Monday, October 19

Behind the Brand: Argaman&Defiance

We first spotted Argaman&Defiance in our favorite local shop and instantly became enamored with the naturally dyed garments. From crop tops to wine bottle covers, creator of A&D Lydia Crespo constructs stunning pieces that are hand dyed, making each piece uniquely beautiful. Recently Lydia invited us to visit her private studio and we jumped at the opportunity. We always learn so much when visiting makers in their creative spaces and this certainly was no exception. Her knowledge of natural dyes and love for the craft made our visit with Lydia both inspiring and extremely informative. This rad lady sure is killing it!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your brand.
My name, Lydia, means “The maker of Purple Dye”. No joke. That color was described as Argaman, which translates from Hebrew as crimson. My grandparents lived in Defiance, Missouri. They lived in the middle of a forest at the top of a bluff in the most beautiful house you have ever seen. Windows stretched from the ground to the second floor of the house. Sun drenched the atrium that housed trees stretching as high as the windows. My grandparents showed us how to live respectfully with nature. To love it, care for it, and make sure others have the opportunity to continue to enjoy it.

When I began sourcing my natural dyes extracts it was an easy choice to go with Earthues. Earthues cares for their natural dye plants by making sure they are never over harvested.

Everything in the Argaman&Defiance collection is cut, sewn, naturally dyed, and/or printed by hand in Chicago, IL. We use natural dye extracts that are collected from tree bark, roots, and leaves. The handcrafted process is an artfully crafted skill making each piece unique.

I started my business after receiving the James Nelson Raymond Fellowship after graduating from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). I focused in the fiber and material studies department at SAIC, and I used the fellowship to continue my natural dye training, buy supplies, and a domain name after I graduated.

What does a typical day look like for you?
I am an early riser. I like to enter my studio when it is still quiet outside, with a plan of action for the day. I am working with the natural dyes almost everyday. If I am not doing that, I am working on my website, editing photos (a favorite task), marketing, customer service, designing new products… etc. I just recently hired a studio assistant and an intern. Up until then I have been a one woman show!

If it is a Sunday morning you will find me at my local grocery stores collecting red onion skins to create my green dye. Another favorite task!

What is inspiring you right now? 
This is so cheesy… but I am so inspired by the weather right now. Fall is my absolute favorite time of year.

How do you spend your free time?
I love riding my bike. I live near the newly opened 606 Trail. If I have an hour to spare you will find me biking or walking there.

I am also a Netflix and podcast junkie and will gladly spend an entire day watching or listening.

What is your advice for artists and designers that are thinking of starting their own business?
Your voice, brand, identity will be strengthened with practice. Perfection is not the goal when you are first starting out. Becoming comfortable with constant growing pain is. In time it will become less of a pain and seen as a challenge.

What is your favorite nook/corner/room of your home/studio and why?
I have a desk for the first time EVER in my studio. I could sit there forever.

Always on you…
My phone.

Always in the fridge…
Sparkling water

Least favorite chore?

Thanks Lydia for giving us a glimpse into Argaman&Defiance and sharing a bit about yourself.

Don't forget to stay connected! Like Argaman&Defiance on Facebook and follow them on Instagram and Twitter.

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