Designs in Textiles by Mary Jaeger

Designs in Textiles by Mary Jaeger


Neighborhood: NoLita
Type of Place: Women's Clothing

Mary Jaeger grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, and began college at Notre
Dame as a premed student. None of this particularly foreshadowed her
future as an artist specializing in textile design; but life takes twists
that neither native geography nor original intention can necessarily

After school, Jaeger worked with various clothing designers before
moving to Japan for 8 years and, while there, studying textile dying and
painting. The influence of this training led her, upon returning to the
States, to experiment with Shibori, the Japanese equivalent of tie-dye.
These experiments were born of practicality: When her daughter arrived
3 years ago, Jaeger, like many new moms, received hand-me-down baby
clothes that were adorable but (babies being babies) adorned with small
food stains here and there. When Jaeger turned to Shibori to disguise the
stains and give the outfits new life, a signature style was born; now
Shibori t-shirts, which Jaeger hand-dyes in her studio, are the pieces
for which she is best known (and are available in men, women, and
children's sizes).

In addition to the Shibori shirts (short sleeves from $125; long
sleeves and camisoles from $145), standouts here include pillows in gorgeous
textiles (from $75), girl's skirts in Italian menswear striping (from
$95), and incredible tucked wool gauze panels that can be used as wall
hangings or ample shawls (you have to see them to understand their
beauty, and their versatility), in chocolate, white, or black (from $950).

Ultimately, though you can take the girl out of the Midwest (and though
she may well travel the world), you can't take the Midwest entirely
out of the girl. When we visited Jaeger's shop, she was celebrating
her daughter's 3-and-1/4 birthday with pizza and cake (which she
generously offered) while preparing for a visit to family in Madison the next
day. Worldly though her work might be, she respects her roots and knows
that some of life's simpler combinations "like toddlers, parties,
and cake" can bring the biggest joys.
  - Pamela Grossman; Aug 8, 2005

Designs in Textiles by Mary Jaeger
51 Spring St.
New York, NY 10012