THE JOURNEY OF OUR UNDERWEAR AND APPAREL FROM FARM TO FRONT DOOR
The organic cotton used to make Monsoon Blooms’ underwear and apparel basics grows under the guidance of Chetna Organic, sprouting from non-genetically modified cotton seeds on small farms across India. For the past decade, Chetna has been dedicated to improving the livelihoods of small scale farmers in rural areas by assisting them to transfer to organic farming, and by promoting ecological agriculture based on social, environmental and economic sustainability.
Post harvest, our organic cotton is processed into knitted bolts of fabric by the capable hands at The Rajlakshmi Cotton Mill (RCM). For over 80 years RCM has been growing in both size and spirit, guiding their 1000 strong workforce by principles of sustainability and fairness. Certified by Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Fair Trade USA, Fair Trade International, and Social Accountability International (SAI), we trust the ethics of RCM from the bottom of our hearts.
Deep in the forests of Kerala amidst medicinal plants and wild animals, our little dye-house awaits RCM's raw organic fabric. This seemingly isolated dye-house was set up by the Central Government of India to protect Ayurvedic medicine and the ancient dyeing technique of Ayurvastra, as well as to provide employment for local handloom weavers. The Ayurvastra colouring is a multi-part process, including natural "bleaching" with ingredients like white roses and aloe vera. Over 1200 medicinal plants contribute to the rainbow of pastel colours on offer at the dye-house, many of which are grown in their own backyard. The dye baths are made with fresh well water, and are re-used by locals for medicinal bathing when the cloth dyeing process is complete. When we asked the dye-house owners how long they have been plant dyeing cloth for, they told us simply "over 10,000 years". This was the work of their forefathers.
After the dye is fixed and dried, our newly coloured organic cotton is ready for stitching into underwear and apparel. We work with a small production team in the South of India that honours our transparency and commitment to ethical business. Audited and certified by GOTS and FLO Fairtrade, their model of work is far beyond anything we have found across India and beyond.
They offer interest free loans to their workers to pay for life's big expenses like building a home, hosting a marriage, educating their children and arranging medical treatment for their family.
Their team also have access to personal safety equipment, medical needs via Employees State Insurance, retirement & pension funds via an Employees Pension Fund and all personal rights provided by the Constitution of India. Most importantly, they provide workers with a living wage, which is far above the minimum wage stipulated by the state government. In fact, it is even higher than the wage requirements laid about by the policies of Fair Trade.
Once the final thread has been stitched on the made to order item, the completed pieces are tucked into a drawstring bag and finished with a recycled cardboard hanging tag, tied on with coconut rope. For online orders, the items are slipped into a recycled cardboard pillow box and taken to our local post office to begin their journey to the buyer's front door. This final stage is managed by our friends Sujith, Jithu, Praveen and Ram, who are saving up to do their ISA Surf Instructor course in Sri Lanka (just in case you’re interested).
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