WHY TRANSPARENCY IS MAJOR TO US
Fashion (though we love it so) is one of the most wasteful industries on the planet. Fast fashion has resulted in people tiring quickly of what's hanging in their wardrobe. The change of each season brings new opportunities to buy fresh garms. This mindset essentially comes from fantastic marketing by big retailers and fashion houses telling you that you MUST HAVE MORE! The result? Landfills full of clothes, factories working tenfold to produce more garments for their clients, fabric waste, sweat shops, child labour, you name it. The knock-on effect is massive.
SO HOW DO WE CHANGE THIS?
That's where our head was at when we started ILK+ERNIE. We wanted to launch a label that was not only funky and vibrant but encouraged girls to shop ethically and affordably. We set out to make a change and want to encourage others to do the same!
In case you didn't know, our lovely team of tailors and seams-men are based in Pushkar (India). We spent many months looking for the perfect fit for our brand. The humble little desert town is a hub for creative companies to produce.
All of our collections are ethically made. Our team receive all of the amazing treatment that a lot of us take for granted: fair wages, holiday pay, health insurance, safe working environments and EU standard working hours. Whats more, they are given money towards putting their children through school, a continuous problem that India still heavily faces today.
SHALL WE MEET SOME OF THEM?!
He runs the factory and is the most entrepreneurial person we've ever met. His family have been farmers for generations. Five years ago he used their land to build his dream business and it's been blossoming ever since! Born and bred in Pushkar, his heart embodies the kindness of this beautiful town and it's people. We are proud to be working with him.
This is our Master G, Kailash, and a G he isssss. Not only does he have great taste in hats, he is quite literally one of the most talented tailors we've ever met. Kailash heads up all the pattern cutting for the factory. He doesn't use rulers or compasses, he free draws every pattern by hand and has a rigorous eye for detail. We are beyond fortunate to have him in our team.
MEET IKBAL MOH
He is the cheeky chap of our 40 strong sewing team. Ikbal has worked for Babulal since the beginning and is a dab hand with a sewing machine. He sings and laughs his way through the day with the biggest smile on his face. He insisted he be the main contender for our snaps so here he is!
Firstly, what's the difference between ethical and sustainable fashion? This is a question that is often asked when running a business like ours. In short to us it is this : Ethical Fashion – concerns human rights. Sustainable Fashion – concerns the environment.
We have already covered the ethics behind our manufacturing so what about our impact on the planet? As previously mentioned the production of garments and fabric have a huge effect on the environment. There are many ways to keep a greener footprint in the way we produce. As a start up brand we wanted to be resourceful, rather than have fabric made for the soul purpose of producing our clothes, we came up with another solution. Delhi is home to some of the worlds largest fabric markets. People come from near and far to produce and source fabric in India. fabric waste is a huge problem there. Large corporations will produce thousands of meters of fabric that are often left unused. Sometimes for as little as them changing their mind on the colour. What happens to that fabric? That's where we come in! We trawl these markets collecting up waste fabric to use in our collections. It's not pleasant and takes an awful lot of time and patience but the reward is knowing that we are stopping more fabric being dumped in landfills. As a result all our collections are one of a kind and limited edition - which is kinda cool!
If you haven't heard of the amazing things Fashion Revolution are doing, then definitely look them up! They have started an important movement that is encouraging transparency in the fashion industry. Fashion Revolution Week's are hosted throughout the year all over the planet to raise awareness of the importance of ethical and sustainable fashion. Supporting businesses like ours will help causes like #fashionrevolution to make more of an impact on the industry and the planet! So when you next buy something, stop and think #whomademyclothes ?