Our daughter Claire, a fashion design and merchandising major, has been writing for Hand/Eye magazine, one of the most beautiful, colorful, vivid and cultural magazines I’ve ever seen. Hand/Eye Magazine showcases fair trade, fashion & sewing that empowers women. As a follower of the blogs and fiction of Rebeca Schiller, I came across Hand/Eye.
Here is an excerpt from one of Claire’s latest articles:
Transforming the lives of exploited women in India
From quilts to scarves, recycled saris are hand sewn by Indian commercial sex workers, who seek to overcome their situation by stitching together narratives of their lives and their surroundings.
Anchal Project, a nonprofit organization, works to transform the lives of exploited women in India by providing entrepreneurial opportunities through textile and design production. Launched in 2010 by Colleen Clines and Devon Miller, Anchal serves as a vehicle for social change, utilizing design skills to create unique economic results. The company provides a community of support, health programs, counseling and local leadership that aids in the rehabilitation of this vulnerable population.
Women are taught kantha quilt making, a region-traditional stitching technique that is commonly practiced by impoverished Indian women.
Design training is provided by the U.S. based Anchal team. Because each kantha product is unique, the artisans are empowered to perform design decisions on their own. As individuals become more experienced, they are granted the opportunity to move up to leadership positions, where they can serve as senior artisans or project managers. They recruit and support newer artisans …
Every design begins with a sari. Vintage saris are collected from one-to-one vendors to ensure consistent product flow and income.
… Anchal searches for the “heirloom quality” pieces that tell a story. “They are given a second life and personify the beauty and spirit of the artisans we work with. Much like our artisans, the saris we use over time are developed into a beautiful and bold new identity.”
… As the rich textile product comes to life, the completed piece becomes invaluable to the maker as well as the owner.
Anchal continues to grow through the formation of new partnerships and design workshops. They recently paired with Urban Outfitters to introduce new stitching and embellishment techniques to over forty new artisans.