Connecting handloom weaving skills with new fashion designs through army affected women - Innovation @ E2Expo
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Connecting handloom weaving skills with new fashion designs through army affected women
Updated : November 2020
Textile industry sustainability professionals
Building a new life for army affected women through handloom weaving
The Fabric Social creates sustainable silk and cotton shirts and dresses for the Australian women’s market. It is a conscious label, combining Australian design talent with the grassroots handloom weaving skills. They work with communities to create ethical fashion for the e-commerce marketplace. The Fabric Social through its business functions promotes a participatory market solution to poverty alleviation.
Throughout the clothing production process, the practice revives local supply chains, and maintains traditional practices such as handloom fabrics. They also enable the use of a smartphone app to bridge the gap between isolated women weavers, and consumers looking for sustainable clothing.
The Fabric Social is a conscious clothing label working exclusively with women affected by armed conflict, putting an end to their economic isolation. By zeroing in on war torn areas, the company is targeting one of the primary causes of armed conflict: poverty. Falling between the cultural tropes of South Asia and South East Asia, the Northeast struggles to maintain its tribal identities while simultaneously struggling to reap any benefits from mainstream Indian culture. They bring the digital revolution to the village, and link women weavers with consumers who value their products.
Highlights and sustainability benefits
Fabric Social's clothing is environmentally sustainable and eco-friendly. They use natural fibres, design low-waste patterns and use non-toxic dyes in the process
They have (more than) doubled the daily wage of the weavers with which they work, bringing the dormant looms back to life. A small sustainable wage frees these women up to be active participants in their communities.
About the Work
Their primary eri supplier is Srishti NGO, based out of a small village in rural Assam. Eri silkworms are native to Northeast India, often called ‘ahimsa’ or peace-silk as the process does not involve harm to the silkworm. 100% of the eri silk is cultivated in villages in upper Assam. No chemicals or pesticides are used to cultivate the castor trees, and the eri-silk is cut and spun by hand. Village production involves collective work, for shared benefit and is lead by women. Many of the villages that supply the silk are also headed by women. Their khadi-cotton is sourced from a small village in rural Assam that has been supporting local producers for more than 75 years. The cotton flowers are grown all over India - hand-picked and sorted, and come to Assam to be spun into yarn. Their khadi producers are all women, who use traditional hand spinning techniques to create the yarn.
They are shortlisted finalists as part of PayPal People Rule Competition and UN Women Project Inspire.