Made in Houston

Eat, Pray, Caftan: How Two Houston Sisters Launched a Brand with Global Style

Mirth makes caftans that evoke relaxation, sourced from and inspired by India.

By Sarah Rufca Nielsen April 18, 2016

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Mirth caftans in their natural environment.

Launch parties are generally a jovial affair, for obvious reasons—there's booze, snacks, and someone has created something that they are proud of. The launch party at Brooke Feather for Mirth caftans last week was no different, but it had a stylishly chill vibe—probably because several of the players present were wearing one of the planet's most comfortably stylish inventions, the caftan. 

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Mirth co-founders Erin Breen and Katie McClure

We at Houstonia have declared both 2014 and 2015 the summer of the caftan, so this year we may as well declare this the decade (or the century) of the caftans, because they are wonderful. This became obvious to Houston sisters Katie McClure and Erin Breen when they were traveling and looking for inspiration for their next venture. It was in India, outside Jaipur, where something about the textiles of the traditional dhoti and lungi worn by local men caught their attention. It was right then, in 2014, when Mirth was launched, with the goal of creating beautiful, comfortable garments inspired by laid-back vibe of a carefree getaway. 

Their first collection is for Spring/Summer 2016, with textiles inspired by and sourced from India—future collections will have their own geographic markers, too. Much of the collection is produced in small batches and made by hand in some fashion, whether that means they are hand-loomed, hand-dyed or feature block prints created individually by artisans using traditional techniques. The sisters have ensured that all their garments are created ethically, and they support local cooperatives when possible.

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El Tule ikat print, handmade edition, $230

The result is a line of caftans that look relaxed enough to wear them by the pool, but feel luxurious enough to throw a belt over (or not, whatever) and go to dinner in. Did I mention how unbelievably soft most of them are? It would be difficult to put one on and not feel the weight of the world lift away.

Mirth's first line includes six unique designs, most offered in multiple colors and prints. Price range from $166 for a short version up to $390 for a long, buttoned version made from hand-loomed cotton. Mirth has been up by several boutiques nationwide and is available in Houston at Brooke Feather, Saint Cloud, and via their website.

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