This Friday is the second annual Fashion Revolution Day. All week we will be celebrating the special relationships we have with our clients, and sharing what we have learned by working together to produce excellent quality, sustainable fair trade clothing.
First up: a brand new label, Tem Pimenta! Tem Pimenta has been a labour of love for Swiss designer Pascale Tschopp who started work on the brand in 2013. Pursuing the goal of combining high-quality fashion with ethical production standards, Pascale travelled to India in 2014 and we were delighted to have her visit our unit in Bangalore.
After having found my production partner for the fabrics, chosen the patterns and the colours, observed the process of block printing done in the traditional way, it is time for me to pay a visit to the manufacturing site. We have exchanged a number of e-mails and I am looking forward to meet the team of the fashion production house. Their site is located on the second floor of a building overlooking a street with popular local businesses. Upon my arrival I am led to a big room. One side consist of windows, which guarantee a generous amount of natural light.Â Doors are left open and thus generate a consistent and refreshing flow of air. On one side of the room glass panels separate a small office; on the other side there are a kitchenette and a restroom.Â But most of the space is taken up by the workplaces for sewing and the cutting table. The employees, busy at the humming sewing machines, cast curious glances at me, their faces illuminated by their smiles.
Very quickly I feel comfortable with the small team. The workers are very industrious and concentrated. Some listen to music on their telephone, a few word are exchanged from time to time. The atmosphere is joyous and laughter can be heard here and there. The morning and afternoon tea break is sacred. All the workers gather on the balcony,Â sit on the steps and savour their chai while nibbling at a biscuit. At noon they eat together the lunch each has brought from home.
I spend two weeks with them while working on my models. I explain how each piece of fashion is assembled and they produce a sample of all my models. Some corrections are necessary and we also have to decide on the finishing. We are doing precision work and I am happy to be able to express my wishes face to face. Each minute of my stay in India is put to good use.
I am also very happy to have the chance to personally meet the women, who produce my collection, to see their working conditions and to share their daily routine. These women are all from underprivileged backgrounds. They are trained and make a decent living at this WFTO (World Fair Trade Organisation) certified production house. I am very proud that this collaboration allows me to produce my fashion line by respecting my ethical values.
Jacobs Well Production Manager Lydia adds:
After Pascale first got in touch with us last year, we were waiting with excitement for her visit: it always makes such a difference to meet people face to face and understand all the creative ideas and passions. We were happy to host her at the production unit here in India and were impressed by her commitment and hard work! We were very proud to bring Pascale's clothes to life. We can tell that a lot of time was spent creating the designs which are very detailed and neat. All of the tailors loved working with the bright coloured fabrics and unique cuts.
Who makes Tem Pimenta clothes?
There is Sumitra, the talented sample tailor who helps to show the other girls how to create the garment. There is Kanchana who is always smiling and laughing and will be getting married in June; Monica who appears serious but has a very cheeky heart; Radha who cuts the pattern pieces; Lalita who packs all the pieces up when they're ready to ship, and many other talented ladies who all play a part in the production team. Tem Pimenta clothes are made with love! This business relationship makes a big difference for our small company. We give training and employment to women from slum communities who don't have many other ways to earn money. The confidence and independence they gain from learning skills and completing work successfully can make a huge difference in their lives and also for their whole family. We were all very happy to see the beautiful photoshoot of these clothes for the Tem Pimenta website. We can't wait to see what we can help Pascale create for her next collection! Check out the range from Tem Pimenta on their website and Etsy shop. Be a part of the sustainable Fashion Revolution!"