Sustainability is a process; it is a way of life. We cannot claim to be 100% Sustainable as it is always Work in Progress at each step. Simply adopting Sustainable measures in one facet is not enough, it has to be at every level possible & has to be continuous, & as per its own name – a Sustaining Practice. Here are a few steps Meiraas undertakes right now, while many more are under process.
The core of Meiraas is the creation of ancient Hand Embroidery, Chikankari. However merely selling Chikankari is not sustainability. Skill improvement of the artisans employed in the craft, fair wage parity, usage of better handloom or powerloom fabrics, organizing design boards that creatively excite the artisans, improving many processes of the heritage craft, all are taken care of bit by bit when we practise Chikankari, or other crafts like Shibori, Maheshwari, Chanderi
Meiraas uses high quality Handloom fabrics for our Handcrafted arts. We have been pioneers in practising Chikankari on base fabrics like 120 Count Pure Linen, Zari Silk, Handloom Taant, Muslin Khadi, Kala Cotton (organic), Ahimsa Silk, Maheshwari, Kosa Cotton when even doing Chikankari on handloom fabric was largely unheard of. Even in Powerloom Fabrics that we use, we ensure they come from Ethical sources that use purest yarn material, don’t employ child labour, have proper entry exit in their facility for workers, & the working hours are humane.
Every heritage craft is a summation of many steps & processes. Preserving each process is as critical as the craft itself, in order to maintain its purity, & take care of every chain of artisans associated with the craft. For example, Block making/carving in Chikankari is extremely critical as they are carved by hand using hammer & sickle like ancient times. When we design a new concept we get blocks made from scratch (like Falaknuma), unlike a new practice prevalent where block making is omitted by many to trace pattern on fabric & cut costs. But it is critical to preserve ancient methods as the blocks have unique markings that give the authentic look to the Chikankari craft.
ART & ANTIQUITY
A bulk of Meiraas effort is directed towards reviving ancient craft forms in their original look. For this our R&D (Research & Development) team toils day & night to study ancient craft style in Temple sculptures, Monument sculpting art, Crafts housed in museums, well researched coffee table books, hunting for Chikankari Blocks that are 200 plus years old & repairing & making them re usable. We believe craft style helps map evolution of society for generations to come.
Do you know Chikankari garments are 100% washed in Acid after their embroidery is completed? This is the rampantly used way to finish the garment. Meiraas has a problem with Acid sale. We are against the rampant abuse Acid Attack survivors have faced, and one of the core reasons is the easy availability of Acid for sale. Acid is equally harmful for the washermen who handle it regularly & the maritime life of Mother Gomti River. It took us lot of R&D and expertise of textile scientists, but we have finally achieved WASHING OF CHIKANKARI using Natural Bio Minerals (no chemicals) that harm no one & increase the life of the fabric & are good for the skin of anyone who handles them & our rivers. Please look for the sign below on our Products listing to know which ones are Bio Washed.
This costs us much more than Acid, but this is a price we are very willing to pay.
Meiraas is a pioneer in introducing Natural Dye on Chikankari fabrics. We have recently added this Work in Progress to our portfolio. Going forward, this will be a consistent practice.
FINISHING OF GARMENTS
Details like Mother of Pearl buttons, left over fabric tie ups, fabric button loops, wooden buttons, crochet laces, are some carefully thought out finishing touches we give to our handcrafted pieces.
On our sarees we get hand stitched falls done for our patrons. Our saree finishing are also mostly made by hand using leftover fabrics. All our work of finishing is sourced from trusted units who employ women in need & is under the ownership of a woman entrepreneur.
While our complete packaging is still Work In Progress, we have partnered with Palaguttapalle bags since our inception days. Paalaguttapalle is a small village in Chittoor District of South of India. Our partnership is our love for the women of these village who work very hard to keep themselves independent financially & live a life of dignity. Each shopping bag of Meiraas is for 250/- on an average, as they are made on sturdy Cotton Bags & made in Backpack style so that you can take them for grocery, books etc shopping easily. Meiraas provides these bags without extra cost as a goodwill to our patrons & promote use of jholas.
More packaging above this is WIP, & will only be launched when IT IS TRULY SUSTAINABLE.