When Sara Sugarman and Zak Profera met in the seventh grade, they probably didn't expect to be collaborating on a high-end rug collection years later. As high-schoolers, they snuck into bars together, but as grown-ups, they've found a different kind of bond — one based on a shared appreciation for design and craftsmanship. Over the past year, they've worked together on a new collection for Sara's family business, Decorative Carpets.
The pair grew up in Los Angeles, but Zak now lives and works in New York. "Sara and I have been friends since childhood and have always been a part of each others' lives," Zak says. "When we were in high school, I'd actually park my car in Decorative's parking lot late at night when I was sneaking into The Abbey up the street on Robertson. I was always dragging Sara with me, of course. It's really funny to see this come full circle, especially since I live in New York now."
"He was always 'the creative one,'" she says. "There has always been a bit of a playful element in all of his work and you can definitely see that in the Mar a Mar collection. In our adult lives we really bonded over our shared interest in interior design; I think it was a natural progression."
"The name Mar a Mar means "Sea to Sea" and is a bit of a wink to the fact that Zak and I worked together from both coasts, LA and NY," Sara says. " I would fly to NY and we would stay up late pouring over color poms. He would fly to LA and we would look at quality and construction together. I think the color story and aesthetic of the line stemmed from what we thought would appeal to audiences on both coasts."
"We both agreed that we wanted something wildly fun and modern but definitely wanted to keep it rooted in tradition," Zak adds. "We looked at head-spinning, insane, endless amounts of Indian embroidery and Moroccan tile work and tried to reinterpret these very common motifs in a new light. I designed Layla to throw a tribal-influenced rug into the mix but wasn't sure how it would translate once woven since it is the most organic of all the designs. These things take on a completely new life when they are woven and tangible in your hands. Without a doubt, it's my absolute favorite."
"I named everything after the designs were complete," he says. "I don't like when a name feels totally distant from a design, so everything has a direct meaning to the actual composition. 'Ziz' is named after a river in Morocco — I thought of the design as a river weaving through a landscape. 'Martil' is named after the seaside town in Tangier. I basically dreamt about running away to a sleepy surfing village on the coast of North Africa and took that idea as inspiration for all of the names."