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Threads of Spring: The Traditional Weaves of Andhra Pradesh

Threads of Spring: The Traditional Weaves of Andhra Pradesh

In celebration of Vogue Fashion Night Out and Fashion Week, our wonderful Cloth & Co. team have pulled together a fashion and floral installation at St Collins Lane in the heart of the beautiful Melbourne CBD.

Vogue Fashion Night Out - St Collins Lane

Threads of Spring: The Traditional Weaves of Andhra Pradesh is a fashion and floral installation that reflects the journey of hand loom from the weavers to the runway.

Handloom weavers are the single largest group of artisans in India, which has one of the richest traditions and variety of this craft. Each region has its own particular style of weaving using traditional designs and motifs – every weave no matter how small or ordinary has its own distinctive character. 

Cloth & Co. sources hand-loomed textiles from traditional artisans across India.  We focus on high quality, organic and natural fibres; bringing the beauty of hand woven fabrics to our collections.

Our aim is to promote and revive this luxurious craft through contemporary fashion & homewares; enriching the lives of the skilled craftspeople & communities who practice it.

By promoting hand loomed, natural fibres and the traditional artisan techniques we strive for ethical practice and positive change, reducing the environmental, ethical and social impact of the fast fashion industry. 

Our incredible dress was made by our very talented Grace Richards, utilising a beautiful hand loomed ikat fabric.

Ikat Warp, Hand Loomed

Ikat is an age old dyeing technique that employs resist dyeing on the yarns prior to weaving. We have engaged our artisans on this project to create a bold statement for the preservation of hand craft, and the appreciation of artisan skills as part of Vogue Fashion Night Out.

Ikat on the loom

Our beautiful dress appears to be naturally evolving from the warp from which is was woven, while a trail of Australian native Paper Daisies are left in her wake.

Vogue Fashion Night Out - St Collins Lane Melbourne

The incredible floral head piece was the creation of our lovely in house florist Jennifer Pridham, creating an ethereal and goddess like vision of the Collins Street entrance of St Collins Lane.
 

A big thank you to our incredible installation team! (from left to right) Jennifer Pridham, Caroline Poiner, Daisy Poiner & Grace Richards.

 

Khadi - The Fabric of Freedom

Khadi - The Fabric of Freedom

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world” - Mahatma Gandhi

Khadi is at the heart of Gandhi’s freedom movement and seems to be more and more relevant with what is going on in our world today.

In India, Khadi was at the heart of Mahatma Gandhi’s movement to promote an ideology of self-reliance during the struggle for independence. 

 

Every piece of Khadi cloth is unique as a result of a labour intensive weaving process, starting with the spinning of cotton into yarn using a spinning wheel called a chakra, with textural variations, a testament to its handmade origins. 

 

Cloth & Co. sources its products at grassroots level, working with artisan communities across India to create luxurious textiles from highly skilled weavers working with handloom.

India’s industrialization and participation in the modern world economy is decades old. Nevertheless, millions of Indians still depend on indigenous modes of production, traditional skills and techniques to make a living based on handmade products. These craftspeople or artisans are the backbone of the non-farm rural economy, with an estimated 7 million artisans according to official figures, including many women whom there are limited avenues of employment available. 

Khadi is the most sustainable and eco-friendly product which does not use any electrical support. It is the only textile activity which does not utilize fossil fuel. Conventional cotton production is known for it's impact on the environment through water usage and chemical fertilisers where as with khadi this is vastly reduced, particularly with the increase in organic cotton farming  - the production of one metre of khadi fabric consumes three litres of water whereas a conventional textile mill would need 55 litres?

Cloth & Co. source a range of beautiful Khadi cotton from various regions across India that is then woven by skilled weavers in Bihar state in India’s North. With master weavers and skilled artisans, handloom weaving is a heritage craft in this State, being the biggest employer after agriculture. Recent years have seen a revival of handloom weaving and techniques that were on the verge of dying out.

View our collection of Khadi which is available now.

Cushions & throws are available in Natural, Ink, Tea, Stone, Dove & Steel Blue (new).

With Khadi’s organic and zero carbon footprint qualities and it’s unique texture that can only be achieved with hand-spun yarn, our collection of sumptuous cushions and throws not only look and feel beautiful but their production is having a positive impact on people and the environment.

Photographs of khadi taken by Praveen Chauhan in Bihar.

 

 

 

Reference: P.K in Orissan Handicrafts in the Age of Globalization: Threats and Opportunities, and Mukherjee D in Indian Handlooms and Handicrafts: Issues and Experiences, 2009

 

 

Madurai Weavers

Madurai Weavers

Together we are making a difference.

With thanks to you, our valued customers, 2016 has been a good year for many of our artisan groups who have benefited from increased work and opportunities to develop and broaden their skills.   

Our commitment to social, economic, and environmental responsibilities goes beyond fair wages and safe working conditions. We are committed to building long-term, holistic partnerships with our artisan producer groups and women’s cooperatives. These relationships, in turn, empower these people to sustainably grow and develop their businesses and communities.

One community we work closely with produces our gorgeous hand-loomed organic cotton towels and table cloths.  These products are beautifully made by a group of women weavers living in the villages outside Madurai in Southern India.  They are part of the Dalit community - otherwise known as scheduled caste or untouchables who were mostly illiterate and unskilled, living a life of social backwardness, poverty and misery.   These women are employed by a wonderful small cooperative founded specifically to help empower women and alleviate poverty. 

Cloth & Co. has partnered with this organisation for almost 4 years helping to provide continuous employment and skills development for 37 women.   These women participate in training programs across all aspects of weaving from pre-looming to finishing and quality control, enabling them to increase their income potential and ensuring self reliance and social respect. Beyond the skills development the organisation also provides childcare and full health care facilities for the women and their children.  

DID YOU KNOW...... The artisan sector is renowned for being unregulated, so often the artisans are not guaranteed pay until the merchant sells their products, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation.  One of Cloth & Co’s fair trade practices requires paying our producers for 50% of our order upfront, with the balance paid when the products are ready to be shipped.  This practice ensures that not only can our artisans afford the materials to produce the products,  they will be paid a fair price no matter the sales outcome.

There is so much love, attention and care that goes into these beautiful products, for example; each bath towel takes a day to weave and three hours to tie the tassels, not to mention the growing of the cotton, picking the cotton, spinning the yarn, setting up the loom (which takes two days), stitching and finishing.

Shop some of our Madurai Weavers products: