Since founding Ibu in 2013, Susan Hull Walker has been bringing bold global designs to Charleston and beyond while advocating for the economic independence of women around the world. We caught up with the textile maven to discuss her latest finds and her efforts to empower women.
Q Is there a specific piece of clothing that sparked your love for textiles?
A I remember the first silk, hand-embroidered kimono I bought at an antiques store in Charleston. I displayed it on my wall, and also tossed it on for special occasions. I thought, ‘I’ll love this till I die.’ And I do. It embodies timeless style and has lots of life in it.
Q What’s your favorite shoe for travel?
A For a trip to New York, I wear my over-the-knee, suede boots from Stuart Weitzman—a classic.
Q What are you giving as Christmas presents this year?
A I’m gifting the most fun, original earrings I found this past spring that are made by women in Colombia—real flowers painted in gold and red beaded flowers as well as and my go-tos, the Grace Jones earrings, made in South Africa. Oh, and these Colombian ornaments–colorful, natural fiber balls, with which I plan to cover the Ibu showroom.
Q Tell us about your most memorable travel experience.
A I’ll never forget the last day of a climb up and down Mount Kilimanjaro, no shower for nine days and my now-husband on his knee, proposing to me.
Q Tell us how IBU gives back to women.
A The Ibu Movement is putting money in the hands of women by employing skills passed down through generations. Around the world, we’re championing a woman’s right to earn a sustainable income, the survival of the world’s textile traditions, education for girls, and access to health care and clean water—all to disrupt poverty.
Q Which of your own pieces is your favorite?
A I’m really enjoying the clean simple lines of our Sindh dress, with fantastic hand embroidery made by women in Pakistan. I wear it with our new kantha stitch slides (which are so comfy), lots of bangles, and our big statement earrings for a splash!
Q What are some of your go-to basics to pair with your standout IBU pieces?
A I like pieces from Eileen Fisher that travel well. I might wear a long black shell over leggings and then throw on a kimono or fun jacket, shoes, and jewelry. I like for interesting accessories to be the stars.
Photographs Courtesy of (boots) Stuart Weitzman & (5) IBU