The organic cotton used to make Monsoon Blooms’ underwear and 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 dyeing, as well as to provide employment for local handloom weavers. The colouring is a multi-part process, including natural bleaching with ingredients like white roses and aloe vera. Over 1200 medicinal plants contribute to their rainbow of colours, many of which are grown in their own backyard. The dye baths are made with fresh well water and used by locals for medicinal bathing when the 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 basics. Our tailoring chief, Mr Jayan, operates from our cottage in Kerala, surrounded by palm trees and assisted by a team of lovely ladies. To ensure zero waste, our team handcrafts each and every item to order with a manageable turn around time of 3-5 day. For their unquestionable Singer sewing machine talent we pay them precisely what they asked to be paid and not a negotiated rupee less, which happens to be 315% more than the requirements of state law.
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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