Designing Change through Jobs & Organic Textiles

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Anchal Project

Before I dig into this beautiful brand and bandana I'm wearing, I think it's important to define its name. The noun 'anchal' has two definitions & both are quite relevant to the brand's mission. An anchal, pronounced on-chal, is either the decorative edge of a sari used to provide comfort & protection to loved ones or it can refer to 'shelter'. Both of these definitions represent this brand perfectly. A non-profit social enterprise, Anchal is providing alternative careers in textiles to marginalized and exploited women in India. Through design they are changing lives and supporting stronger sustainable communities. They believe 'design thinking' is the creative approach to problem solving, and I couldn't agree more. When applying this concept, workers are able to benefit from using methods like observation, collaboration, experimentation & evaluation to find solutions. 

Anchal was created by four women who believed design was key in social and environmental innovation. They traveled to India and met with local leader, Urmi Basu of the New Light, a non-profit organization saving girls from becoming victims of sexual exploitation and helping improve lives of those already affected. While exploring the Kalighat red light district they witnessed the extreme oppression so many women were facing. Unfortunately, they had little to no alternatives for work, and this is where the founders of Anchal saw an opportunity. They got to work and raised $400 through the sales of handmade notebooks and notecards. With this money, they bought a sewing machine, found materials and gave sewing instruction along with a stipend for the artisans. And in 2010, Anchal partnered up with their second NGO, Vatsaly. This organization rehabilitates street children in Jaipur, India, as well as supports rural women living in poverty.

By now I'm sure you know how much I nerd out when it comes to textiles. It's my favorite part of the industry, and I love when a brand uses fabric as a catalyst for positive change. Not only do they stress the importance of design, Anchal only chooses to work with eco-friendly materials. Since the fashion industry is the second largest polluting industry in the world, they understand real change doesn't stop with the business model - you have to think of every little detail along the way. Therefore, they source recycled materials {like vintage saris}, organic fibers and natural dyes.

Since I'm on the subject of their textiles, let's talk about this beautifully colored bandana! The Asha Bandana is hand-stitched from 2 layers of 100% certified organic cotton, and it's probably one of my favorite color combinations - what they call bone,slate,gold. I love how it is big enough to style a few different ways, and being it's made from cotton, this bandana is ideal for spring & summer. I think the visible stitching and paneled colors give this design a hip and contemporary vibe. What's so cool though, each one features a hand-stitched name of the artisan who made it. I think this gives you a much greater appreciation for the garment! 

Want to help make a difference? With each Anchal piece purchased, you are helping provide an artisan with a full-time job, health care benefits, design training, and educational workshops. To shop their entire collection {they have gorgeous home goods, too!} click here. Don't forget to follow them on Instagram and use the hashtag #designingchange when showing off your goods :D 

Sustainably Supported by Anchal. As always, all views are genuine & products are truly loved! Help support the brands who support Sustainably Chic, so I can continue to bring you the best in sustainable fashion, beauty & lifestyle :) Thanks, everyone! #sponsored