Fabrics

Gopuri Collection

The Gopuri Collection presented here is part of a larger collection curated by Gram Seva Mandal (GSM). Centrally located, it is easy to reach. GSM has an organic farm, khadi and oil crushing units and a printing press. Within GSM there is a strong sense of community and commitment. Life in the community is enriched by their connect with neighboring villages and beyond.

Vinoba
Gram Seva Mandal was established by Vinoba Bhave in the 1930's. Vinoba was visionary, considered by many as Gandhi's spiritual heir. He came into prominence in the 1950's and 60's when "he went on foot from village to village appealing to landlords to hand over at least one sixth of their land to the landless cultivators of the village." the tone of his voice was all-important, "it was never condemnatory, never harsh, Gentleness - true Ahimsa -was Vinoba's trademark. A gentleness backed by a life of such dedication and simplicity that few could listen to his pleading unmoved".  (Hallam Tenyson in Moved by Love)
Gopuri Khadi Unit
Gopuri's khadi unit is getting a makeover. A seventy year old ginning machine has been replaced. Carding and sliver machines are next in the queue. With new machines in place, GSM will be able to support 300 organic farmers, 180 spinners and 70 weavers.  The marketing strategy for their products is innovative. It builds on networks of ethical consumers, friends and family for sales. GSM campaigns on issues of concern such as GM seeds and harmful pesticides. There is a stress on exchange of ideas not just goods and money. There is a stress on experiment, experience and learning.

Rajasthan Collection

The Rajasthan Collection includes khadi from three centers located in different parts of the state - Dausa, Chomu and Bikaner. The collection has been put together by Mishika Enterprises, a social enterprise start up based in Jaipur. They are working in close collaboration with Gram Bharati Samiti (GBS), and a robust network of women's self-help group which GBS supports.

Way Forward for the Rajasthan Collection
The collection is just a beginning. Looking ahead, there are plans to build on the grassroots strength of GBS to evolve an innovative khadi programme - to be planned, managed and owned by the self-help groups. The initiative hopes to tap into the promise of solar powered spinning wheels and weaving looms. And to build on the rich textile and folk craft traditions of Rajasthan. The experience and expertise of GBS will be a big plus.
Mishika Enterprise
In the meantime, Mishika Enterprise will continue with its efforts to get the best of what is already available for the Rajasthan Collection. They have gained an experience in sourcing khadi over the past year. The learning curve has been steep - looking far and wide to get the right material and fulfilling orders, makeing sure that everything is in place.  Taking it in stride when things go wrong - getting it right and learning the right lessons - that is their forte. Mishika Enterprise is keeping aside a part of its profit to help give a kick start to GBS's khadi initiative. GBS has been a great support for Mishika in its evolution as a social enterprise.

Sabarmati Collection

Gandhi's Heritage
Sabarmati Ashram is the home of 20th Century khadi. Gandhi established an ashram on the periphery of Ahmadabad in 1915, soon after he had returned from South Africa. Two years later he moved the ashram to the banks of Sabarmati River. Further away from the center of the city. With more space to work and live in, the ashram community, the ashram community began to live a more self-sufficient way of life. Farming and textiles became important for the community - and for Gandhi when he was not on the move. For textiles the first step was to was to set up looms and learn weaving. Spinning came later when Ganga Ben Mazumdar, an enterprising associate of Gandhi, women skilled in the art of spinning. They were willing to pass on the skill to others. Within a few years the hum of spinning became a familiar sound in the ashram and in villages around the nation. Khadi's revival had begun.
Sabarmati Collection
Shailini founded MoralFibre Fabrics in 2008 after her return to Ahmadabad in 2008. Shailini's skill as an environmentally conscious architect and her international exposure helped give khadi a new direction in her home state of Gujarat. Her ability to connect with communities and her own khadi heritage have been a driving force as the the company has evolved into a major khadi exporter. They now export to 22 countries. The number is growing. MoralFibre has worked with a select number of khadi cooperatives in the state to curate an impressive collection. A range of fabrics to suit all needs.
Reinventing Khadi
MoralFibres is now playing an important role in reinventing khadi - as a system of production from seed to handcrafted clothing, A system for scaling up in small grassroots clusters, which would include organic cotton and solar energy use. A small sample of the MoralFibre collection of fabrics is featured here as the Sabarmati Collection. You can also order a swatch pack of the collection and/or a free electronic catalogue.

Kerala Collection

Think handloom and a number of places spring to mind. Kerala is one of them. The Malabar Coast was a maritime hub when the Europeans started plying their ships there for commerce. It traded in spices, ivory and textiles. The fabrics were fine and vibrant. The industry survived threat from textile imports. Looms continue to be a feature of village homes.

Gramin Srishti
Over the past few decades, khadi and handloom have evolved in different ways. Handloom weavers have been independent and enterprising. They have been innovative with their designs. Khadi has been hemmed in by bureaucracy. But they have done well with improving the yarn quality. Gramin Srishti are grounded in the handwoven tradition. Their work on khadi designs is creative.  Their fabrics combine the best of both.
The Kerala Collection
The collection presented here is part of a much larger collection of khadi designs curated by Gramin Srishti. They are open to the idea of working with designers from UK to create new khadi weaves.

Nimar Organic Handwoven Collection

Aavaran is an artisan's cooperative. It was founded in 2007 with support from Biore Foundation. Fabrics for our Nimar Organic Handwoven Collection are made in Aavaran's workshop in the small town of Kasrawad. The workshop has the capacity to make export quality fabrics - fabrics with a higher count and dyed with azo free chemicals. The workshop is also used as a training centre for women weavers. Master weavers were trained in Maheshwar, renowned for its rich textile tradition. For making khadi yarn is hand spun by women in their homes. To begin with there were ten hand spinning wheels. The number is now about seventy.

The Nimar Organic Handwoven Collection
A selection of thirteen handwoven fabrics is presented here. Fabrics with the same designs but in different colour combinations can be made on order. Aavaran has plans to introduce vegetable dyes. An organic khadi collection will be added soon.
A CSR Model
Aavaran is part of a nest of organisation's spread across three continents. Organic cotton grown is grown Tanzania and India. Fabric made from the cotton is used for making clothes in Switzerland. Remei AG is a sustainable fashion company based in Switzerland. It set up BioRe foundation in in 1997 to promote organic farming. It was a part of Remei AG's quest for a sustainable ethical supply chain. The programme now supports about 4000 farm households in Nimar. Nimar is a cotton growing area. Till recently most villages in the area were forested. There is an affinity for nature. Organic farming fits in well with local ethos. There is an extensive training programme in place. Farmers paid a premium price for the organic produce. The villages also benefit from BioRe's education programme and mobile medical services. Aavaran is supported by BioRe as a part of its initiative to provide supplementary incomes. There is a lot here for CSR initiatives in textiles to learn from.