I can pretty much count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I go shopping at retail. It’s usually when I’m in a bigger city that has the type of high-end stores that you are not going to find in Western North Carolina. In all fairness, I’m usually not shopping for real clothing, but rather, for ideas. It was when I was in Charleston, SC recently that I became aware of Péro. I’d never heard of the brand, but I was so impressed by the beauty of the textiles that I wanted to see more.
Péro was started in 2009 by Aneeth Arora, and from the beginning, craft has been the driving force of the line. All the fabrics are hand-loomed of natural fibers, and the garments are embroidered and finished by hand. It’s very labor intensive, the very opposite of what you might think garments made in India would be. This type of craft, quality, and skill is not cheap. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the beauty of one indigo coat with embroidery made me almost ignore the price tag and cave into my desire to own that object.
But cooler heads prevailed, and I left the shop without the coat. But I could not forget about Péro, so when I returned home I began to read all I could find out about the line. Best of all is Péro’s Instagram account, where employees and their stories are regularly featured. They tell where and how materials are sourced, and how they work with artisans across India.
In all the reading and looking, I finally found a garment that is really in tune with the types of things I like to wear. Yes, I adore embroidery, but I’m really more of a stripes and solids lover, and the embroidered pieces are more than I wanted to pay. So the top above seemed like a good idea, especially since it was deeply discounted. I knew before I bought it that I’d be altering the sleeves, as that much fabric in the crook of my elbow would drive me crazy.
However, when the shirt arrived, I was shocked at just how over-sized it was. If you can’t read my yardstick, it reads 30″ across, for a bodice measurement of 60″! The altering job just got bigger, but I was confident I could made this work.
And I did. I apologize for the silly shirt on the floor photo, but I’m recovering from a week-long respiratory infection, and trust me, no photos of me are allowed at present. But I do promise a picture of me wearing this before the summer is over. It’s just too cute not to share. I cut enough from the sides that I actually have enough fabric to make pockets. I’m going to wear it a few times before I decide if I need them.
So, now let’s look at what makes Péro so special.
The bottom edge is faced with a cotton fabric, and then the facing is hand hemmed. The stripe is linen. The care instructions call for dry clean only, probably due to the mix of fabrics, but I carefully washed this before beginning the alterations and there was no shrinkage in either fabric.
Even the labels are hand embroidered, as is the red hanging loop.
The seams are machine stitched, and all seams are flat fell or French seams.
Even the buttons are special. They are made by a local ceramic artist, and are hand-molded and hand-painted. Each one is different. And see if you can tell that even the buttonholes are hand-stitched.
We can’t all afford these incredible embroidered confections, but we can appreciate the beauty of them. We can see hope for the garment industry in that there are some brands that are working toward fair treatment of employees, and who promote skillful work.
Update: The little heart and flowers in the top photo were attached to the label of the shirt. The pouch holds extra buttons.