Abacaxi, which means “pineapple” in Portuguese, is a Brooklyn-based line that focuses on designing with handcrafted materials and hand-dyed fabrics and supporting local artisans. 

How long have you been designing, and how did you get into it?

I studied visual art and textile design and, after a few years of trying to find a way into the industry in NYC, finally began working as an assistant print and textile designer for other brands. I did that for several years and then first launched Abacaxi while I was a freelance designer in 2013. 

What is the ethos of the brand, and what are some signature pieces you’re most known for?

Everything is designed with inclusivity and versatility in mind. I have a tendency to make things that can either be draped and worn and used in a multitude of ways or be reversible or stretch to fit several sizes. I’m very inspired by traditional dress—the sari for example—one garment that can fit almost anyone. This also goes hand in hand with sustainability, creating pieces that are meant to last and be reused over time. 

The Eva Dress has been one of my biggest best sellers. I’m sure it’s because of its flattering fit on all body sizes and shapes and very reasonable price, considering the amount and quality of the Indian cotton fabric. Because the bodice is made of elasticized smocking, it stretches and moves with you and allows for some changes in sizing from one year to the next. We just launched a mini version of this dress as part of the new Stingray collection in a plant-dyed custom-weave organic cotton, which I am super excited about. 

The Divya Blouse and Divya Dress, named after my sister, are also signature pieces inspired by the sari. They are one shoulder and have a pleated scarf attachment that can be worn in several different ways. 

Why is ethical production important to you, and how do you support the artisans you work with to bring Abacaxi to life?

I really do cherish every opportunity to work with handloom weavers and artisans who are practicing ancestral crafts, which are at risk of disappearing. As a weaver and a textile designer, I get most excited about the custom-fabric design process and seeing skilled artisans be able to bring my designs into fruition. But beyond that, when you buy one of our pieces, you are not only receiving a beautiful, quality garment. You are also directly supporting the people that have built their community around these exquisite traditions.

What have been some of your career highlights so far?

The latest thing that really excited me was styling an Abacaxi editorial for Vogue India and working with model Anita Jane Pathammavong and my friend and photographer Ankur Maniar on this project. 

In 2020, I was chosen as part of Teen Vogue’s Generation Next program, which was a highlight for Abacaxi to be recognized in that way, mid-pandemic and all. 

Another highlight was definitely producing my first runway show in October 2021 for the Stingray spring/summer 2022 collection, which just launched in our shop. I actually worked on the casting myself as well and brought together a beautiful group of diverse models who I have been working with over the past several years. We also had an all-femme and queer crew and just had the best time that day. It was incredible to all be together in one space after a couple of years of isolation. It felt like a very celebratory moment—not just for me and for Abacaxi but for the models hopefully as well. Many connections were made that day. 

How do you think the industry can be more inclusive of all women?

When it comes to inclusivity for women, the conversation has to include trans women and nonbinary gender as well.

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