March 17, 2014

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fair trade manufacture › Shari's Notes › supply chains › Uncategorized ›




 

 

Mehera Shaw collage of behind the scenes

We are
An artisanal lifestyle brand
An artisan hand block printer

 

An environmentally conscious, fair trade manufacturer 
An artisan development foundation
Based in Jaipur, India. 

 

Our Brand

Mehera Shaw is an affordable, upmarket, artisanal lifestyle brand for the conscious and sophisticated woman who wants her wardrobe and home to reflect her sustainable lifestyle. Our brand encompasses smart, yet artistic casual looks with high wearability, which transition well from day to evening; our additional range of lifestyle separates includes vintage romantic nightwear, childrenswear, homewares, upcycled accessories and project-based textiles such as do-it-yourself sewing kits. We believe in connecting quality craftsmanship to market, artisans to style trends, tailors and designers to finished product and consumers to the human story of slow fashion. Our company encompasses a holistic vision of exchange not only between east and west, but also among all participants in the modern value chain.  We sell our brand retail both in our Jaipur boutique and online as well as wholesale internationally.

Artisan Hand Block Prints - Bagru - Sanganer  - Textile designs

Our brand and manufacturing are intrinsically connected to the artisan printing traditions of Jaipur.  We design block print collections for each season and print on GOTS certified organic cotton base cloth using AZO free dyes.
We work in Bagru village with traditional vegetable dye Bagru hand block prints and at our own block printing unit near Sanganer where we develop and produce contemporary block print designs inspired by the motifs of India and the East.
 
 
 

Production Studio - Fair Trade Manufacturer


Mehera Shaw Textiles Pvt. Ltd. is a fair trade and sustainable manufacturer. We have created a transparent, vertical supply chain using fair labour standards, sustainable fabrics and artisan printed textiles. We are committed to cradle-to-cradle production and produce all garments in-house: specializations include the artisan textiles from the Jaipur region of North India, natural fiber wovens and detailed stitching.

We are a member of the Fair Trade Federation in the US and are a vertical company which allows us to personally confirm that all ethical standards are maintained within our production studio in India. We use only natural fibers and whenever possible, certified organic cottons sourced in India. We use AZO free dyes for both solid colour dyeing and printing. We work regularly with traditional, artisan hand block  printing which actively supports decentralized, village production methods in rural India.

For more information on our fair trade standards, please click here: 'Fair Trade'. For information on purchasing Mehera Shaw wholesale, click here.


Work with Us! Custom Manufacture



We offer full manufacturing services, including pattern making, grading, hand block printing, screen printing, solid colour dyeing, sampling and small to medium scale garment and homewares manufacturing for both independent designers and established brands. For more information write to Shari at: shari@meherashaw.com.

 

 

 

The Foundation

Mehera Shaw Foundation Trust is a registered non-profit whose mission is to support sustainable artisan development projects.  MSF works in a fully integrated, transparent manner with Mehera Shaw Textiles.  MSF’s first project is an artisan upcycling project designed to produce textiles and accessories from production scrap as well as to create cooperative, micro-social enterprise, mentor-based education and training centres for artisan communities.
Mehera Shaw Foundation Trust is a registered non-profit trust whose mission is to support artisan development projects.  It is the non-profit sister of Mehera Shaw, working specifically with artisans to develop upcycled textile products, and to create cooperative, micro-social enterprise and mentor-based education and training centres for artisan communities. MSFT works in an integrated and fully transparent manner with Mehera Shaw Textiles to help people help themselves without discrimination. Our philosophy is one of emancipation through work, skill building, dignity.
Projects include women artisan micro-enterprise skills training program making upcycled fashion accessories from post production scrap fabric, 
For more detailed information, please see our main menu under "foundation" and our foundation website at: meherashawfoundation.org

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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