This is the story of how one woman’s love of beautiful textiles and her commitment to re-purposing fabric, combined with a little bit of luck, led to the production of a whole lot of beautiful handmade masks. Since she was a little girl, Lisa Bittan had a thing for colorful and patterned textiles and paper. So it’s not shocking that after a trip to India with her son 13 years ago, to “Nirvana,” as Lisa says, where she was inundated with vibrant hand blocked printed fabrics, she knew she could not go back to her career as a bankruptcy lawyer. Lisa created Ya Living, a clothing and home accessories brand with a bohemian chic vibe based in LA, that necessitated her spending months at a time in India.
Some of Ya Living’s beautiful prints
Indian artisans hand make Ya Living’s printed and embroidered fabrics and most products.
When Lisa first saw all the fabric waste during the manufacturing and cutting processes, she could not watch such beautiful fabric be tossed away. So she designed other uses for the scraps. She began creating items like napkins and pouches, and eventually developed an entire collection of products, all created from re-purposed “waste fabric.” Frome the products Ya Living produces in LA, Lisa has accumulated a stockpile of scrap fabric in her Santa Monica home. This proved to be fortuitous when, due to COVID-19, shipments from India were halted and no one was receiving any fabric. And so was born the idea behind LA’s Most Coveted Masks.
The Need for Masks
When discussions about face coverings for protection against Coronavirus began, Lisa had already been experimenting with mask production in India, primarily hand printing on surgical masks, but those are not reusable. And as the debate continued.
“When I heard that the best type of face covering was light weight, breathable, tightly woven and 100% cotton, a light bulb went off. This is the exact definition of my fabrics, with the added bonus that they are gorgeous,” explains Lisa. It was love of fabric and a need to give back behind LA’s most coveted masks.
For First Responders…and Beyond
Using her inventory of scraps, she started creating beautifully patterned cotton masks in late March. Her first batch of 200 was donated to first responders. Her next batch went live on the Ya Living website, selling out in minutes. Week after week, it’s the same story. Demand is so high that production of masks has taken over her business.
Lisa continues to donate masks and has a waiting list for bulk orders, sometimes with requests upwards of 1000 masks. Lisa and Ya Living is working with the organization Mask Match to ensure donations are reaching proper channels.
Visit Ya Living‘s website to learn more about their masks, beautiful fabrics and product lines.