Whollygrail believes it’s through the choices we make every day that we can make the biggest difference. We’re committed to a health, community, planet philosophy – choices for our better health that also support communities and the planet. #whomademyclothes is an initiative started following the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, and is designed for people to question where and how their clothing is made.
Our GOTS certified organic and fair trade textiles begin with a cooperative of farmers committed to sustainable, chemical free and regenerative agriculture that is safe for farmers, safe for us and the environment. The cotton is then processed into our requested textile, dyed using non azo dyes and produced by a long standing organic and fair trade manufacturer that has weathered the years of competition against impossibly cheap, toxic products that exploit workers in pursuit of the lowest possible price.
Our supply partners employ hundreds of people. There’s a tangible sense of pride and workmanship in their tasks. Employment includes a substantial meal cooked onsite by a dedicated kitchen team, and outstanding health care coverage for the whole family. When I visited, there had been much celebration following the successful life-saving operation on a young girl, the daughter of an employee, made possible through their employee health care coverage.
The commitment to the business and the pride evident in their day to day work is clear and present throughout my travels. From the people who create food to nourish the workers each day, to the people who screen print our designs and those responsible for ensuring orders are made to specification, there is a strong sense of pride in their approach.
Special mention must go to the master patternmaker within the business. I had in mind the design for the apron that we intended for Whollygrail – a little different to conventional aprons but one that accommodated adjustment and allowed for even distribution of pressure across the back and hips – ensuring there was no concentrated pressure on the shoulders.
He was in the office in a snap. Looked at me with a broad smile and elegantly waved his tape measure a couple of times. Without language, we clarified a few details, and within the next couple of hours, I had the template of the Whollygrail apron, as I had imagined. It felt like we were in a film – very impressive. It was some time later when I found out he was the very, very first employee when the business began. Says something doesn’t it?
There’s no doubt much patience is required – while there is much progress and broadening prosperity within India, the services and infrastructure are still stubbornly slow and inadequate. Despite this, there is continuing optimism and always an appreciation for what they have and where they are – a timely reminder for me.
In a recent conversation with the Managing Director, he said to me “Danielle, people say to me, ‘It’s a great thing that you’re doing’, but I don’t think that – it’s not a choice, it’s my responsibility and their right.”