June 29, 2009


India › Jaipur › Shari's Notes ›



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

Shari's Notes From Jaipur

Shari Keller, the Designer and Creative Director for Mehera Shaw, writes from our production studio in Jaipur, India:

Deepali, our shop lady, quality control checker and computer person, Vijay, and Rajan, our manager for everything at our Jaipur Store
I have been in Jaipur for the past 10 days working out new designs and sourcing fabrics for future collections. I work at our Mehera Shaw production studio in which is located in an affluent neighborhood in Jaipur. I’ve had a rather strong desire to try out some Chinese influenced designs lately, so I’ve sketched out a tunic style with Mandarin collar, quilted front and back insets, and beautifully hand-done, Chinese buttons. I’ve added to that a style of traditional Ladakh pants and hopefully we’ll make a Ladakhi quilted vest as well. In general, my imagination has been leading me along the Silk Road for inspiration, so I also have some richly quilted long coats, trimmed in velvet with Chinese/Russian buttons. Before my trip to Jaipur, we shot some fashion photos of our upcoming fall collection and kept our model going with images of yak herding Mongolian princesses. My fictional muse is now named “Yasminka” and is able to lead large herds across the Mongolian plains while looking gorgeous in multiple turbans, a quilted jacket, Ladakhi pants, and perhaps a saber at her side. What does all this have to do with you and me and a stylish urban fashionista? The challenge I suppose, is to bring all my imaginative wanderings into focus in a very wearable, comfortable, yet richly intoned and decidedly feminine style. Hints from my style muses filter down into something urban, stylish, unique. I love the hint of the Orient and the wearability of the West.

My desk, before it got too messy

On this trip, we also searched for and found a new block printer. We are always on the lookout for new artisans to work with and this was a particularly good discovery. He specializes in the vegetable dyes of Bagru village, a centuries old tradition that has been developed to the point of true artistry. The printing techniques are dependent on the weather, quality of the water, drying times, and absorption of the fabric. All these elements influence the colors, so the mixers and printers are truly master artisans at work. I always find myself lost in the beauty of a print, noting how it changes characteristics when done in different color schemes. It is usually difficult to limit myself in choice of prints. Often, as I work, I choose a print and develop it into new and slightly modified color schemes. On this trip, the vegetable dye colors were so lovely and earthy, I decided to go ahead and use them as is since they brought the richness of my oriental inspirations to light.

Madanji, our pattern master, putting a new sample on the dress form

I am also developing a few original prints, blending the characteristics of the traditional block print motifs with stylized floral patterns and contrasting shades of intense jewel tones and muted pastels. There is almost limitless possibility in this realm. I love the freedom of imagination reigned in by my guiding principles: beauty, femininity, and wearability.

Ramuji, our cutter, Hanumanji, our sample maker, and Madanji, our pattern master

I have come to have great respect for those who are working here in our studio now. Our pattern master is brilliant at making lovely clothes from my sketches. Our cutter is equally as talented in making sure the patterns and prints are cut just so. They take the care that few people even consider doing. Each day, at our shop in the states, I hear people comment on the quality of the cuts, the stitching. Praise for this goes to our stitchers: a small group of men (yes, in India the men are typically the stitchers, pattern masters, and cutters). Day after day, they carefully make beautiful clothes. They are all ordinary people; but they are doing their best. All these bits and pieces, on a human scale, are felt in our clothing.

So, needless to say, I love every minute of the whole process—from sourcing and developing beautiful fabrics to working out the designs with our staff.

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