On the corner of the Natural Center there is a cute little two story shop. On the first floor is a small boutique with beachy chic fashions, jewelry and decorative items. Prices are reasonable, particularly when you learn that all of the items for sale here are designed by an accomplished Swedish designer and hand made by local artisans.
The second floor of the Fabrique Boutique is a design studio and sewing room. The owner, Anna Morris works there as does her head seamstress, Ana Mattarita, a talented Tica who is highly skilled and who Anna trusts completely with her designs. It is important for Morris to work with local women and give them a chance to learn and grow and even inspire new work.
Why would a beautiful young Swedish designer and former TV personality abandon her life in Sweden and run away to Samara? Because, like so many foreigners who chose this town, she a has a dream and this is the kind of place where people who are serious about pursuing their dreams find what they need to pull it all together. Anna loves three things, her family, being a designer and helping other women grow and become self-sufficient. Samara provides a safe, beautiful and natural home for Anna’s family, inspiration, and a pool of strong, talented women artisans eager to work and to learn.
Many people walk past Anna’s little boutique or even shop there without knowing the true story of what is going on. Not only are all of the fashions designed and made here, the Morris family is working to grow the business to provide more work to more women who wish to become master seamstresses. To this end Morris and her husband, Maurice, are working to raise money for a sewing school to be located in Samara – and she tells me they are getting very close to realizing this dream. The goal is to provide a school with professional equipment, scholarship money to allow students to study full time and a complete professional training program, to be taught by Mattarita.
Some of you laugh when I call Samara “Paris by the Sea”, but with a team of trained couture quality seamstresses, international designers, and all of the other creatives living here, we keep getting closer.
Local does matter, and the more local the better. Life is rich in a community where people can work and support themselves, where intelligence and creativity is rewarded, and where we have the opportunity to make a real connection with the people we buy products from, whether it is our food, our clothes, souvenirs, furniture or anything else we buy. It makes our community stronger. It sets an example for our children, provides a high level of quality and makes the things in our homes, or that we give as gifts truly unique and special.