Designer Focus || Mehera Blum of Blumera
I’m always on the hunt for special pieces. I love one of a kind items, things I’ve never seen before. When I find them, I always want to know more about the designer doing the fresh and interesting work. It was at a showroom visit in Soho when I came upon the most beautiful handbags. There were gorgeously carved wooden clutches, embroidered satchels, and embellished pouches. I learned that the line is called Blumera and, the designer, Mehera Blum. I got the opportunity to talk to her about her line and was even more struck by her inspiration and motivation.
Blumera is more than just a fashion collection, it’s a collaboration. The intricate designs and embroidery featured on the pieces are based on paintings by a very special artist, Mehera’s own late mother, Laurie Blum. With every collection, Mehera incorporates her mother’s work into her own designs, honoring and creating with her in new and beautiful ways. Of course, I had to learn more, and Mehera was kind enough to let me in to her process. Read on for how Mehera continues to innovate with her unique designs, her dedication to ethical sourcing, and where her inspiration comes from.
Mehera, you collaborate with your mother’s artwork in really unique ways. How do you choose the painting and medium pairings?
I think it’s so magical and fun to conceive new fabrications when making the collections. I like coming up with unexpected, unique ways of making the bags and merging my mother’s art with my own. Poppies! is one of my favorite paintings of my mom and Rose and the Nightingale translates beautifully into this type of work.
What does working with your mom’s artwork in your own artistic form mean to you?
It’s a beautiful internal collaboration between her and I. I can feel her and I can communicate with her while making the collections. It’s a true co-creation.
You work with local and international artisans. What do you look for when partnering with an artisan?
I look for artisans who are very skilled, detail oriented, and will be up for the challenge. Often, I am creating designs that the artisan has never done and says cannot be done. I sit with them brainstorming how we can make it. I am always confident that where there’s a will, there’s a way!
Creating ethically made pieces is important to you. What steps do you take to be mindful of ethical and sustainable practices in your business?
I feel that if I’m going to contribute to the world then I want to contribute beauty, love, value, and pieces of high quality. I believe that begins in conception all the way through to the finished product and into the hands or on the shoulders of our customers. We practice fair trade and believe in supporting artisans directly.
Often the artisans will set their own wages and how and where they would like to work. Many choose to work from their home surrounded by their family and community. Our pieces are very labor intensive and so a lot of time is needed to make them. The term “slow fashion” aptly applies to Blumera! We treat our artisans as artists and consider them a part of our family, and they bring us in as part of theirs. Artisanal handmade trade is a dying form of work and we believe in supporting it in lieu of faceless factories. Putting love into our work from the inception, to the sourcing, to working with our craftsman, to selling and marketing, and to the very end when it is in our customer’s hands is really, really important to the Blumera ethos. Our bags come with inscriptions of love, which we believe carry higher frequencies so that the end wearer and everyone they come into contact with, knowingly or unknowingly, receives a boost. For example, our clutch says: “Real happiness lies in making others happy” - Meher Baba.
You find a lot of inspiration from traveling. What destination has made the biggest impact on you recently?
Most recently, I was making collections in Bali and then India. I have spent a lot of time in both places over the years and they are both nourishing in different ways. In India, on this most recent trip, I spent a few months in the deserts in Rajasthan. That was a beautiful experience. We are all the same wherever we go, though outwardly we appear different. The heart, the love, and the beauty is always what strikes and touches me. Rajasthan delivered this in spades.
This quote is particularly inspiring to me and my work:
“To penetrate into the essence of all being and significance, and to release the fragrance of that inner attainment for the guidance and benefit of others, by expressing in the world of forms truth, love, purity and beauty - this is the sole game which has any intrinsic and absolute worth. All other happenings, incidents and attainments in themselves can have no lasting importance.” - Meher Baba