June 16, 2024

Plant Dyed Patchwork Collection: A Mission to Continually Improve Our Practices

Plant Dyed Patchwork Collection: A Mission to Continually Improve Our Practices
In a world overwhelmed by brands creating cheap, fast fashion (leaving the wellbeing of people and the planet in their wake), The ANJELMS Project aims to prioritise sustainability, embrace creativity and empower people throughout our Waste Not, Want Not program. On a mission to utilise our own deadstock textiles, Gaëlle was inspired to create a new capsule collection crafted almost entirely from upcycled offcuts. 
As much as we can try to minimise waste in our processes, the nature of making hand-crafted clothing inevitably creates challenges and results in materials and products that are unfit for their original commercial purpose. Granted, this is on a much smaller scale than that of fast fashion brands, but every little bit adds up and suddenly there exists a stockpile of “unmarketable” stock. 
For The ANJELMS Project, the most common reasons for this are inconsistencies in fabric production and dyeing processes. The life of our products begins at The Stitching Project in Pushkar, India, where cotton used to create our garments is hand-spun and hand-woven by skilled artisans, and then hand-dyed using Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) certified inks derived from various plants and insects. The outcomes of these processes are totally reliant on the natural ingredients as well as the skills and knowledge of people, rather than on machinery and technology, and therefore some irregularities are unavoidable.
On her trip to Pushkar in February this year, Gaëlle noticed an accumulation of this irregular stock in The Stitching Project studio, and decided that it deserved to have new life breathed into it. Instead of being considered as waste, the stock will go on a full-circle journey to become its own unique and sustainable collection of garments that embraces and celebrates creativity, craftsmanship and ingenuity.
Leftover fabrics and offcuts from previous collections will be cut into small squares and meticulously patchworked together to create a completely new textile. Following this, they will go on to be cut and tailored into a range of our most popular silhouettes including a shift dress, button pants, and reversible coat. The naturally dyed mid-weight khadi cotton is breathable for summer and insulating for winter, making it perfect for year-round use. Once constructed, the manufacturing process benefits the Pushkar community further by providing employment to The Stitching Ladies who lovingly stitch each garment by hand, and are compensated on a per-piece basis. 
As part of the Waste Not, Want Not program (and a perfect complement to the new Plant Dyed Patchwork collection), The Stitching Ladies have also created a series of hand-stitched plant dyed quilts which will be displayed at  the Fremantle Fibonacci Centre during the Stitching Stories exhibition  as part of the Indian Ocean Craft Triennial 2024 from August 16-25. Gaëlle has arranged for some members of the group to fly to Fremantle and attend the exhibition, which will be their first time ever leaving their village.
The result of Gaëlle’s resourcefulness and commitment to an empowering production process is a totally unique capsule collection that can be worn and loved throughout all seasons, as well as an incredible opportunity for women in rural India to experience other parts of the world. Her dedication to developing these people- and planet-focused processes has also resulted in The ANJELMS Project being upgraded from “Good” to “Great” on Good On You’s ethical brand rating scale! And for ethical consumers, there is nothing better than looking great knowing that your clothes have made a positive difference in the lives of their makers.
The ANJELMS Project Plant Dyed Patchwork collection is currently on its way to us, and is expected to reach our shelves in early July!

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