From the start, ethical tailoring has and continues to be an integral part of The Ethical Silk Company, the alternative is just not an option. Having worked with other Fairtrade and Federation run units, I felt that to expand into loungewear I needed a unit with exceptional experience in garment production and found Mehera Shaw, a Fairtrade unit in Jaipur.
The brand, Mehera Shaw began in 1999 with the Fairtrade production unit becoming a private limited company in 2007, priding itself on being a transparent, vertical supply chain using fair labour standards. The fact that Mehera Shaw’s production unit was already familiar with ahimsa silk and value it as highly as I do was a huge plus as silk can be a bit trickier to work with than other materials. With the loungewear range in mind, I knew that it’s not enough to offer sustainably made clothes, they must also be of exceptional quality so in January ’15 I visited the unit in Jaipur to meet Shari and the team and we took it from there.
"We believe that good design can and does go hand-in-hand with beautifully made, hand-crafted textiles, that sustainability, small-scale artisan production and good design are a good fit and the way of the future. We see it as a continuous cycle--on the production end, we believe in the fair trade model of people being able to help themselves and their success coming from themselves. The role of artisans and of everyone in the supply chain is important. Everyone has a voice and a significance. I would also call this slow fashion --meaning, for me, that there is a story behind the production. It is a dialogue across cultures and brings people together through art, craft and understanding." --Shari
Mehara Shaw have also founded a non-profit foundation, Mehera Shaw Foundation Trust, whose mission is to support artisan development projects with a philosophy of emancipation through work, self building and dignity. Projects include women artisan micro-enterprise skills training programme making upcycled fashion accessories from post production scrap fabric. We’re working on future products that can be made through the Foundation Trust so watch this space for updates. You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, or drop us a line to stay up to date with the goings on.
Thanks for reading