It’s amazing how technology and progress have made us take for granted items that used to belong to artisans and cultures. You can see it in so many fields of our lives… Food & cooking, jewelry making, furniture & sculptures, but especially in the fashion industry.
A great example of that would be the art of making silk garments.
Now, with machines, and large companies, silk is almost the new cotton. Though low on quality compared to the past, these manufactured silks are a great wearable accessory- used in all clothing items, and especially in scarves, head wraps, and body wraps.
Discovering the art of SILK
In Shaki, Azerbaijan
With a mother from Florence, and a father from Baku, Elnur is what you’d call- an Italian Azeri.
Born in Azerbaijan, and raised in Italy, Elnur grew up with 2 very strong cultures, with very different mentalities and lifestyles. His fascination with the arts – was unavoidable.
After graduating from the Chicago Art Institute, he decided to move back to Azerbaijan to create his own brand in the fashion industry. However, as he was just returning to his homeland, he decided to first explore the country in a little road trip.
During his travels he came across a family of silk artisans in the city of Shaki, Azerbaijan.
Silk, now made in factories and mass-produced, was once considered a cultural art form.
The silk garments made by machines take hours… While silk garments made following the Azeri silk art can take up to 5 weeks to make (per item).
In Shaki, Elnur met a family of silk artisans who have been making silk for over 4 generations. After finding this art form intriguing, Elnur stayed in Shaki to learn more about this family and their silk-skill, and felt heartbroken when he learned that this family of silk makers, in its 4th generation, might be closing up shop due to financial difficulties.
Remembering the purpose of his visit, to find his brand, Elnur decided to invest in this family, and in their silk scarves and wraps collection, thus creating ShakiSilk.
I am glad to help keep this beautiful tradition alive and to be able to bring out in to the world- the highest quality silk garments you’ll find… From a place that used to produce more than half of the world’s silk in the 20th century. While we now feature mostly silk scarves (that can also be used as head wraps and body wraps), we plan on expanding soon, to start offering high quality artisan silk dresses, night robes, tops, and more.
It’s amazing to see just how quickly a dying art can be reborn – once it is shown the proper attention, financially and culturally. While the trade remains 100% Azeri, Elnur uses his Higher education, and life experience in Italy, to combine this loss art with current fashion trends- to create a brand that is not only trendy- but also inlined with the beauty of the past.
All of the amazing silk garments you’ve seen here are available to purchase from Elnur’s Etsy shop.