Every collection starts with a story about global traditions rooted in heritage—both ours at Mari & Fatou and the traditions of the artisans with whom we work. Sustainability is also at the heart of our design process. We are committed to sourcing our materials responsibly, minimizing waste, and forming meaningful relationships with the community of artisans and suppliers we partner with to ensure we are manufacturing our products ethically.


We start each collection with a concept and a considered number of ancient techniques that build upon our vision. From there, we begin to draw our original surface designs or collaborate with artists domestically and globally to create bold prints that tell the collection's story. To inspire the final designs in the collection, we research silhouettes and details from our cultural heritage and historical fashion trends. As we build the line, we keep in mind that less is more—we only create a limited number of designs we feel most passionate about.

Fabric Selection

We select responsibly sourced fabrics for everything we make. For 45% of our collection, we use hand-spun, hand-woven Kala cotton, which is a short grain fiber produced using 40% less water than traditional cotton sources. This cotton is organically grown and processed, sourced from our artisan partners in northern India's Kachchh (Kutch) region. We source our viscose fibers from FSC-certified fabric mills and use eco-friendly silk and cotton/silk blends for another 30% of the collection. We use existing stock fabrics for the remaining 25%, which further reduces textile waste by eliminating the need for newly woven fabrics. 

Dyeing : Indigo Dyes

This is a natural dye extracted from the indigo plant. The extraction process is done in four steps. First, a series of tanks are set up to house the indigo at each stage of the process. The first tank is a fermentation vessel in which freshly cut indigo plants are placed. In this tank an enzyme is added to hydrolyze the indican (indican is the chemical found in the leaves which is a precurser to indigo). Once the plant has been broken down a murky yellow liquid remains. The second tank is where the liquid is drained and stirred with paddles to mix it with air. During this process the air oxidizes the indoxyl to indigotin which settles at the bottom of the tank. In the third tank, the settled pigment from the second tank is transferred and heated to stop the fermentation process. The final mixture is filtered to remove impurities and dried to form a thick paste. The indigo dye can then be used to create beautiful ranges of blues.

Dyeing : Vegetable & Spice Dyes

We use these dyes wherever possible in our block and batik printing process as well as for some of our solid colors. These dyes are extracted by immersing the vegetables or spices into boiling hot water and allowing them to steep either for an hour or, to achieve deeper color they can steep until the water is no longer hot. A salt or vinegar fixative must be added to the water which helps the fabric maintain its color.

Dyeing : AZO-Free, Non-Toxic Dyes

These are safe, synthetic dyes used for highly pigmented colors, which are not possible to achieve using natural vegetable and spice dyes


We employ a combination of ancient and contemporary print techniques, all of which use environmentally friendly methods.

Block Printing

A completely hand-done method, block printing is an ancient technique sustained by skilled craftspeople in various parts of the globe. We design a portion of our block prints in our Oakland, California studio. Some are also designed by our artisan partners in their signature style. We take the final designs and have them hand-carved into wood blocks, dipped into natural or azo-free, non-toxic dyes, and stamped onto our hand-selected fabrics. The printed fabrics are then dyed, washed outdoors in a natural water bath, and laid flat to dry in the sun.

Batik Printing

Used in many parts of the world, from Africa to Southeast Asia, batik printing has a centuries-long history. It generally uses a hand-done, wax-resist dye process, though, in parts of Africa, cassava starch, rice paste, or mud are used in place of wax. After designing the prints and carving them into wood, the blocks are dipped in hot wax and stamped onto our fabric. Next, the material is dyed in a cold water bath. This process is repeated for each motif and color. Once the print design has been completed, the fabric is soaked in a boiling water bath to remove the wax, revealing the beautiful pattern beneath. Finally, the printed fabric is laid flat or hung to dry.

Digital Printing

We primarily use digital printing rather than screen printing for our bold signature prints. Digital printing is a more sustainable option for several reasons. Overall, the carbon footprint of a digital machine is much smaller than the rotary printer used in screen printing, which requires multiple printing stations, print blankets, gas dryers, exhaust fans, and color mixers. Individual screens do not have to be cut with each print version, meaning there is much less waste if there are any changes. Digital printing also uses significantly less water and ink in the printing process. Finally, it gives us the flexibility to print in smaller quantities.


We maintain a close, collaborative, and transparent relationship with everyone making our products. We have partnered with a worker-owned factory, and when possible, we collaborate with makers who can work from home to be close to their families. Because we manufacture small, considered quantities, they can produce at a more reasonable rate, subsequently creating high-quality products that will last a lifetime. As a result, we've formed a very tight-knit community of people between our studio and the factory, who have a true sense of connection to each other and a commitment to the work we produce as a team.


In each collection, we collaborate with artisans—whose skills have been passed down through generations—on a variety of hand-done embellishments. To create the embellishments, we blend their original techniques with the creative direction of each collection; however, each maker has 100% free reign over the final embroidery artwork and technique. We use recycled fibers, wood, mirror, and glass for the embellishments.