ABOUT : We support this vision of Indigenous Industries to promote localised handcraft and shift the focus back to slow-made, traditional and sustainable production processes. At present, the company employs 25 people - dyeing, cutting and stitching - and all are treated with respect, paid above a living wage, and have access to medical insurance and pension schemes.
Vincent, Aadil and their staff have spent years perfecting their dyeing methods and their fabric quality in order to produce consistent and durable colours. Aadil directly trains new employees to ensure high quality production.
Each of our garments from edition 3 has been pattern cut, fabric cut, dyed and manufactured under the same roof in Ahmedabad, ensuring ethical standards throughout. Everything connected with our product here, all the production and labelling, involves only natural dyes, organic cotton, natural eco-fibres and handwoven fabrics; the intention is on to maintain little to no environmental impact.
We have worked alongside Indigenous Industries, meticulously ensuring the quality and functionality of our material, and creating custom-made shades of natural dyes for our collection. The hope of Vincent and Aadil, which we share, it that rural, community-based production methods will survive and prosper in Asia, providing secure employment opportunities to artisans where they already live rather than in industrialised cities that will not improve either their standard of living or their welfare.
OUR JOURNAL: Based in a small rural village outside Sarkej, Ahmedbad, we visited Indigenous manufacturing centre twice on our production trip in India, first to view and work along-side the tailors on our initial samples and then two weeks later to view our final samples in our selected fabrics and dyes.
Without wishing to be negative we didn’t find the area of sarkej, particularly safe as females and it was overwhelmingly busy and polluted.
However, we soon came to realise that in this over populated city which thrived on textile production, manufacturing centres like indigenous are essential. Not only for their natural and sustainable production methods, in the thick hazy city but for its fair wages, safe working enviroment and ambition for women’s equality in the work place and the city.
Mehboob was the most advanced and experience tailor who worked on most of our samples, he then instructed the rest of tailors on the garment construction complexities. Mehboob was shy yet has a mischievous, warm smile, he enjoyed producing our samples and laughed whilst we tried them on and pranced around the workshop (the best way to check and alter the fit.)
We could truly appreciate that all the tailors whilst creating our products were meticulous about their sewing and finishing, this resonates with our ethos of well-made long-lasting clothing. They’ve been taught to be proud of the products they’re producing, to work slower on each piece rather than swiftly like the large manufacturing units they’ve worked for locally. Indigenous like us believes in quality over quantity each day, that’s why they pay the employees by the hour rather the piece by piece work to ensure quality is met, over the number of units they’ve produced.
We were also surprised to hear from the employees themselves that they actively choose to do over time, they enjoy working late for the social side as well as the pay. We recognised very quickly that work for them here wasn’t just work, it was a place of friendship, a calm and protected space away from those busy streets. Indigenous never pushes for the manufacturers to complete units in an unrealistic time frame or short deadline, it does mean this production method is slightly lengthier, however for the well being of the people producing our garments and for our products to be made well is vital and significant to our ethos.
Thoughts by Gracie Sutton - AK Threads founder on the ED 3 Production trip