Sustainable Threads India
This striking product is hand-woven by an artisan cooperative from Northeast India which employs indigenous women. These artisans are skilled at creating intricately woven stylish pieces that incorporate traditional design elements and skills.
Cotton fabric is woven by women using frame looms. These looms are crafted fusing bamboo and other locally available materials. Artisans carefully string cotton threads dyed with vibrant azo-free dyes vertically upon the loom.
Handwoven fabrics are meticulously planned and created requiring a complex estimation: depending on the design, either a single color in the warp and a different color in the weft or several different colors both in the warp and weft are strung; determination of how closely the warp yarns will be placed next to each other; precise calculation of where the next color thread will be incorporated (e.g. 1 inch stripes;) and careful calculation for minimal loom waste are some other steps of the process. Handweaving is unforgiving as once woven, mistakes can't be reversed as weaves can’t be undone.
This fabric is tailored into the wide range of products we carry from this cooperative, such as pillow covers, scarves, napkins, bags, photo frames, table runners, and more. Because of the range of products, less fabric is wasted as smaller pieces are used to fashion other products.
Handmade using bamboo looms
Low impact dyes
Reusable - machine washableMinimal fabric waste
Fair Trade Benefits
Fair, steady income
Employs indigenous artisans
Artisan representation allows for a great deal of artisan participation and input
Artisans work from home, allowing greater flexibility
Provides medical coverage and annual bonuses
Other indirect impacts
Artisans are able to learn skills which help them renegotiate their social position in their families and communities. The cooperative organization aids in women coming together, providing more opportunities for women on key issues. They also may have a higher possibility to provide education for their children and to acquire comforts to make their day-to-day tasks easier.
Artisans - Context and Benefits
These artisans live in an area that has been mired in conflict for over a decade and is not only economically, but also environmentally unstable. Annual, unpredictable monsoon flooding devastates farmland in this agriculture-dependent region. As a result of these instabilities, many people experience poverty and landlessness.
This cooperative was formed as a project of a local non-governmental organization. The project was designed to tap into the existing skills of weavers to expand income opportunities for women. They made a commitment to work specifically with the poorest of the weavers in this region and continue to do so today. The group steadily grew, forming a trust, employing over one-hundred local weavers.