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Our Story - Vision - Values

 

OUR MISSION

Our mission is to be a force for good in the garment industry. To create beautiful, high quality, handcrafted products through equitable relationships and sustainable practices within the fashion industry. To work directly with artisans at every step in the production process. 

 

Our work is born of Jaipur, India.

"We started out motivated by our love of India, its artisan crafts and wanting the freedom to have our own business.  We felt intuitively the importance of treating people with respect and dignity as a fundamental part of our own humanity.  We also felt we wanted to use natural fibers, artisan textiles and have a high quality standard.  We have always been deeply inspired by Gandhi's philosophy and life and feel motivated to do things in the best way possible.  Gradually we realized there was a world of people who had a similar vision and so we engaged with terms like 'fair trade', 'ethical', 'sustainable' as a means of connecting to others who share our belief in fundamental human and environmental values.  

Underlying the language of sustainable fashion and manufacture, are good business practices.  These practices are the road to sustainability and the only thing that makes sense.  I like the term 'sustainable' the best because it also speaks to something which is at the very core of being human.  Our vision must include everyone in the making process.  And collectively, we must sustain everyone in the making process and our environment if we and our children are to endure.  We are all in this together.  We must find, and act according to, our humanity —  be kind, respectful, sincere, do things well and make things that will last." --Shari Keller, Director

Mehera Shaw block printing

VISION

A People-Centered Approach

Our vision is born of a belief in
human dignity
people helping people
a market need for a
well-designed, affordable and sustainable product .

 

VALUES

Join us in our people-centered approach to sustainability. 
We all share in the project of making clothing more sustainable.
We take an integrated approach and consider people, planet and design in our work.
  • We adhere to all fair labour standards in all our in-house production and partner with artisan textile producers in India who are social enterprises and work to the same ethical standard. We support artisan handmade at every step along our supply chain and promote artisan craft whenever possible.  We develop long-term working relationships with artisan printers, weavers and with women artisans who produce handwork. 
  • environmental standards (including water filtration, usage, energy consumption) and design process (including up cycling) so that we are truly as sustainable as possible. We use low-impact fabrics such as handloom cotton, linen, certified organic cottons, artisan textiles, and upcycled textiles in every collection. Azo free dyes and have installed a water filtration system for our block printing unit.
  • thoughtful design which considers the quality of the fabric, production process, context of production, logistics.  We also consider the longevity of the design itself and educate customers about the life and care of the garment, recycling, up-cycling. We believe sustainable fashion is only sustainable through quality design, which wears well over time and reflects the story of its production. Sustainable fashion is only sustainable through quality design, which wears well over time and reflects the story of its production.

Everyone participates in the supply chain by their choices.
We all share in the project of making clothing more sustainable.
Sustainable fashion is only sustainable through quality design, which wears well over time and reflects the story of its production.

 

  • We adhere to all fair labour standards in all our in-house production and partner with artisan textile producers in India who are social enterprises and work to the same ethical standard. We support artisan handmade at every step along our supply chain and promote artisan craft whenever possible.  We develop long-term working relationships with artisan printers, weavers and with women artisans who produce handwork. 
  • environmental standards (including water filtration, usage, energy consumption) and design process (including up cycling) so that we are truly as sustainable as possible. We use low-impact fabrics such as handloom cotton, linen, certified organic cottons, artisan textiles, and upcycled textiles in every collection. Azo free dyes and have installed a water filtration system for our block printing unit.
  • thoughtful design which considers the quality of the fabric, production process, context of production, logistics.  We also consider the longevity of the design itself and educate customers about the life and care of the garment, recycling, up-cycling. We believe sustainable fashion is only sustainable through quality design, which wears well over time and reflects the story of its production. Sustainable fashion is only sustainable through quality design, which wears well over time and reflects the story of its production.

"Thoughtful design goes hand-in-hand with beautifully made, hand-crafted textiles. Sustainable production, artisan craft and thoughtful design must be integrated to create a new business model, that of slow fashion. When all aspects are integrated, and the makers have a voice and are part of the process, then there is real trade.  We need fair trade in place now, to protect artisan rights, but trade alone should be the equitable exchange of both ideas and goods between people and should work toward the greater good.  We work on the principle that we are engaged at every step of production, with the people, the story, the equitable exchange of goods and ideas for the greater good.” —Shari Keller, Director

 

ENVIRONMENTAL PRACTICES

We use environmentally positive production practices to reduce our footprint as much as possible. 

  • We use only natural fibers (cotton, linen, silk), no synthetics.  
  • We use only low-impact, AZO free dyes and pigments, or for special collections, vegetable dyes (with no heavy-metal mordants).
  • We use GOTS certified organic cotton whenever possible. To date, when organic cotton is not available, we use cloth that has not been processed after looming, thus by-passing the addition of chemical additives that are normally present in commercially loomed cotton.
  • We use handloom fabrics made by artisan cooperatives in India. Many of our garments are made of “khadi”, which is to say natural fibres fabric that has been spun and loomed by hand without the use of electricity. The khadi industry was founded by Mahatma Gandhi with the emphasis on giving Indian villagers a path to self-sufficiency. Mehera Shaw is, and will continue to be, an enthusiastic and appreciative, supporter of the khadi movement. To learn more about what sustainability means to us click here.
  • We have developed an artisan-based water filtration and rain catchment system to our block printing unit so that our wash water from block printing can be recycled.
  • We have developed an upcyling project for post-production scrap fabric to reduce our textile waste.

