Handmade in India

Handmade in India


Our fine collection of products & gifts from India feature a vast array of vivid colors and intricate ancient art forms, just like the country itself. On the whole, One World Fair Trade carries more products from India than from any other of the more than 50 countries we work with. This is in part due to the massive population of people who live on the Indian subcontinent and in part due to a culture that revolves, and has revolved for centuries, around handcrafts, from wood carving to embroidery to stitching, and the tradition of teaching their children the trade.

The tradition of wearing jewelry in India has been traced back 5,000 years. To this day, when you picture a woman in traditional Indian dress, you picture a colorful sari and loads of gold or silver adornments in the forms of jewelry such as bracelets and bangles, earrings, facial piercings and toe rings. Our collection of jewelry, scarves and shawls made in India includes pieces that are more traditional in their look and also plenty simply unique pieces catered to a Western market.

The clothing we carry from India also mixes aspects of traditional Indian artistry with what is fashionable in the Western world. For instance, in our clothing collection you might find a flattering shift dress with delicate hand embroidery- a modern shape with a distinctly Indian twist. We also carry wonderful pieces for those who want to travel to parts of the world with a more conservative dress than the USA. A gauzy embroidered tunic will keep you looking respectful and pretty, too.

We only carry Fair Trade clothing that is made with the “slow fashion” philosophy. This means more care is put into each handmade piece, and it also means that more care is put into how their producers are being treated. In “fast fashion”, clothes are produced as quickly and cheaply as possible. This typically means producers (many of whom are children) are in cramped work spaces for very long days, earning nearly nothing (if anything). Usual protocol in these situations is each piece of a garment is sewed on by a different employee, so it may be one person’s job to stitch labels onto blue jeans all day long, or pockets, or zippers. The way the clothing artisan groups in India we work with are set up, each complete garment in sewed in whole by one artisan. She has the option of working with other artisans but most women choose to work from home so they can tend to their households and children while they earn a living.

The artisan partners we work with in India also strive to use sustainable and ecologically sound practices in their work. From cotton that is harvested sustainably and often times organically, to the use of sustainable and fast-growing Indian Rosewood (known as Sheesham Wood to natives) to hand carve picture frames, puzzle boxes and labyrinths and other beautiful wood decor. Much of the jewelry we carry is carved out of bone left over from a food source. We carry many products made with beautiful, colorful recycled cotton sari fabric. Bowls made out of upcycled bike spokes and bracelets and bottle openers made from bike chains that are both creative and functional.

So peruse, and enjoy the vast variety of products we carry from the beautiful nation of India. Every single product purchased helps the artisan who so lovingly made it.

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