On a visit to the beautiful Baklimsa (Catskill Zendo) for a festival, , our friend Kelsey happened to be wearing a Namai robe. Upon seeing the robe, the resident monks became excited and all wanted to try it on! It turns out that the Namai robes are in line with traditional Buddhist clothing styles and that they are very similar to robes that have been worn by monks over thousands of years.
Traditionally monks wore clothes foraged from leftover rags. Monks would gather unused rags from the community, the cloth was then dyed a simple grey so that all the pieces were a uniform color, and then then they were sewn together to from a robe.
Namai jackets and coats are made from Vintage Kantha quilts. Kantha quilts are made from patchwork fabric remnants that are hand stitched into a quilt. Over thousands of years its humble origins have become an art form in itself, with the some Kantha quilts exhibiting amazing artistry and skill in embroidery.
We returned to the Zendo a few weeks later with Kelsey and Minnie to show the Catskills Zendo monks more Namai robes, talk to them about the history of their traditional dress, and asked them to pose for some photos. The result is this series of images showcasing our new line of robes, taken at the Zatskill Zendo in Summitville, NY. The Zendo is open to the public, and is on over 200 acres of land with many paths that you can do walking meditations on.
Photography: Josh Werner and Bianca Kuttickattu
Models: Monks from the Catskills Zendo
A huge thank to Minnie for introducing us to the monastery and it's people, and to Kelsey for being the first person to connect Namai with this special place and for coming along to help!