A Rajasthan-based social enterprise is organising its first independant exhibition featuring handspun garments created from organic materials.
Here today, gone tomorrow; this phrase sums up quite accurately the way fashion trends swirl within our consciousness. To please the style conscious, fashion retailers often stock up on ‘fast fashion collections’. Garments that mirror the latest fashion trends, often manufactured using quick and inexpensive means, are disposed of as soon as the trend fades away, leading to a lot of waste.
While this phenomenon helps us stay fashion-forward, it causes the environment to suffer serious setbacks. To stymie the damage, some in the industry have started pursuing the ‘slow fashion’ movement to try to minimise the damage to the environment. Working on similar lines is The Stitching Project, a Rajasthan-based social enterprise that gives you a chance to not just view such creations, but purchase them as well.
The enterprise’s first independent exhibition in the city, Keepers, has been formulated on the idea to produce designs using organic fibres and garments that will be seen as lasting pieces and are for keeps.
Fiona Wright, co-founder of The Stitching Project, says the exhibition will have on display clothes that have been hand-spun and designed by local women from Rajasthan.
“We wanted to generate work for the villagers, especially women, because they need it. The handloom fabric used by us comes directly from weavers in Bengal, Bihar, Rajasthan and Gujarat. We have about 80 women who work with us. And 20 locals working in our workshop in Pushkar,” says Fiona.
And the pure-khadi outfits have been dyed in natural colours. The co-founder emphasises that the focus of the exhibition is to offer patrons garments that are sustainable, so that they get a chance to reduce their carbon footprint.
Thirty-one-year-old Manju Devi, who has been stitching garments for the past two years, feels empowered with the work. “I like the work here. As much as I have gained self-confidence with this work, I think it is important that we use organic clothing,” says Manju.
The same feeling is echoed by Usha, who performs quality checks on the garments. She says, “I never worked before this. The job helps me make money and has also given employment to 40-50 women from my village. I like the work very much.” Talking about the enterprise’s pledge to create sustainable fashion, Fiona says, “We try really hard to throw nothing out. I know we are in a terrible industry, but we try very hard to step as lightly as we can.”
While they may be concentrating on sustainable clothing, the enterprise will also be teaching journal-making at the exhibition. The workshop will help participants’ fashion their own journals using recycled paper and strips of old fabric.
“It’s nice to make things yourself. You appreciate things a lot more when you know the effort that has gone into making them,” smiles Fiona, who will be conducting this workshop.
Asked if adhering to their philosophy of ‘handmade, well-made and long-lasting’, they will be creating goods apart from garments, Fiona says, “We want to create work. So wherever we can use handmade fabric stitching and imagination, we will experiment.”
— From May 3 to 5, At Artisans’ Gallery, Kala Ghoda