The fashion industry is no stranger to criticism, especially on the subject of fair wages for makers. Many high street chains employ foreign workers to make their clothes, and it has been claimed that wages can be as low as 7p per hour. Fortunately, there are some designers who are striving to change the way that we all look at clothing. In the Chakra issue, we featured an article by Amanda Oliver about Maku: a clothing brand that values traditional textile techniques and makes sure that their craftspeople earn a fair wage. Young designer, Santanu Das, founded Maku in 2011. After working for a New York design company, Santanu became interested in Indian textile traditions and hand weaving. He moved to Kolkata and started working with Chirag Gandhi, and together they set up the start-up business.
Santanu and Chirag come up with designs, which are then woven by skilled hand-weavers as khadi, muslin and jamdani fabrics. Every item is dyed with indigo dye, which has a 5,000 year-old history in India. Their designs are then sold all over the world, from the USA to Japan. However their ethos is “anti-fashion”, and the duo do not exhibit their work in fashion shows. Maku clothes are not marketed as fashion pieces – they are skillfully woven garments that promote the historic craft practices of India.
For more information about Maku clothing, see Amanda Oliver’s article in the Chakra issue.