Meet the Makers 05: Ilano Design









I am not certain where I first saw a photo of a woven laptop case with a bird on it, but I remember being quite drawn to it. It was such a unique and colorful piece and it looked more like something decorative for one’s home. I looked up the designer some time ago and found out she also designed a line of woven bags and pillows—and it was then I started to recognize the weaving patterns. Turns out the textiles are handwoven by women artisans in the Oaxaca region of Mexico—a place very dear to my heart, as I had once traveled there to meet many of these artisans myself and returned with so many gorgeous woven pieces for my home. The designer partners with these indigenous weavers, providing them with ample living wages as well as a platform to blend their craft with modern design appealing to a broader global fashion audience.

I stopped by Roseli Ilano’s home studio in Oakland several weeks ago and had a chance to meet this sweetest designer. She is just as bright and colorful as the pieces she designs. Her stories, her travels and her work experience hit very close to home. Perhaps our paths in life may have crossed a few times before meeting. And of course I had to ask about the bird case. “Do you watch Portlandia?” she asks. And then I laughed and remembered the “put a bird on it” episode:)

Roseli’s first collection was inspired by Oaxaca and her next collaboration will be with artisans in the Cordillera region of the Philippines. You can find her pieces online and at some of my favorite Bay Area shops, including Neighbor in Oakland and Little Paper Planes in SF.

ILANO Design

* All images by me, Leslie.