It started with a small message left by us – MORALFIBRE to one of the LinkedIn groups. It was a standard message describing the unique handcrafted fabrics we promote made by the artisans based in remote villages. We had a pretty standard first response from a lady from the UK wanting to know about the fabrics and the range of services we provide.
In the first bits of communication, we realized that we both deeply share the same values of sustainability and social justice. Initiated by Jo Salter, founder of Where Does It Come From? based in UK and Shailini Sheth Amin, Founder of MORALFIBRE based in India little did we know that we were about to do take up an almost impossible challenge. Now, after almost two years of exchange of ideas, massive amount of communication, sharing photographs, drawing up and actioning work plans, chats and challenging work put in by various teams in fabric production, garment designs and development, sampling and garment production, a classic range of children’s clothes line is ready for the children
As the Internet and today’s communication systems connected two of us; we are now attempting to connect the children and parents of to-be owners of these clothes in the UK with artisans and workers who have been involved with their production based in remote villages of Gujarat, India. With a click of a button a child can see the pictures and read the story of making of the dress, jacket, skirt or a trouser he / she is wearing. The story is all about farming the cotton, spinning, weaving, dying, designing and stitching of the garment and more fascinating – they get introduced to the artisans and their life. A child can also leave a message, which we are committed to pass on to the artisan.
And this is just the beginning of the shared dream of a perfect collaboration between Jo Salter of ‘Where Does It Come From?’ Based in Suffolk, UK and Shailini Sheth Amin of ‘MORALFIBRE’ based in Gujarat, India.
Shailini says, ‘When I was living in UK, I remember once talking to a shoe supplier based in Wales. He said, “Only few years ago we used to sell shoes made in Wales. There used to be a factory down the road. Now the shoe factory is closed. Due to globalization of trade, we are priced out of the market. We now sell shoes made elsewhere. The link of between the producers and users is broken.” We probably cannot change the global trading that easily but this innovative experiment shows that with communication highway we can connect the producers and users, even when they are thousands of mile apart!’
We are a part of a global village now and with Internet and other communications the children and parents now know how a skirt or a jacket is made and who has been a part of the team in making it! Also with companies like MORALFIBRE and their ethos, the users know that there is no exploitation of environmental and social resources and fair trade practices are followed.
This is a miracle. And yet it is so simple!
It goes to show that how an imagination, commitment and willingness to walk those extra miles can reduce the ‘distance of’ physical ‘miles’ and connect one person to the other. As the owner of WDICF Jo says, “Our garments are not sold as B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to clients), They are sold H2H (human to human).”
But the effects of this innovative experiment will go even further. If closely connecting with the producers of food, clothes and other items of use becomes a norm, the system will become transparent and fair to everybody. By promoting sustainable textile industry and fair trade in a transparent and committed way, we will be able to fulfill our promise to our textile workers to bring them above the poverty line. We can do this without costing our natural resources and harming the environment.