The Caring Cotton, We care that you care

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The Caring Cotton, We care that you care: Inspire Designers on how to use the existing sustainable supply chain

Auroville, IndiaAuroville, India
Year Founded:
2011
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Idea
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

To change the perspective of designers in how to use the existing supply chain in an efficient and sustainable way. Break the conventional thinking that the supply chain has to adapt to our needs. So that designing sustainably becomes a life style and not a social responsibility.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

WHAT IF - designers and brands can turn their 100% production into a sustainable fashion supply chain providing a regular livelihood to organic farmers and craftsmen?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

A gap between Designers/Brands and supply chain. We understand that there is still a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding regarding Sustainable Fashion on both it’s environmental and social aspects. For us it is important to educate and transmit on the challenges of producing in India sustainably and the most fair trade way possible. Not only giving a chance to start-up designers but also to improve the livelihood of Indian Craftsmen/women.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Help designers, consumers and the market to change and be aware of how to work around the existing supply chain rather than changing it. We propose a center for working with organic cotton, natural dyes, and other craft and artisanal skills, with 15 years of expertise in these fields. A place where there will also be an intense exposure to sustainable life style and hands on workshops and processes to better understand what can be created and improvised. Establishing business models between the designers and the supply chain to launch organic collections with full technical assistance to give confidence to both parties. And in this way improving and growing the capacity of skilled craftsmen/women.

Awards

Textile Exchange finalist for Innovation Project 2015
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Many designers make contact with suppliers without knowing the production feasibility of their designs, resulting in disappointment on both parties in terms of quality and creativity. There is always pressure on the supply chain to supply their products on terms of the market. At our workshop design center designers can work, practice and understand the crafts and skills needed to design accordingly. Through us, designers can have access to a supply chain with low MOQ's that encourages start-ups to change to a sustainable supply chain where both can grow. When designers join and put their ideas together they can built strong long-term relationships with their suppliers. Ensuring our craftsmen/women a sustainable livelihood.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

As experts on crafts and design, we have got on board clients who now work directly on regular basis with the set supply chain. Successfully sold organic fabrics to start up designers through different strategies enhancing crafted products as unique pieces. Invited to sustainable fashion platforms. Once individual designers walk the slow fashion ramp the big brands will follow up as sustainable garments can also be successful having commercially viable products. Inspiring designers/brands through workshops to continue working from a collection a year to a 100% production will eventually increase conscious and green consumerism. The potential business within the existing sustainable supply chain not only relies in the big companies, but also on the small family businesses with experience in handcrafted work. In this way maintaining the cultural and traditional textile diversity.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Making an impact cannot be achieved solely by targeting designers. The center seeks to also be an open space to welcome the market, retailers and consumers, and schools. Initially the center is to be set as a pilot plant in India, Auroville, which can later be mobile, where our experts and craftsmen can give workshops in different parts of the country. It can also be replicated in different countries later on to help maintain other traditional textile techniques. Eventually we wish to spread awareness on the complexity of traditional and sustainable techniques to the market as a whole.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Workshops, for example, will be charged as per the programs, for professionals, Market, retailers, Schools, etc, However, main costs are required for initial infrastructure and livable wages to hire experts and Master craftsmen in order to create a mini supply chain model, for which fundraising will be needed. This initiative needs to run also on courses, sample development packages, fabric sales, and consultancy fees.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Everyone is trying to address the problem, whether it is by creating a brand, Cooperatives, NGO's, etc. But we are looking at the bigger picture. A gear up platform where both the Market and the Supply Chain collaborate and combine their best expertise under our guidance and reviving the dying crafts, and potentiating organic cotton and natural dyeing. In the process, market and consumers can understand, collaborate and develop what is already out there. And use their creative thinking to adjust their business models. So that slow fashion becomes a life-style and not a social responsibility.
Team

Founding Story

We were invited to participate at a workshop at The Brandery in Barcelona when we realized that very few people had a clue of the difficulties, challenges and rewards of traditional crafts, organic cotton, natural dyes, etc. An existing supply chain that is actually sustainable and with low MOQ's. We were amazed, actually how difficult it was for so many to get 20 meters of sustainable materials. And we saw the opportunity to put our contacts and their needs together by creating long term relationships and ensuring a strong supply chain. By learning and changing our perspectives we have moved from Barcelona to Auroville in order to be closer to the supply chain. Ready for the next step.

Team

Ruby is a lover of natural dyes, having worked with them for 15 years. She can only think of organic cotton as her fabric to cover her up. Working as a manager at 24 and being a woman in the textile business in India she has gained the respect and credibility within the sustainable supply chain. Always learning new techniques, from antique batik and shibori, to modern laser printing, she has gone through all, and still learning. Erik is a consultant expert in project management and passionate about mixing environment and design. Both create a unique team where ideas flow on a constant basis. The center will need skilled craftsmen, like hand loom weavers and tailors. With growth we expect to hire consultants, as the consultancy department should play an important role in our future income. And anyone is invited to volunteer, learn and have fun. Our main qualification is passion and karma yoga.
Value Chain: Where does your work fit into the apparel value chain? [check all that apply]

Raw Materials, Manufacturing, Consumption.

Your Role: What is your relationship to the apparel industry? [check all that apply]

Brand Representative, Consumer, Designer, Farmer or Farmer Association Representative, Factory Owner, Researcher, Retail Representative - Mass-merchandise Chain, Sourcing Manager / Supply Chain Manager, Supplier - contractor, Supplier - subcontractor.

Target Population: What stakeholder groups do you engage or empower in your work? [check all that apply]

Brands, Designers, Factory Workers, Factory Owners, Sourcing Manager / Supply Chain Manager, Supplier - contractor, Supplier - subcontractor, Women.

● Intervention Focus: What are you trying to achieve / influence? [check all that apply]

Conscious Consumerism, Environmentally Sustainable Practices, Labor Rights (i.e. Collective Bargaining, etc.), Recycling or Circular Economy, Transparency.

Lever for Change: Select up to 3 ways your work is helping to transform the industry.

Certification, Organizing, Media, Standards, Training.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

Consumers Aren't Motivated to Care: Neither Compelling Reasons Nor Easy Means to Change Consumption Habits, Sustainability is Not Yet in the DNA: Fast Fashion’s Current Model Disincentivizes Value-Driven Economies.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Disrupt Business as Usual: Target Key Players Who Can Influence the Bottom Line, Transform the Chain into a Web: Link Unlikely Sectors that Open New Pathways to Sustainability.

Innovation Inspiration: When you first conceived of your project, did you think of it as applicable to the apparel industry?

yes

If you answered "no" to the previous question, which industry was your project originally aimed at transforming?

● Replicating in the Apparel Industry: If your project didn't initially target the apparel industry, how are you specifically tailoring it to do so now?
Are you nurturing or inspiring others to be changemakers? If so, how?
● Tell us about the partnerships that enhance your approach. How have you collaborated with others in the industry to increase your impact?
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