Alexandria business owners partner together to create hand-painted headbands

Maranathá Rodriguez of Dmaran Design and Sue Henry of Tulusa have debuted the spring-inspired Capsule Collection. Here, Rodriquez gives us the inside scoop on the partnership, the pieces and what’s to come.

colorful hand-painted headbands
The Capsule Collection features dozens of hand-painted knot headbands, as well as head wraps and turbans, which will be released in early summer. (Photo courtesy of Mara Rodriguez)

It’s no secret that Alexandria is full of creatives. From the vibe of the historic streets to the locally owned boutique shops that align King Street and its adjacent corridors, the makers are an essential part of the neighborhood’s charm. 

And this spring, two of those individuals—Maranathá Rodriguez of Dmaran Design and Sue Henry of Tulusa—have come together to create the Capsule Collection, featuring a variety of hand-painted knot headbands, as well as head wraps and turbans, set to be released in June. While Rodriguez is known for her handmade, fabric-focused accessories, Henry is recognized for her hand-painted block prints and textiles.

In honor of their recently released collection, we chatted with Rodriguez to find out more about the one-of-a-kind partnership, where the design inspiration came from and how her company is managing the current climate. Find highlights from our conversation below.   

woman in white lace shirt and orange skirt
Maranathá Rodriquez dons one of the latest releases from the Capsule Collection. (Photo courtesy of Mara Rodriguez)

How did your partnership with Sue Henry come about, and how has it impacted this collection?

We met last year and we immediately decided we should definitely do something together. These pieces, they are like a piece of art. It’s something hand-printed, hand-painted and overall really elegant. 

I studied high-elevated fashion in Mexico, so everything is delicately sewn so that it will last forever. I launch a new collection every year, and normally I do research about a year before to follow the trends, so I have the time to bring my style into it. Sue creates every design for her various products—pillows, napkins, bags—and we decided together on different prints to put on these headbands. 

Why knot headbands specifically?

You know, I moved here to the U.S. in 2011 and I started making knot headbands because I saw them in vintage magazines. But they weren’t that popular then and now all of a sudden, they are back. I was almost laughing when it happened because I did this almost seven years ago. Now, I get to bring a fresh take on the look. As a designer, you just need to create something new every time even if a similar style or color comes back from the past. People need to be interested and amazed every time. 

Where did the design inspiration come from?

We did our research with the trends, and we also wanted to do something really feminine, chic and versatile. You can wear these with different outfits or for different occasions. Sue loves to design animals and I thought it was perfect for spring, because animals come out this time too. In the winter, we stick to dark, more boring [designs] I would say. Spring is the bloom of fashion—it’s when designers get to show something new. 

Do you two have plans to collaborate together in the future?

Currently we are working on the knot headbands still as orders keep coming in, and we are working on head wraps and turbans made of high-quality nylon material, which will be ready for the summer. We love working together, and we decided recently to make a fall collection too. Honestly, I prefer to have specific and original designs, her [Sue’s] work is so unique. Nobody will have the same prints, patterns or colors. 

How has the threat of the coronavirus impacted this launch, as well as your business in general?

I felt a little bit of the change because people aren’t really thinking about dressing up or going anywhere special. But also, I love this community so much, there is so much support. Instagram is helpful because I work with a lot of bloggers here in Northern Virginia and across the country and they are still wearing them at home, getting the name out. We all are able to support each other.

I also always tag the stores who are selling my stuff, many of which are offering private appointments right now. If clients are local, I am delivering headbands to the door. It’s just nice to see people supporting one another at this time. I am a small business, but I am still working every day and creating new styles. This is going to end at some point and we will be out enjoying our time.

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