While the shopping and travel throughout India is still on the horizon, Katey met with Kuku from Sunshine Project, one of our charitable partners, to begin the planning and development of Sankara’s expanded exclusive line of products. While we can’t give too much away yet, we thought we’d share a bit of what goes into making the items for the shop.

One of the first things we look at what we want to have made, whether a top or a skirt or a cushion. This determines the type of material we need and the amount of the material. Sometimes Katey finds a material she’s in love with and then decides what to do with it, but it tends to be easier to decide what is going to be made first.

Once the item, like our tops, have been designed, the quantity and range of sizes is guesstimated. Different styles take different amounts of fabric, and sometimes it is guess work until you have the fabric in front of you as to how many pieces you can get out of the material.

Once Katey is given her target for the material, she goes shopping! She meets with the fabric producers in order to not only see how the material is made, but also to verify the working conditions and the fair wages for the labor in making the material. After meeting the producers, she picks the fabrics she likes which will work with the designs of the item – making sure the designs and color palettes work for not only Seattle, but for the design of the item.

Once the fabric is purchased, it goes back to the tailor! A pattern is made for each item in all the sizes in the range. For our first two tops, we decided to make both styles in small through XXL. The fabric is then cut and stitched. The working conditions and wages are also verified for this stage of the manufacturing process.

After the item is completed, the decision is made regarding embellishments – some of our tops were sent to our chikkan embroiderers in Lucknow for added embroidery, and some were given to our Afghani friend, Salma, for crochet. Again, fair rates for the work were negotiated, and conditions of work verified.

Once the embellishment work is completed, the items are then shipped to the shop for you!

At each step of the process, attention to detail, cost, and quality are of importance, but not as important as the people we work with. Not only are our exclusive products made through ethical trade standards, but as they are stitched by our friends at Sunshine Project, 10% of the proceeds of our exclusive lines are returned to charity.

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