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Stories from the Middle East Region

Ava Ghosseiri's Modern Take on Ancient Persian Felting

Designer Ava Ghosseiri

Ava Ghosseiri's designs are the result of her passion for reinterpreting the rich heritage of Iranian craft.  Inspired by one of the oldest techniques of textile production called “Namadmali”, or felting, Ava made it her mission to study, learn and adapt the ancient labor-intensive process. The result is her current collection of one of a kind scarves.

The fashion designer's journey began in the mountains of northern and western Iran where the original Iranian Namad (felt) was made from sheep’s wool by men who would stomp and massage the fibers all day to create the pieces. Due to the arduous nature of the work the process has historically been men’s domain. As Ava discovered, the color palettes were and still are derived from the natural dyes specific to each region. Many cultures have since developed their variation of “Namad", or felting,  based on the Persian craft.

Back in New York, Ava developed her own technique to create a softer, more feminine version of felting scarves by hand, though no less arduous, and began a new chapter in Iranian textile history of Namad by women. 

She begins her technique by choosing the color story for each scarf and laying out the design of merino wool fibers on silk. Then begins a nine hour process of massaging each scarf between 1500-2000 times, washing and beating for several hours, followed by the final step of ironing. The technique is  organic, therefore, each scarf is one of a kind. Since all of the scarves are made from silk and Merino wool which is much softer than traditional felting, the process takes longer to intertwine the fibers. The result is hand-made, one of a kind collectible designs that are a wearable celebration of history with a modern adaptation.