Who Makes Our Clothes?

 

 

Abhay, Atal and Chil Bihari Chhipa

Abhay, Atal and Chil Bihari Chhipa are three generations of master tailors and block printers - the latest in a long line from an incredible family which has run the site of our northern Indian workshop for over 400 years.

A well loved institution in their community, The workshop continues to employ 50 local people on fair trade principles. Using traditional methods they hand dye, cut, sew and block print many of our garments.  They are well known as an alternative role model for good business practices, and the ongoing revival of traditional textile skills. We consider them to be an outstanding example of what can be achieved when work ethic and skill are applied to an ancient craft and we are very excited to be working them.

 

 

Ashok's Story

Ashok runs another workshop who makes our Marzipants yoga trousers. He left home at 15, taught himself English, learned how to pattern cut and sew and started his own business. When Maree first met him he was working out of a tiny shack in Goa, India, but it was clear that his craftsmanship was incredible and he was a good man of great vision. They shared an enthusiasm for style, detail and community, and vowed that one day they would work together.

Ashok now has a workshop that employs 28 women who all come from the local area – the rural, farming community where he was brought up. He is married with 2 sons, and his 4 younger brothers now help him run the business.

 

 

Shanaj's Story

Shanaj works in Ashok’s workshop and is responsible for quality control, plus she’s also a bit of an expert on the button machine. She decided against an arranged marriage when she was 15 - a brave and unusual step in her community - and instead married her childhood sweetheart. Her husband runs the local vegetable shop and they have 2 sons.

As with all the employees at this workshop she earns a good wage, enabling her to help support her family. Shanaj and her colleagues work in a happy environment, take holidays when they want and can bring their children to work if they need.