mehera shaw

Women's Upcycling Project


women's upcycling project at Mehera ShawOur women's upcycling project is continuing and growing!  We've successfully completed several small orders and now have many more women anxious to join the program.  Our next steps include: developing a small product catalog of types of products the women can make which will be available for placing orders establish a formal mentoring program which can also support the formation of Self Help Groups (SHGs) so that we can gradually extend our network in a workable way, and provide not only hands-on skills training for specific products, but ongoing mentoring, skills development, quality control training and viable orders. All products are made with post-product scrap fabric (almost entirely organic cotton prints from our collections).  Products include fashion accessories, homewares, bags, trims, applique, cutwork decorations.  All products are made almost entirely by hand, and, by using scrap fabric, raw materials expenses are limited to only the sewing needles and thread.  Mehera Shaw Foundation supports the training and liaises with Mehera Shaw Textiles to supply all raw materials to the women.  The women have no out-of-pocket costs and get paid cash for completed pieces which pass the quality standard. We are currently reaching out to customers to build a network of supporters so we can supply enough orders for the women.  If interested, please write to shari@meherashaw.com for more information.
 Our women's upcycling project is continuing and growing!  We've successfully completed several small orders and now have many more women anxious to join the program.  Our next steps include: developing a small product catalog of types of products the women can make which will be available for placing orders establish a formal mentoring program which can also support the formation of Self Help Groups (SHGs) so that we can gradually extend our network in a workable way, and provide not only hands-on skills training for specific products, but ongoing mentoring, skills development, quality control training and viable orders. All products are made with post-product scrap fabric (almost entirely organic cotton prints from our collections).  Products include fashion accessories, homewares, bags, trims, applique, cutwork decorations.  All products are made almost entirely by hand, and, by using scrap fabric, raw materials expenses are limited to only the sewing needles and thread.  Mehera Shaw Foundation supports the training and liaises with Mehera Shaw Textiles to supply all raw materials to the women.  The women have no out-of-pocket costs and get paid cash for completed pieces which pass the quality standard. We are currently reaching out to customers to build a network of supporters so we can supply enough orders for the women.  If interested, please write to shari@meherashaw.com for more information.

Block Printing at Mehera Shaw

BlockPrintingWb-copy-2We've been developing our own blocking printing program in the past year, printing on organic cottons, silks, and cotton silk with our own style of block designs as well as custom orders.  We sell fabric meterage of our block print designs on GOTS certified 60s cambric cotton in a range of Asian/Indian inspired print designs.  Our most recent collections include Japanese shibori, origami, kaigara inspired designs as well as Indian Rabari designs ( http://www.utsavpedia.com/motifs-embroideries/the-different-strokes-of-rabari-embroidery/) and Navajo inspired motifs. We are also available for custom orders in smaller minimums for printing scarves, meterage, and meterage for use with our custom manufacturing.  All work is fair trade using low-impact dyes. IMG_2014 IMG_2079  Mehra Shaw Asian inspired block print

Women's Upcycling Project: Fashion Accessories for Monkey & Mum in Association with TAABAR and Mehera Shaw Foundation

In a new joint project, Mehera Shaw Foundation and TAABAR Foundation have produced a range of beautiful, upcycled necklaces designed by and produced for Monkey&Mum in Australia (https://www.facebook.com/monkeyandmum and http://www.monkeyandmum.com.au/ ). Mehera Shaw Foundation in Jaipur, India supports women's empowerment and has started an upcycling program using post production scrap fabric to create beautiful, hand crafted fashion accessories.  MS Foundation started working with TAABAR last April.  TAABAR, Jaipur, is a non-profit in support of women's empowerment so it was a perfect fit for MS Foundation to work with the women, in a joint skills training program.  Tess Freund, the owner of Monkey & Mum reached out to us shortly thereafter and we felt it was a perfect fit of product, skills and interest. MS Foundation is supported by small donations and by Mehera Shaw Textiles.  Mehera Shaw offers skills training camps to marginalized women with a vision of long-term skills upgradation and improved quality of life.  The women are paid directly on a per piece basis for their work and receive ongoing mentoring and training through MS FoundationIMG_0551 DSCF1009 .  The goal is a fantastic product: one which is beautiful, wearable, loved and which bring financial benefits to the women. We are very excited to see how much effort and interest the women have put forth into this project.  They have worked very hard and really developed their skills and focus.  These are marketable skills and from fabric scraps have come beautiful necklaces!  The women are anxious to start their next order and develop their skills further!

Organic Cotton and Beautiful Colors: Dyeing Unit Update

[gallery type="rectangular" ids="500,501,502,503,504,505,506,507,509,508"] We are really pleased to see the first beautiful colors roll off the jigger machines at our new dyeing unit.  We are dyeing GOTS certified organic cottons with GOTS approved dyestuff.  We're very happy to report the excellent progress made lately.  The boiler is in place and working well.  We have good fuel efficiency and are up and running with good steam and appropriately high temperatures quickly.  The bamboo racks used in drying in artisan units such as ours is also in place with new bamboo; looks fantastic. Our unit is now fully functional for dyeing fabric.  We now need to take care over the waste water.  For the short term, we can arrange proper removal of the waste water, but will now start our campaign for seeking funding for the ETP unit which is our goal as a long-term solution. Water treatment is our long-term goal: it is essential from the environmental standpoint to work toward better drinking water, not pollute the ground water or water which ultimately is used in nearby farming.  It is also an important message to the garment industry that we can and must do things in a more sustainable way which safeguard the environment and the people.  There is no real gain or "profit" without meeting these standards first. Our next steps include a social media and crowdfunding campaign to raise funding for both the ETP unit and workshops/educational resources for the artisan community in which we work.  We will aim to start installing an ETP unit in August.    

