For some fashion lines, it’s enough to create beautiful clothes. For Maiyet, the company’s mission goes way beyond what we wear.

Last night at the Indian Consulate in New York, Maiyet founders Paul van Zyl and Kristy Caylor were joined by hosts David Adjaye, Wendy Schmidt, and Freida Pinto to toast the Varanasi collection, a capsule collection of hand-loomed silks created by artisans in Varanasi, India. The collection is just the beginning, though; the company plans to open a silk-weaving facility in Varanasi, designed by architect Adjaye. The facility, which will break ground this fall, will not only provide a place to preserve and foster the ancient craft, but also create a community center that will bring together Muslim and Hindu artisans, offer social services, and promote a healthy and successful working environment. The Varanasi facility is being built in collaboration with Nest, a nonprofit that promotes artisan businesses through training and business development.

It’s a cause that Indian-born Pinto, as well as guests like Christiane Amanpour, Seth Meyers, Rula Jebreal, and Barneys’ own Daniella Vitale, Charlotte Blechman, Tomoko Ogura, and Dennis Freedman can’t help but support.

“It’s not sustainable if you invest in this infrastructure for people who make things that nobody buys,” van Zyl told Women’s Wear Daily of the project. “The real power of the model is saying that what these artisans need is a little bit of training and support. Then Maiyet will support them by buying from them and then the circle of philanthropy will kick in.”

Barneys New York is proud to exclusively offer the Maiyet Varanasi collection. Discover more about the hand-weaving technique in the video below, peruse the glamorous party pictures, then shop the collection—from Varanasi to you.


Photos: BFA