A Hue Apart: Daughters of Fragmentario

I need y’all to know Fragmentario… because it is beautiful, like the future of those who dare trust a heart to power their dreams. In 2016, designer Maria Elena Pombo quit her big brand  name job (thanx gods!) and founded this independent natural dyes studio in Brooklyn. Since then, it has been challenging how we experience DIY fashion through education and style. I first covered Fragmentario in my Paris fashion week report for Forbes and have loved insta-following their work. Who would not be at least curious about hands-on workshops like “Spices of the New and Old World: Dyeing with Turmeric and Annatto” or “Rethinking Circularity: Dyeing with Avocado Seeds & Onion Skins” or the upcoming “Colors of Autumn: Dyeing with Walnut Shells and Pinecones” at Brooklyn Botanic Gardens?! I bet the Future is safer in a basket of onion skins than on any microchip. Fashion divorced from nature is a style simulacra. This makes the brand’s semi-couture garments true luxury real. Fragmentario: Made in Humanity.


Fragmentario staged their Rosa Terráqueo collection at A/D/O as part workshop, part expo presentation, part performance… and the photos made me connect cultural & emotional dots way-way back to womenfolk as guardians, practitioners and bequestors of sacred and practical knowledge in communities across history… oh and that singing sirens scene in O Brother Where Art Thou 🙂 However, a reference that struck me as most powerful is the seminal 1991 film Daughters of the Dust by director Julie Dash. This piece of American cinema history is on Netflix, so queue it up! I remembered being moved by it in college and happy “reading” it in Beyoncé’s epochal Lemonade. Anything rooted in heritage greater than hype is to be savored and treasured. I look forward to seeing Maria Elena Pombo develop her craft gift!


O Brother Where Art Thou (2000)
Daughters of the Dust (1991)
Lemonade (2016)
Fragmentario_SS'19 (1)
Fragmentario (2018)

P.S. I debated the title for this post. I kept the word hue in it despite rolling my own eyes at that being in a dyeing headline. However, definition of hue is “the degree to which a stimulus can be described as similar to or different from stimuli that are described as red, green, blue and yellow.” To me, this also describes Fragmentario to a major degree to which it is different from its Brooklynite fashion scene peers. This is the ever fashion! I encourage y’all to follow and support Fragmentario!

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