I Was a Sari is social enterprise based in Mumbai. The organization trains and employs women who live in nearby slums. The women create beautiful jewelry, bags, scarves, and other accessories out of old saris. Developed to not only achieve high social impact, they strive to be sustainable as well. The sale of I Was a Sari products also support a variety of programs including shelters for women and children, preschools, and a day center for disabled children. Through the help and support of Fashion in Process, a research collective within the Design Department of Politecnico di Milano University, the women of I Was a Sari are able to create change not only in their own lives, but in the lives of those around them.


The women come into the business through a variety of means, but they all start in the training program. They learn the basics of how to make patterns, use sewing machines, to best utilize the materials, and to create a product from start to finish. Some of the women work on pieces in their homes, including stuffed animals and uniforms for local children. Others work on a per piece basis making the items that we carry in the shop. A few others are on salary and are managing sections of the product line. These women take the orders, determine which saris will be used for which product, track the pieces through production, inspect each item for quality, and pack the finished pieces. No matter which part of the process the women take part in, they are also provided with a steady job and income in a way that best suits the needs for themselves and their families.


Here in the shop we have a variety of items made by the amazing women at I Was a Sari. We carry scarves, hankies, bags, and jewelry. We also have yoga mat carriers! As each piece is handmade from a repurposed sari, no two are exactly the same. The creations of I Was a Sari are fabulous gifts, and make a great addition to any wardrobe. Be sure to see what’s new in the shop on your next visit! Photos by Dana of Urban Utopia Photography and Katey.

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