January 30, 2012

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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

Cooperatives Panel Discussion: Shari Keller for Mehera Shaw at the EFF Source Expo, October 2011





As several people have commented on the value of the Source Expo panel discussions and I myself also found them to be incredibly fabulous resources, I thought I'd post some of my "pre-answers" that I had formulated in preparation for speaking on the panel about Cooperative Producers in developing countries who produce in a sustainable manner. I would like to thank Tamsin LeJeune and all those at EFF who made the Source Expo possible and hope that my thoughts can contribute to developing the network of people who believe in ethical fashion.

Shari Keller - Mehera Shaw
How is Mehera Shaw championing marginalized producer groups?
We work with artisan block and screen printers who are considered marginalized in the sense that they have a finished product but limited access to the western market. We work directly with them, allowing them to set the price based on the current market. We make a point of including prints in a very prominent way in every collection we make and of seeking out clients who also want to use artisan prints in their collections. When using prints, we also seek to incorporate traditional Indian design elements into our collections in a manner that brings about a positive blend of East and West. We use both traditional print motifs commonly seen in the market as well as developing our own prints. In this way we work to bring new ideas into the printing community, discuss what market trends are there. We also work with printers to plan ahead to print on organic cotton which takes special consideration as the width is different and the grade of dyestuff is, in this case, certified organic. When working with artisan producer groups, we are seeking a cultural connection as expressed through the final design. The design should take into consideration the nature of the art or craft and use it to it’s best ability so that it becomes inherently valuable in the market, rather than being seen as a lower quality craft item that perhaps does not have lasting value. Part of the mission of Mehera Shaw is to uphold Gandhi’s principle of decentralized, rural production which allows a more traditional way of life and reduces city over population and the degradation of the family structure.
In our website and with our customers, we also tell the story of the printers, in photos, in words, in descriptions of the how the prints and clothes are made. Our clothing is not an industrial product divorced from it’s place of production. It is imbued with the lives and stories of the people who made it. The look and feel of the final product, especially when done to it’s finest level, tells a story of beauty, artistry and regard.

What were the challenges involved and how have you overcome them?
Communication is always the greatest challenge. Real communication is two-way, it is not simply a matter of getting the producer to understand the needs of the buyer. It is also incumbent on the buyer to understand the constraints and skills of the producer. Communication is a long-term relationship--a commitment to people. When a designer or buyer sees something of beauty that they would like to include in their collection, it is important to realize it may take time to work out the details of the look, the quality standard, the necessary lead times. All too often, details and quality control issues are assumed on both sides, creating the potential for misunderstanding. It take patience, listening, support and respect to communicate effectively. Many times producer groups have a very high degree of skill but are missing the understanding of how to finish a product so it appears packaged for the western market. It takes effort on the part of the designer or buyer then to demonstrate how the finished product should look--to give similar examples, to show a range of what is acceptable, to train people in the quality standard. none of these things can be taken for granted.

How have you worked with groups to preserve artisanal techniques?
We always start with something simple so as to have the best chance as success and thereby build a rapport. We see what a group is already doing, find an example that suits our needs and make as few changes as possible. We discuss at length the quality standard, the lead times, who does the work, in what setting (at work or in the home), what variations can we expect in the product, both within one order and across orders at different times of year. then we go one round of ordering and see what things work and what don’t without placing too much expectation on the first round. Only gradually do we make more design changes as we learn their skills and time frame. We learn how a group thinks, how they see things. Not everyone can express the constraints within which they work verbally, so much of the process is understood through observation. On my side, it is also a matter of education and skill development. If the artisan skill can be integrated into a design suitable for the western market, and the quality control and links along the supply chain can be connected, the artisan work will be valued and preserved. Artisan work is almost always admired, it is finding the specific ways to work to get the product into a final product suitable for the western market that is the challenge. The preservation of the techniques in the process of integrating them into the marketable design and in improving the quality so it has lasting value.
It takes more effort, but when the product is really something of value to the end consumer rather than just a feel-good hang tag, the market will also continue to support artisan made products.


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