To quote Zuri’s About Us page, “Like any great love story, we knew at first site.” That’s exactly how I felt when I stumbled upon Zuri’s Bleecker Street outpost and couldn’t help but pop in to check out the colorful patterns and beautiful greenery that were calling to me through the window. Lucky for me, co-founder Sandra was manning the shop and, upon my word-vomiting sentiments of adoration and a million subsequent questions, she began filling me in on the story behind Zuri’s dresses.
#JustOneDress is the hashtag @zurikenya uses on all their social media posts because the line offers just that: only one dress! Featuring 3/4 length sleeves, a Mandarin collar, hidden buttons running down the front, and pockets(!!), this one dress style is constructed from dozens of ever-changing wax print fabrics primarily sourced from the markets of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The inspiration for the line came from Sandra’s experience of having a dress made for herself while living in Kenya. Soon after, Sandra met Ashleigh, a fellow American living and working in Kenya, and the two realized that producing a line of dresses based on Sandra’s design was a viable business idea.
Flash forward a few years and Zuri has a brick-and-mortar location on New York City’s retail haven Bleecker Street, which opened this past August. The store also carries an assortment of straw bags and beaded necklaces from Africa that pair effortlessly with the brand’s signature dress.
In accordance with their mantra Look good. Feel good. Do good., Zuri has partnered with organizations that help create ethical job opportunities for the residents of Kenya. Zuri’s team of skilled makers work out of a fair trade, eco-friendly factory and are provided with important benefits such as daytime childcare.
To show you how versatile #justonedress truly is, I revisited Sandra and the Zuri store last week to style three of my favorite prints three different–yet equally stylish–ways for fall.
AS A JACKET
First off, can we talk about this shrimp print?!!! How fun! Being that Zuri’s dresses have a little bit of weight to them, they are perfect as lightweight coat before the cold temperatures start rolling in. (We might be too late now! 42 degrees this weekend – what?!) Like all of Zuri’s patterns, they mix easily with other prints, so a graphic tee and bold striped tote make this a super stylish yet super comfortable look for, say, running errands on the weekend. Before Prawn Dress, $145. Straw bag, similar here.
BELTED WITH TIGHTS
Dressing up for a nice dinner or important meeting doesn’t have to be boring, as proven by this look here. To keep things sleek, I paired this adorable parrot print dress with black opaque tights and leather booties, but then brought the fun with a colorful belt and, of course, tassel earrings from The Neon Bazaar. I call this my “Shabbat Chic” look. Dos Amigas Dress, $145.
OVER SKINNY PANTS
Dresses over pants is a total comeback trend this fall. It seemed like every editor rocked this pairing at September’s New York Fashion Week. It truly is the perfect fall combo, keeping you warm while looking oh-so-stylish. I was drawn to this dress’s teal and orange combo and kitchy USB cord print–so fun! I topped off the look with a floppy felt hat (RIP American Apparel) and strands of Zuri’s African beads. Plugged In, $145. Beaded necklaces, available in store.
Guys, this is Sandra! Isn’t she the cutest?! And how great is her Shadows dress? A more subtle but equally cool and graphic option. I simply love the combo of earthy cream and brown.
That’s a wrap! I had the best time learning about the Zuri Kenya story and playing dress-up at Zuri’s dreamy store. Thank you so much to Sandra and team for having me!! You can visit Zuri at 363 Bleecker Street, NYC; online at shopzuri.com; and at any of these retail locations.
Peace, love & neon,