March 07, 2016

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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

In Recognition of International Women’s Day

In recognition of International Women’s Day, a few words about the women of Mehera Shaw

-from the desk of Mark Keller

 

The first woman to come to work at Mehera Shaw was, of course, our co-founder, chief designer, and director—Shari Keller.  At the time Shari was entering a male bastion, of sorts, because in India the trade of stitching and tailoring is traditionally the province of men.  Naturally, Shari came with some assets that merited respect and eased her entry somewhat—education, knowledge of western tastes and design, able to speak Hindi. 

 

The main obstacle she faced, not only as a woman, but as an employer, was to create an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect.  It was important, if the business were to succeed, that the staff realize they could share their thoughts and ideas without worrying whether they lined up with what the “boss” already thought and wanted to hear.  They also had to understand that Shari did not require any kind of extraordinary handling, as a female, and especially as  western female.  Ordinary good manners and consideration were sufficient.

 

And, happily, trust and mutual respect among all the staff were established over time, though not without some bumps and hesitations, and by now quite a few visitors have noted that Mehera Shaw, with its woman director, has an unusually harmonious and civil working environment. 

 

And it was partly because word of this got around, that our second woman came to work for us, arriving with her husband on the back of a motor scooter one day, saying she had heard Mehera Shaw was a good place to work, and that she wanted a job.  Shari had been hoping to hire women for some time, but the men had reservations.  What would she do?  She didn’t know how to operate a sewing machine.  How would the rest of the staff react to her presence?  Would their manners be up to the mark?  What if they said or did something wrong?

 

The men’s reservations might sound a bit silly, even extreme, but the fact is that the average Indian man doesn’t know many women outside of his extended family.  His extended family may be huge, of course, so in net terms he knows many women.  But almost only from his family.  Outside of his work and family environment, he will rarely, if ever,  converse with a woman; and the same is true in reverse—the women know lots of men, but only within their family circles.

 

I wasn’t there to witness what then transpired, but I surmise that Shari exerted come careful, subtle pressure, and the woman was hired to do some basic work that required no special skills.

 

And everything was fine.  The roof didn’t fall in.  The men realized that this “strange female” wasn't a separate species from their female relatives, and that normal good manners and respectfulness were all she required to feel at home there.

 

After that other women began to show up, as the word went around, somehow, that Mehera Shaw was not only a “good place to work”, but a “good place for women.”

 

I mentioned earlier that stitching and tailoring, in the Jaipur region of India, are practiced almost exclusively by men.  But I didn’t say that about sewing; all the women sew, some of them elaborately, beautifully.  They crochet.  They knit.  They know kantha stitching, traditional to this region and highly valued.  And these skills are now being employed in our upcycling projects.  The hand stitching also adds value to garments.  These are skills the men don’t have.

 

A couple of the Mehera Shaw women, Manju Ji and Meena Ji, have become trainers for the other women, guiding them though the making of new products, many of which, again, are based on their traditional skills, and maybe even patterned after things in their own homes.  They also oversee quality quality control, and have been given charge over such matters as fabric selection in the creation of up cycled products.

 

Some of the women have expressed a desire learn machine stitching as well, and they have begun training, under the guidance of our Pattern Master/Production Director.

 

But the important point about this is that the way is open for any woman at Mehera Shaw, or man, to acquire whatever skills they seek, or advance to any responsible position they are qualified for, without regard to gender, caste, or religion.

 

Another lucky aspect to having women on our staff has their interaction with our foreign interns, all of whom, up to now, have been young women.  Coming from Europe, UK, Australia, the U.S., fresh from their studies and formal training, they enter a practical realm of hands-on experience. Their appreciation for our women’s skills has been very encouraging.  And our women have been fairly persistent about drawing them into their tea circle. So friendships, sharing, and all the stuff that’s often called “cross-cultural exchange” happens surprisingly quickly and very naturally.

 

This has been very gratifying for all of us.

 

About a year ago, Shari went out to a village to attend the wedding celebration of a relative of one of our employees.  It was a a high energy night of dancing (women with women/men with men), eating, gabbing, laughing.  And she had a ball  In the midst of this, a woman approached Shari, introducing her young daughter.  “She is in the eleventh grade,” she explained.  “And she is staying in school.”

 

Somehow, she knew that Shari would care.  Possibly, the word had gone around in that village that Mehera Shaw was a “good place for women.”

 

Well, we hope so.  These are the kinds of the things that make us feel good about what we do.


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