Putting People and Our Planet First: An Interview with Mola Sasa
With all our collaborations, we hope to shine a light on the world of quality craftsmanship and bring everyone one step closer to mindful consumption. Here’s to more brands that put people and our planet first!
Empowering artisans and hand-made goods that also care about the environment is one of our missions at Gabfoods and it has been incredible to work with a brand that shares the same values as us. We thought of different ways to engage conversations and keep promoting the type of information, so we will be sharing interviews with brands we have collaborated with, so you get to know them and the project behind, while discovering amazing ways to make your tables both fashionable and sustainable.
This week we had the opportunity to interview Yasmin Sabet, founder of Mola Sasa, and dive a little deeper into the world of sustainability and artisanship. This remarkable brand collaborates and works closely with communities of local artisans in Colombia. It is through artisans and artisanship that she believes we will leave a more meaningful impact and world, one that is sustainable and more responsible.
We hope you'll enjoy the lecture, and let us know your thoughts on the comments below!
- All the collections available rely heavily on local artisans from Colombia, how does Mola Sasa work?
We are lucky to draw inspiration from a country such as Colombia that is very rich in artisanal crafts. So finding new communities to work with is always our starting point. We look for artisans that could benefit from an intervention and that have an interesting aesthetic and offering, and we begin the creative process. That is how we started with the Guna Dule women. Not all artisans are indigenous, and they all have their specific crafts and traits, so it’s a great laboratory and learning process for everyone involved.
- For the Indira Orange Tie-Dye products you created for Gabfoods, could you describe the process of how the products are made?
The Kankuamo artisans are an indigenous community that lives in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta; a beautiful snow peak with the Caribbean as a backdrop. It is truly a magical place. This was an interesting process because this community’s expertise is the “fique” mochilas. Cross-body bags that they weave from the agave plant fibers and then dye with natural plants. We took this tincturing know-how and wanted to experiment on fabrics to see the results. I was very inspired by my cousin’s wife: an artist who had done extensive research on color from plants and seeds in the Amazon. It had been translated into different mediums, so I already had a starting point for Mola Sasa. The next step was to understand the color possibilities and to test some samples, which is what we did for an earlier project with a client in Canada. The results were spectacular, and we wanted to take the idea further, so we developed these tie-dye designs for Gabfoods. We had to teach Indira, the community leader, to tie in specific ways to get the results and explain the process of adding colors in layers, and to this, she brought their knowledge of plants to give the right colors.
There are other incredible outcomes of this collaboration: given the work they did with Mola Sasa in this case, they realized that tincturing is a great source of income. We had an incredible conversation with them and decided that a percentage of all items' sales we make with them, will be used towards building a tincturing center for them.
To me, that which is a perfected skill and handmade seems to be a real luxury in today’s world. Sadly, many artisanal crafts around the world are dying because artisans don’t have access to commercial channels or sources of income. Part of the work we do is to showcase the work we do with Colombian artisans to the world and in this way create formal work for the artisans (many cases are women).
We try to communicate this beyond the pieces themselves -they are almost all made from different artisanal materials- but also by telling the story on all of our channels, highlighting the different communities that we work with. Every design we do begins with a journey that takes us through different regions of Colombia and tells a story of their people and culture. We hope that this transcends in everything we do, in our aesthetic, and definitely in our mission.
I moved to Colombia about 9 years ago after living abroad for the larger part of my life, and at that moment an opportunity to work with artisans and design came up. It was the beginning of this wonderful connection we, at Mola Sasa, have with artisans and communities which has allowed us to do all of this awesome work. So in the end it wasn’t so much that I decided to create a brand and more a sort of coincidence that took flight.
We are always looking for brands that have a strong identity and sense of purpose, so Gabfoods seemed to be a perfect fit. Gabriela contacted me a while back and told me about her amazing project, and it was the beginning of what, I hope, will be a great collaboration for both brands! It was a great opportunity to do something new as well and get out of our comfort zone, which I love because it forces us to think about new ideas. For me, collaborations are a laboratory of ideas and I really love them for this.
Well, I also think that people now are more and more interested in knowing more about the things they are buying. People are looking more towards responsible fashion, so I think, although people still consume fast fashion, there is also a genuine interest in smaller brands and this is where we come in. That is our differentiator, and by telling a true and compelling story, we have managed to create what you call a “sustainable approach to table fashion.”
There is social responsibility and then environmental responsibility, all under the umbrella of sustainability; we try to work on both fronts at the same time. In this sense, working with artisans is interesting because many of them work with various natural materials. This has allowed us at Mola Sasa to further investigate how we can be of help to them, for example, to source materials responsibly, or reforest and care for their surroundings. However, we must continue to find ways to be more circular every day.
Mola Sasa seeks to empower artisans, especially women in vulnerable communities, so they can have dignified employment and a decent source of income and; and young girls a formal education.
It’s so hard to choose, everything is SO good!!! So I want to try it all. But my favorite is the Indian Breakfast Crêpe. I can eat that all day!