Your Garment Stories
ISKSWTW – The Story of your SAP IVA Winter Warmer Winter Winner Scarf
We hope you love your new Winter Warmer Winter Winner scarf – a sustainable and ethical gift from the SAP IVA team. Here is the story of how your scarf has been created just for you – you can get to know the people involved and learn all about the eco-friendly processes they used.
I - Indigenous Cotton Grown in India
Your SAP Winter Warmer Winter Winner scarf has been created from a type of cotton called kala, indigenous to the dry and arid landscape of Kutch (or Kachchh). Kutch is a desert district in Gujarat in the north west of India – a district which borders Pakistan.
Kala cotton is a sustainable crop, grows naturally and is watered purely by rain. It is resilient to the climate and the local pests that threaten the crops and therefore requires little or no additional water or pesticides. Since the introduction of genetically modified varieties (known as BT cotton) most indigenous varieties have died out, sucking farmers into a cycle of buying BT seeds annually instead of the traditional process of saving seeds from the previous year’s crop. Initially the new varieties save the farmers money on pesticides but soon they lose their effects and the farmers often end up in financial difficulties due to the requrement to rebuy seeds annually, plus chemical fertilisers and pesticides. The BT crops are also much more likely to fail in a drought. The indigenous, kala cotton works with the climate and not against it – as one farmer put it ‘Kala cotton is as old as the land here’ – fields can grow sufficient cotton for thousands of metres of fabric from no rainfall at all.
This cotton was selected for your scarf not only due to its social and environmental benefits, but also because it has a unique feel and is comfortable to wear.
S – Spinning
The organic cotton for your scarf was picked by hand and then cleaned to remove any seeds. The next stage is to spin the fluffy cotton balls into yarn.
Rehabilitation programmes set up following a major earthquake in the area have helped revive traditional sustainable organic cotton cultivation and crafts. In particular spinning the cotton locally was a missing link. Fortunately a local entrepeneur came forward, purchasing a second hand spinning mill and working with engineers to adapt the machinery to work with the kala cotton. Khamir, an NGO working in the area, supports local farmers with organic certification and assists local weavers with designs and marketing. They provided working capital to set up the spinning mill to join up the processes. The cotton yarn for your SAP IVA Winter Warmer scarf was sourced through this route.
D – Dyeing the Yarn
The yarn for your scarf then traveled across India to the state of Tamil Nadu in the South East and arrived at the Oshadi workshops. It was then dyed by hand using an innovative process. Instead of dyeing in vats which is the traditional method, yarn or fabric is dyed mechanically in a cabinet and using dye abstracts. This is much better for the environment as more conventional methods can be very water intensive and dyes can include many hazardous chemicals.
In this ‘zero discharge’ dyeing system waste water after the dyeing process is treated in a pollution/effluent treatment plant using enzymes and a reverse osmosis system. This means that 98% of the water is then recycled and reused. This means that no dyed/ waste water drains into public water systems.
These dyes used in this process can be GOTS certified organic dyes and natural dyes which can include natural herbs and plants, such as turmeric.
W – Weaving
Your SAP IVA Scarf has been woven by hand at a craft studio in Tamil Nadu in South East India.
A beautiful hand weave design was selected from samples – with chevrons woven into the fabric. This weave brings a unique texture to your scarf and catches the light showing the natural colour beautifully.
Weaving a scarf by hand takes time and skill. Here are some of the weavers who were involved in weaving the SAP IVA Winter Warmer Winter Winner scarves.
We asked three of the weavers some questions so you can get to know them better. Their names are Jaganathan, Palanisamy and Ravi.
1. Did you grow up in this area of Tamil Nadu, India or have you moved here from somewhere else?
All three weavers were born and grew up locally, close to the workshop.
2. How long have you been a weaver and how did you learn your skill?
All 3 weavers learnt weaving from their parents/ family. Jaganathan has been weaving for 34 years, Palanisamy has been weaving for 45 years and Ravi has been weaving for 15 years.
3. What do you like best about being a weaver?
All three weavers answered that the best thing is that it brings them an income!
4. Do you think the people in England who receive these scarves as a gift will like them?
They all hope that people who wear them would like the scarves. As weavers it’s just a piece of cloth which is being woven. When shown the finished product they all said that they like them!
T – Embroidery, Labels and Finishing
Your SAP IVA Winter Warmer Winter Winner Scarf has been finished by a team of sewers in the Tamil Nadu workshop and had embroidery and labels added.
The SAP IVA label was created using organic cotton and your washtag is made of recycled polyester. Your washtag not only contains information on how to take care of your scarf but also shows your tracability QR tag and code which can be used to explore this garment story
W – Where Does It Come From?
This ethical, traceable scarf was brought to you by Where Does It Come From?, a brand set up in 2013 to create clothing and textiles that are kind to the planet and the people who make them. We also believe that they are kind to you too, not only because of the natural way we make our clothes but also because knowing the story gives you peace of mind that you are supporting projects that help the environment and are fair to the makers.
For this project we worked with our friends at Khadi London, an organisation which supports and promotes the use of natural fabrics from India, for positive social and environmental benefits.
Both organisations are passionate about inspiring others to shop with more thought about the impacts of their clothing and to offer insight and alternatives to mainstream ‘fast fashion’ and cheap merchandise. We really hope that your scarf gives you joy for many years to come.