INTEGRATED WORKING

We have integrated our manufacturing, brand and foundation in a transparent and vertical supply chain using: fair labour standards as well as sustainable fabrics and artisan textiles on the production side; excellence in design and high-quality production standards, and; artisan upcycling programs within the foundation projects. Our commitment to both sustainability and design allows us to work in a more organically connected way with our entire team.

 

MEHERA SHAW TEAM

Mark and Shari Keller are the founders and owners of Mehera Shaw (both the brand and the private limited company), but our Jaipur staff are the heart of our story. Together with our Jaipur team, we've built up our company one day at a time.  

We are a small company made up of our management team, pattern masters, production manager, quality checkers, artisan printers and stitchers.  We work on each and every project as a team.

 

OUR STORY

Our Founders - Shari and Mark Keller

We started the Mehera Shaw brand in 1999 motivated by a desire to work with the highly-skilled block print artisans of Jaipur, India to develop beautiful handmade clothing. We wanted to work in a more equitable way which would also reflect the traditional designs and beauty of block prints.  Our deeper motivation has always been, quite simply, a love of working in India and a belief in Mahatma Gandhi's ideals for humanity. 

We both have long-standing connections to India and had worked with artisans in India and in the American market for several years before starting our brand.

We founded our fair trade, private limited production company in 2007 as an ethical and sustainable manufacturing company to ensure we were a vertical company that could guarantee worker rights for artisans, fair trade standards, supply chain transparency and improved environmental standards.

Shari has since become the executive director with a vision for the company.  She is also the creative director for our Mehera Shaw brand, and loves to design block prints when she gets time. She was an anthropologist in a former life with a background in design, which led in a long and circuitous, yet surprisingly clear path, to the world of artisan textiles. 

“I first visited India when I was seven years old.  It changed my life.   I fell in love— with India, with artisan textiles and a different vision of the world. My love of textiles led me into design and my love of India led me to work with textile artisans. As a graduate student, my research with artisans in India opened my eyes to the need for a more sustainable way of doing business.

I am dedicated to the belief that safe and dignified working conditions and transparent, equitable relationships are the only way to do business. I have been working with artisans in India on this principle from the start of our enterprise.” —Shari

 

 

Fit/Sizing/Care

FIT

Our styles are meant to give room to breath and move.  We use fine tailoring coupled with a relaxed, comfortable fit.

We use a fit guide for each of our styles to provide more information about the fit that was intended.

Slim Fit: a close fit to the body. Regular Fit: a comfortable, relaxed fit with room around the body. Generous Fit: a very loose fit (such as in our oversized blouses) with lots of room around the body for ease of movement.

SIZING

h4XS/ 36

h4S/ 38

h4M/40

h4L/ 42

h4XL/44

h4chest

h435.5 inches/ 90 cm

h437.5 inches/95 cm

h439.5 inches/ 100 cm

h441.5 inches/ 105 cm

h444.5 inches. 113 cm

h44cm extra from body

h4waist

h426 inches/ 66 cm

h428 inches/ 71 cm

h430 inches/ 76 cm

h432 inches/ 81 cm

h435 inches/ 89 cm

h4fitted

h4low waist

h428 inches/71 cm

h430 inches/76 cm

h432 inches/ 81 cm

h434 inches/ 86 cm

h437 inches/ 94 cm

h4fitted

h4hip

h437 inches/ 94 cm

h439 inches/ 99 cm

h441 inches/ 104 cm

h443 inches/ 109 cm

h446 inches/ 1

h44cm extra from body

WASHCARE

All garments have been washed several times during the printing/dyeing and manufacturing process.  

CARE for 100% cotton

We recommend cold water machine wash (up to 30 degrees celsius) with a bio detergent and either tumble dry on low heat or line dry in shade for all of our 100% cotton garments/homewares (except for quilts).  

Iron on reverse side of garment following fabric settings.  

Do not use bleach or stain remover.

Cold water wash and low heat drying or line drying in the shade will increase the life of the garment, prolong the vibrancy of the colors and reduce energy use. Shrinkage on all cottons is minimal, approximately 3%.

Garments/homewares are dyed or printed using AZO free, low-impact, pigment or reactive dyes unless otherwise noted.  These dyes are color-fast, but care should still be taken to wash with like colors to retain the vibrancy of the colors.

CARE for 100% cotton quilts

For quilts with cotton fill, we recommend spot or light surface cleaning only with a damp cloth and mild detergent.  Eco-friendly dry cleaning is also recommended. 

CARE for herbal/vegetable dye items

Vegetable dyes are not colorfast and are specifically marked in the product description.  We strongly recommend that all vegetable dye products be washed once before use in a cold water wash with minimal detergent.  Wash separately. Tumble dry on low heat or line dry in shade.  Iron on reverse side.  Do not use bleach or stain remover.

Please keep in mind that indigo dye does continually fade over time.  This is the nature of true indigo dye and is not a defect, but rather a sign of the 'living' nature of the dye.

CARE for silk and cotton/silk

For our silk and cotton silk garments/homewares, we also recommend gentle cycle machine wash cold water (up to 30 degrees celsius) or delicate hand washing to increase the life of the garment and reduce the environmental footprint from energy use, detergents and water wastage.  

Tumble dry on low heat or line dry in shade.  

Iron on reverse side of garment following fabric settings.

Do not use bleach or stain remover.

Dry cleaning using an eco-friendly service is also recommended.

CARE for linen and cotton/linen

For our linen and cotton linen garments/homewares, we also recommend gentle cycle machine wash cold water (up to 30 degrees celsius) or delicate hand washing to increase the life of the garment and reduce the environmental footprint from energy use, detergents and water wastage.  

Tumble dry on low heat or line dry in shade.  

Iron on reverse side of garment following fabric settings.

Do not use bleach or stain remover.