Visit by Taabar's Women's Empowerment Centre

[gallery type="rectangular" ids="453,458,459,461,460,462,457,456,455,463"] We recently received the women from Taabar's Women's Empowerment Centre who visited Mehera Shaw as an initial exposure trip and discussion as to how we can work together in the future.  The women are trained in stitching and are working to develop their skills and form industry partnerships for income generation.  We woudl like to extend our heartfelt thank you to Mr. Ramesh Paliwal for making this opportunity possible and look forward to partnering with Taabar in the future.  Please visit: http://www.taabar.org/ for more information on their work.Image

Dyeing Unit Opening Ceremony

Congratulations to all our Mehera Shaw team who have made this possible!!  We now have an operational dyeing unit.  In this post, we include photos of our opening ceremony.  We are joined here by all of our Mehera Shaw staff in our opening ceremony, followed by a picnic lunch and running the first 500 meters on one of our jigger machines. While we still have a long way to go to realize the many stages of our dream for an environmentally sound dyeing process with water filtration and treatment, proper environmental standards and high end quality specifically for work with GOTS certified organic cottons, we are pleased with the progress so far. Now having completed phase 1 of this process, we will be engaged in developing the second phase including water treatment.     [gallery type="rectangular" ids="471,469,470,468,473,472,467,466,476,475,474"]  

Thoughts on the Need for Ethical Supply Chains: An Open Letter

I have been noting a disjuncture in the fashion industry between the start-ups--the idealists who believe and want to put their investments toward doing good--and the fashion industry giants who use the terms 'ethical', 'sustainable', 'organic', etc. as “swing tag ethics”  --- ways to improve their public image, nothing more.  Some of these more ethical companies  have beautiful photos of artisans in developing countries who are paid a living wage, but the same company, when asked what their policy is in terms of support to suppliers (a basic principle of fair trade) do not pay advances for artisans and in fact have a 90 day time frame for paying at all, during which time they allow themselves right of refusal and sell backs. The disjuncture between 'fair trade' and 'ethical' on the one hand and the commodification of fashion and marketing side of the supply chain appears to be a gap we collectively have not begun to bridge. Mehera Shaw is looking for collaborators: people/clients who support people-center development.  People who invest enough of themselves to learn what an ethical value chain looks like and how to strengthen it.  People who see that it is not just the supply side of the value chain that is responsible for 'ethical' practices, but the marketing side as well.  People with the energy, motivation and belief that 'good clothing' can work if we form a new model for how the value chain operates: make it cradle-to-cradle, people-centered, network building rather than industry driven. We want to reach out to people who want to invest more than a few dollars for 'swing tag ethics'; we want to really make a difference.  We have spent years developing our manufacturing company and know the strengths and limitations of the Indian supply chain inside out--there are many of both.  We know first hand what fair trade means to our staff.  We know the meaning of on-time payments, advances for health care and children’s education.  We know what climate change is doing to artisan’s livelihoods and how lack of communication between artisan and market demands creates frustration and loss. We are looking for people/companies who are willing to take the time to learn--learn what products are possible, how to help suppliers, how to find sustainable sales platforms that don't themselves suck up all the money and raise the price of a garment before it can reach a sincere consumer.  We need companies who also see more than the bottom line, who, rather than pressure their fair trade suppliers for rock bottom prices and more and more certifications before they agree to give orders, will sit down and meet the people who make the clothes--see their skill and the context of manufacturing. Right now there is an amazing inequality of responsibility put on the developing country manufacturer to secure certifications (usually at first-world prices). Ultimately, several of us on the Indian or supplier side, see a need to open another dialogue, structured as an interactive platform, but expressly to give voice to supply chain issues and responsibility so that we on ‘different’ sides of the supply chain can come together, learn from each other and find ways to balance out the responsibilities and access to markets. The issues at stake are those which may ultimately cause ethical fashion to be unsustainable. Speaking now as someone who sits on both sides of the fence--as the director of a fair trade manufacturing unit and as a brand designer, I regularly discuss the topic of unsustainability within the marketing end of the supply chain; we speak of slow fashion, recycling, ethical fashion, sustainability, but the industry-created marketing platforms and timetable alone are not sustainable.  So many beautiful collections and talented artisans do not succeed because the marketing side of the supply chain is designed specifically for the endless desire for product of the unethical fashion industry. We hope to see a reinvention of the fashion platform--through the entirety of the value chain.  We hope to see the beginnings of people-centered development in the world of ethical fashion.  While we know without a doubt it is important to get the attention of the fashion giants and prevent further Rana Plaza incidents from happening, we also hope to create a new platform which includes both the manufacturing and marketing ends of the supply chain in a cradle-to-cradle loop.  Akin to the flower rising up from the cracks in the pavement, we would like to see change at a grassroots level in this industry.  We are daily working to be the change we want to see and to join hands with others who share this vision. Mehera Shaw has been developing awareness-building campaigns along the topics I’ve been addressing. We have begun developing videos and workshops aimed at creating a deeper understanding of the supply chain, context-sensitive, artisan work, fair trade and the cyclical nature of a sustainable value chain. We invite others who share this vision to join us. We will continue to address these issues and work to find a sustainable supply chain. -- Shari Keller
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