Today, Merida announced their first product launch of 2010, which includes six new items created through a collaborative partnership with a sustainable co-op farming community in Brazil. The three unique designs include Merida’s first unbacked rug, which represents another step forward in Merida’s 30-year sustainability journey.
Responding to customer demands, these new items will be offered at lower wholesale price points – between $4.05 and $5.25 per square foot – while still maintaining Merida’s long tradition of high-quality, innovative textiles with an intriguing story.
The rural co-op farming community in Brazil where these rugs are made is a model of sustainability. Through strategic management of production, conservation of natural resources, and community organizing, the group has helped to increase sisal production, preserve the ecosystem, advance the technical capabilities of farmers and weavers, and provide educational and social opportunities for members of the community.
Each of the three new designs is made from 100% sisal. Mandacaru features a heavy herringbone weave structure on both sides, making it dimensionally stable enough to remain unbacked. The design, which is available in two colors, is named for a cactus plant that grows alongside the sisal-producing agave plants. Goats on the co-op farm are fed a high-protein mixture of agave and mandacaru pulp that allows them to produce dairy products for the local market.
Paraiba is a rippled, lofty weave in a soft shade of grey that uses varied yarn weights to create an organic, dimensional pattern. First woven on a handloom at our Fall River facility, this design was then translated onto mechanical looms in Brazil. We named it after the state in the arid, rural area of northeast Brazil that is one of the largest sisal-producing regions in the country.
Valente is a simple boucle weave structure in three rich earth tones. Each colorway is created by mixing and twisting different yarn colors to achieve a beautiful heathered effect. The heavy rib/cord structure allows the heathered yarns to shine on the face of the rug. The tiny town of Valente is home to the farmers who grow, process and weave the sisal for these rugs. The co-op also includes a school, cultural center, computer lab, library and marketplace that are all supported by the sisal trade.
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