Cloth & Co. partners with artisan communities with the aim to create sustainable outcomes; with a specific focus on empowering women and marginalised communities with little access to alternative sources of income. Hand weaving is at the heart of our Cloth & Co. linen scarf range, supporting dignified and ongoing employment for our community of women in Siddhipur, Nepal.
A JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY...
We have been traveling through India and Nepal since 2011, seeking out the artisanal textiles of the region. In 2015, our paths lead us to Patan City, known as Lalitpur and the ‘The Beautiful City’, and was once home to kings who resided in luxurious palaces in Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The historic city of Patan, with it's meandering cobblestone streets is one of Kathmandu’s three royal cities, this ancient living place is renowned for its spectacular craftsmanship by skilled artisans with weaving and embroidering by hand common practice; nearly all Nepali women are taught to spin in this custom.
Following the devastating earthquakes in Nepal in 2015 we came across Gabriella, a feisty Italian born woman who has devoted the latter part of her life to Nepal and has trained a group of women working with some of the worlds most luxurious fibres to create beautiful hand spun and hand loomed textiles.
The severity of this natural disaster left parts of the country in dire need, and in response Cloth & Co. partnered with Gabriella, the founder of GC Handmade to raise funds to help her build 126 shelters around their production centre in Siddhipur. Many women artisans — often the breadwinners of their own households had relocated to these temporary shelters after losing all of their property.
Gabriella started her company with the vision to support women with a source of income from the spinning the fibres with the traditional wooden charka. This work supports the women economically and preserves the traditional hand spinning skills common among Nepali women. By training them to spin high quality linen fibres, the women have the opportunity to earn a higher wage than spinning lower priced fibres such as cotton or local wool.
WEAVING A BETTER FUTURE...
Working directly with artisans has been one of the greatest rewards for us and over the past 5 years we would visit the weaving centre and the two groups of women who are working in spinning rooms in their own villages - provided so they can work close to their home and are able to look after their family. The weaving centre is in Siddhipur where one Bengali master weaver is training local women to weave organic linen fibres. Siddhipur is located in an area where there is a long-standing tradition of hand woven; which we hope will continue for generations to come.
Together we have created our signature linen scarves, each of them made entirely by hand using traditional as well as the most eco friendly methods. Each organic linen scarf is exquisitely handcrafted celebrating the artisanal skills and the empowerment of women.
Watch our video below to see the made by hand process for each of our linen scarves; where together we are weaving a better future.