, slow-developing product that was nearly wiped out due to wars that decimated the silk worms’ ecosystem of mulberry trees in the 1960s and 70s. Co-ops and family-owned silk farms are working to cultivate and preserve this heritage product so that it can be enjoyed for generations to come. Emma Suzanne uses this specialty silk in some of their scarves, including the lovely River Runs Scarf in Burnt Amber I’m wearing here.
As soon as I took the River Runs organza scarf outside, it began to dance in the light breeze, much to my delight. It’s smooth and lightweight, but surprisingly warm, and the peach and amber hues are the accent colors I’m drawn to right now. They go with my hair and offset all the blue in my closet. The most surprising thing about the scarf, though, is that it’s only about $50 USD. A splurge, yes, but at this price point you could justify getting it for a loved one as a gift (or with your Christmas money!) without reservations.
Emma also sent me the Luxe Khmer Silk Scarf in Indigo so I would have a chance to sample a range of styles. I love the deep blue of indigo – I was on an indigo dyeing kick a couple months ago and was tempted to dye everything in my closet with it – and the raw silk is a bit more substantial than the organza, so it creates a different aesthetic and is probably a bit better to use as a barrier from the cold in winter months. The particular tie dye on this scarf reminds me of fossilized seashells, a nod to my Floridian upbringing collecting shells on the beach and looking for fossils in the woods.
This scarf is a bit pricier, at about $67.00 USD (I’m converting from AUD), but the quality means it could be passed down as a family keepsake. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to think about those sorts of things. I want whatever offspring I have to be able to inherit a few key pieces to remember me by. Maybe these scarves could be it.
In a world of fast, cheap, throwaway goods, people don’t pass things down as often, and I think it’s a great loss.
Ethical Details: Dress and Sweater – Everlane; Leggings and Boots – thrifted; Scarves – c/o Emma Suzanne
Undertaking the Dressember challenge and finding ways to incorporate review products into the limited wardrobe I currently have has been a surprisingly fun and fruitful experience. I wouldn’t have considered wearing a sweater under a dress, but the encroaching winter has made it necessary to layer up. This bright pink sweater accents both scarves well. If you donate $10 today, I’ll write you a custom haiku!
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