Dressed in hand-dyed shibori leggings, Natasha Nargis began presenting some of her newest designs: uniquely hand-dyed shirts, upcycled clothing and statement pieces made using fabric she wove by hand.

Nargis’ career began in 1970 when she had a spontaneous opportunity to study weaving with rug maker Kay Sekimanchi in San Francisco. She learned the craft using belts and sashes on an Inkle loom — the same machine she uses to make textiles in Santa Fe today.

Nargis said she was drawn to fashion at an early age and followed the thread from rug making to creating handmade clothing, an increasingly rare art form in the age of fast fashion and mass-produced products.

“I got interested in weaving because I saw woven things and thought they were beautiful — things like Native American and Persian rugs,” she said. “My mom, when I was young, would make all my clothing, so I was always around fabric and clothing.”

Another area Nargis’ work focuses on is her shibori dyed clothing. Shibori dyeing is an ancient Japanese technique that involves folding clothing in different ways before dyeing it to create beautiful patterns. Her newest works include socks, silk scarves and leggings — some hand-woven and others upcycled from clothes bought online and at thrift stores in order to make more affordable products.

“I think fast fashion is not good for the environment, but not everyone can afford high-end,” she said.

Nargis is also a champion for supporting businesses and talent in Santa Fe. Patterns for her clothing sometimes come from local artists, such as fashion designer and tailor Dawn Bacon.

In December 2016, Natasha decided to open her own boutique, where she sold her work and created custom orders. The downtown location provided an avenue for socializing, hosting cocktail parties and having fashion shows to celebrate her art and the fashion industry in Santa Fe.

However, being a new business owner wasn’t easy. Shortly after the shop’s four-year anniversary, Nargis decided to focus on her website and online store, natashasantafe.com. She says it has been doing exceptionally well as the pandemic has heightened the demand for online stores.

She hopes she can inspire young artists to pursue what they are passionate about, no matter how out of the box their work is.

“I encourage all Santa Fe teens to go out there and try something new. You never know, you might just end up loving it.”

Valeria Ramirez is a sophomore at Santa Fe High School. Contact her at ramirezvaleria2105@gmail.com.

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