A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ME:
I am a British-Indian lover of patterns, colours and nature, who has been living in Finland since 2004. Although I am “officially” a Biochemist working during the day as a researcher at Helsinki University, in the evenings I am often found drawing or creating something with my hands. Many of my fondest memories are from India, where I have spent a lot of my childhood, visiting my dear grandparents and family in the villages of Gujarat. The glowing colours and light; mud houses, monkeys and cows; the shiny, hungry eyes of smiling children; awe-inspiring temples, handicrafts and artisans; and the overwhelming humility and generosity of some of the poorest people that I had ever met… remain always with me.
Sorely aware of the unfair conditions for the majority of workers in India, especially farmers and women, I have long wished to start a company to promote ethically made products, especially textiles. So 2015 was the year that I could no longer ignore this longing and LITTLE WING SHOP was born 🙂
We are small, but we know that every kind, little step towards equality for humans makes a difference. Namaste ♥
WHAT WE DO and HOW:
We are developing a range of hand-crafted Quilts, Duvet Covers, Cushions and more. Designed after living for 10 years in Finland, the prints are strongly influenced by the simple Scandinavian landscape and colours but still keep their ethnicity from the geometric patterns of North India. The products are made by ethical organizations at every step, from the farming to the sewing:
Agrocel Ltd. kindly supplied us with 100% organic cotton. This wonderful company is unique as it allows the farmers to own shares in the company and hence have a voice! Importantly, it pays equally to men and women and provides maternity leave, which is basically unheard of in India! Agrocel is also dedicated to educating farmers about sustainable farming methods and also practically supports them to convert to the most environmentally friendly practices . The 100% organic cotton from Agrocel is GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified, however we cannot get the certification for our final products because the small family of block-printers and SEWA (the Womens sewing organization) we use are not GOTS certified. Certification is too costly and the requirements are not fulfilable for individual artisans with their traditional equipment and basic working premises.
SEWA is a trade facilitation organization that provides training, work and basic health education for rural tribal women, especially in the desert regions which are very remote and have no work available. The women are able to earn a living using the traditional skills they have inherited from their different cultural backgrounds and tribes. It provides a very fair wage, safe working environments and most importantly allows the women to be self-reliant and support themselves and their family.
The video below shows the block-printing in progress by Manu-bhai, whose father and grandfather also depended on this traditional craft for their livelihoods.
Video and Photos from India, courtesy of Mayank Soni.
Product pictures by Jaakko Miettunen. Kiitos!