A special non-profit organization is based in Lucknow, the capital of the state of Uttar Pradesh. At its head is a young woman, Richa. Her social enterprise focuses on producing Khadi cotton fabrics. Khadi means that the entire production takes place 100% traditionally and manually, from raw material to end product.
GOTS and KHADI certified
The Government of India issues official certificates to organizations that are allowed to use the designation KHADI. These certificates are only granted in dribs and drabs because the entire production chain must meet strict requirements.
The cotton is organic, GOTS certified and comes from small cotton farmers with less than 2 hectares of land. The cotton is then processed completely manually in the countryside: carded, spun and woven.
Vegetable dyeing without heating
For the coloring of the fabrics, only green waste and plant material is used, which is locally available in abundance. The dyeing process is constantly evolving. At the University of Lucknow, Richa developed colorfast textile paint using cold water, including indigo, pomegranate, acacia and mulberry.
The adventure of this non-profit started with 10 weavers and five years later it has grown into an organization with more than 500 employed women and about 125 weavers. An expansion will follow in 2024, bringing the total number of professionals to around 2,000. No less than 35 percent of the sales of the fabrics go directly to the spinners and weavers.
Besides fabrics, the weavers also make scarves. The organic cotton is buttery soft, feather light and the natural colors are spectacularly beautiful.