Manufacturing in India: a choice against the trend.
by KIND STUDIO·
From the very beginning - and even before, when we were conceiving Kind Studio - we chose to work with Indian craft workshops. It's a choice that's been the subject of controversy, often due to misinformation about made in India and its implications. We thought it would be a good idea to take a closer look. We explain why we make part of our collections in India.
The little story of Kind Studio
It is not by chance or by economic interest that we have chosen India as the main country for the design of our garments.
Linda, the founder and creator of the brand, has worked closely with India for nearly two years. Through her travels and her encounters, she became aware of the importance of Indian textile culture: a fundamental culture, rich and filled with know-how that does not exist anywhere else.
When building Kind Studio - during 2019, Linda wanted to continue her adventure with India by collaborating with artisan workshops in the choice of textiles and the manufacture of clothing. This choice made it possible to bring consistency to its approach: the desire to have a positive social impact, even beyond the choice to create eco-responsible clothing.
Our partners in India
We work with Chaiim Humanitarian Clothing, the production workshop created by the Chaiim Foundation for the manufacture of clothing. We trust Khaloom for the design of handwoven, organic and recycled textiles.
The COVID-19 pandemic, having strongly impacted India, has made any trip there impossible for the past two years. However, we have adapted and worked remotely to continue these collaborations.
India for clothing design: a coherent choice.
India, an ultra-rich textile culture
Weavings, embroideries, dyes, woodblock prints, etc. - so many traditional skills that have been a hallmark of Indian textile culture for hundreds of years.
Europe's interest in Indian know-how dates back to the 16th century, with in particular the importation of the first printed cotton fabrics, called "Indienne" , used both for furnishings and for clothing.
Before that, Europe did not know cotton. The success of this fiber comes from the fact that this fabric is light, thin and resistant. Above all, it was dyed or printed with the most attractive colors and patterns.
Today, it is not for nothing that this country still fascinates so much with its textile wealth. India is the main producer of cotton and has a flourishing textile industry, as much for clothing as for linen and furnishings. Artisanal and industrial production still cohabit there.
It was the handcrafted textiles that seduced us, both for their beauty and their uniqueness and for their reduced environmental impact and their strong social impact, corresponding to the values of the brand.
Cotton grows… in India!
Organic cotton clothing made in Europe makes us believe that these are 100% local and that their ecological impact is therefore greatly reduced. Attention ! Their raw material was imported from India, Bangladesh or Turkey.
90% of the world's cotton production comes from India, and 47% of organic cotton is produced in India . It therefore seems obvious to us to promote the manufacture of our products as close as possible to where the raw material is grown. Whether at the stage of the material or the finished product, there is in any case an ecological impact given the necessary transport.
Participate on our scale in the emancipation of women
We do not claim to be a feminist brand since we do not believe in the marketing aspect of this idea. However, feminism is an integral part of our values.
We apply it through the choice of the Chaiim Foundation as a manufacturing partner. A foundation that fights against human trafficking by offering social and professional reintegration to women who are victims - or at risk of being victims - of human trafficking.
The Chaiim foundation not only trains women in the profession of seamstress. It also allows them to complete their schooling and learn the basic notions of English and IT with a view to real social and professional emancipation.
At Khaloom, 90% of women work in the company, as much present in management and management positions as craftswomen. Two women founded this company.
This commitment, with these two companies, is the most coherent and viable way to embody our feminist and social values. We believe that equality starts with the emancipation of women. That access to education, to a job and thus, to an income, will allow them to gain recognition within society.
Manufacturing in India : why is it against the trend?
After the Rana Plaza tragedy in Bangladesh and the subsequent spotlight on the inhuman working conditions in Asian garment factories; negative assumptions about “Made in India” have prevailed (and rightly so).
We do not want to hide the fact that many practices in the clothing sector are still obscure and above all little or not at all ethical. Many brands, especially fast fashion, take advantage of this to produce at low cost without worrying about the ecological and human consequences.
That said, it is not good to make a generalization: the reality can also be quite different. Many workshops offer regulated and fair working conditions, decent wages, training and other benefits for their employees.
Fanny's opinion @the_greenminimalist
Fanny is a content creator and influencer on the Instagram account @the_greenimalist. She specializes in ethical fashion topics: responsible brands, materials, certifications, decryption of true and false, etc. Last July, Fanny visited us for a fitting at the studio. That's when we discussed manufacturing in India. A discussion that inspired us this article, in which we therefore wanted her to participate. Here is what Fanny thinks of “made in India”:
The majority of people think that buying a garment made in Europe or in France is the assurance of humane, ethical manufacture, and in accordance with the law (French or of the European country of manufacture) unlike the acquisition of a clothing made in far (mainly Asia).
However, even if in many cases, this is true, in the field of textiles, insofar as the various actors in the chain are not required to trace/justify by documenting the various stages of manufacture, and that there is abuse a, the reality is much less obvious to grasp…
Indeed, in England (in Leicester) and even in France, and more precisely in Paris where at its doors, there are sweat-shops, veritable sweatshops where foreign and undocumented people work tirelessly in harsh conditions. unacceptable and unsanitary. In these lawless areas, however, clothes are made that proudly display the words "made in France" on their labels! A major argument for brands that use such practices, but at what (human) price...
On the other side of the spectrum, there are clothes made in Asia in good social conditions and above all in workshops with social and charitable purposes: women's reintegration workshops, training centers, including schools for the children of employees, orphanages etc.
These initiatives, which are certainly in the minority, are to be encouraged because they make it possible to radically change human lives.
So you will understand when it comes to clothing, nothing is black or white, the reality is often more nuanced and complicated.
So how do you cope as a consumer?
You already have to rely on independent labels guaranteeing good social conditions (GOTS, Max Havelaar etc.). And if the brands do not label their pieces (often, the smallest brands do not necessarily have the financial resources and the time to do so), it is necessary to see if they show great transparency and coherence vis-à-vis of their customers in their speeches and in the description of the clothes. Their efforts are to be supported. And if in doubt, do not hesitate to question them: the more they detail their commitments and those of their partners, the more transparent they are and the more you can attribute your trust to them.
Made in India: a consistent choice for Kind Studio.
Of course, manufacturing in India is not such an obvious choice, at a time when a relocation of fashion might be more logical.
However, let's not forget where the fibers that make up the majority of our clothes come from. Let's not forget either that our choices have an impact on an entire production and design chain. If the human and the Living are not respected, these choices have disastrous consequences.
At Kind Studio, we take care to respect both our convictions and values, as well as the people with whom we work: we choose responsible materials, an ethical and committed production with the men and women with whom we build our history. Finally, this choice of India is intimately linked to the history of the brand - to its why - and to our desire to highlight know-how and high-quality craftsmanship.
Linda, Elena and Fanny