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If you are in the market for stylishly sustainable scarves, look no further than Indigo Handloom. Inspired by a freelance journalism trip to cover the textile industry in India, Indigo Handloom founder Smita Paul has discovered her calling working with traditional Indian weavers to create beautiful, eco-friendly scarves while helping them to preserve the ancient craftsmanship of handloom. Moved by her experience detailing the lives and struggles of these artisans in rural villages of Northwest India, Indigo Handloom is a celebration of the vibrant colors, exquisite detail and the rich history of textiles in India. Indigo Handloom also serves an important dual mission of combating the flood of cheaper synthetic knockoffs from China that have destroyed the Indian textile industry and forced many of these gifted artisans out of business.
A lifelong interest in sewing and textiles has become a purpose driven mission for Paul who as she puts it “can literally feel the presence of the weavers” when she cuts into the fabrics. After leaving the journalism industry in 2003, Paul launched herself full time into her newfound passion. Humbled by the ability of the artisans to create such beauty and vibrancy in their scarves while living and working in mud huts, Paul hopes not only to bring elegance to people’s closets but awareness to the plight of the artisans.
As Paul stated “I want people to recognize the luxuriousness of the fabrics. Not only are the scarves made of the finest quality of khadi (the Hindi word for cotton) and silk there is also a sophistication in how natural they are.”
Indeed, from start to finish Indigo Handloom scarves are perhaps one of the most sustainable garments available. Woven by artisans using peddle-powered handlooms, the scarves can be entirely produced using no electricity, not even a single light bulb. Paul prides herself on minimizing her carbon footprint and has committed to only using natural non-toxic dyes, which are healthier for the artisan, the environment and the customer.
Of course, Paul’s real mission is to support the artisans and show off the beauty of their craft. Each season, Paul travels the rural Indian countryside working in depth with weavers in dozens of villages to create limited edition collections of scarves. All Indigo Handloom scarves are Fair Trade certified providing the artisans much higher wages and standards of living to support their trade and their families. As Paul put it “we hardly interfere with the design process and creation of the scarves we sell through Indigo Handloom. I incorporate my own few touches on the scarves to give them a more ‘fashion forward’ look that appeals to Western audiences but most of the work is done by the artisans.”
Each scarf not only is an elegant accessory to any outfit, it also positively impacts the lives of artisans on the other side of the world, creating a truly feel good product and impact.
Several designers have already incorporated them into their collections including Eileen Fisher, Study NY by Tara S. James and David Peck Collection and Modavanti is pleased to join forces with Indigo Handloom to further its mission and present another opportunity for our customers to look good, feel good and do good in what they wear.