At UrbanMeisters we love to introduce you to new products, services which will make pollution-free healthy living easily possible. But sometimes we also showcase brands which on the face seem more socially ethical. But dig deeper and you see how that also helps keep our environment safe & challenges industrial malpractices. So today we introduce you to a beautiful silk scarf brand which helps uplift the local community as well as is responsibly produced – Nokshi Crafts – ethically produced premium hand painted & hand dyed pure silk scarf meticulously crafted by skilled artisans in rural Bangladesh.
The starting point of Nokshi Scarves
Nokshi Crafts was founded by Maisha Samiha with a vision to provide opportunities for artisans, mostly women, who do not have access to markets. Nokshi Crafts gives them a global platform to showcase their talent while ensuring they are paid fair wages and not subject them to unsafe working conditions.
Founder Maisha, a Bangladeshi Canadian, was always fascinated by the art of hand painting and handmade goods. Growing up, surrounded by her mom’s closet full of beautiful handmade garments with intricate patterns and designs, Maisha always wanted to create a line of her own which would be unique, yet preserve the artisan traditions of Bangladesh. She completed my undergrad in 2013; around the same time the Rana Plaza disaster took place in Bangladesh. We have covered in multiple articles how this incident shook up the fashion industry and led to The Fashion Revolution.
The incident really struck a chord & set Maisha on a path that led to creation of Nokshi Crafts. As she says, « All this time I used to go shopping and would get really excited to see a ‘made in Bangladesh’ T-shirt or dress, but never did I think of those workers that were treated so poorly in the factories and many ultimately lost their lives. This is the dark reality of the retail manufacturing industry in Bangladesh. I created Nokshi Crafts with a desire to provide opportunities for workers whose voices are unheard and give them a platform to showcase their talent on a global scale without subjecting them to inhumane working conditions ».
Watch the YouTube video here:
Behind the scenes – an exclusive product with a mission
The potential of hand-made production is often overlooked due to the focus on fast fashion where unfair wages, adverse working conditions, environmental pollution, excessive use of water and creation of waste is often the consequence.
On a trip to Bangladesh Maisha met up with a few artisans and producers & learnt that many of these artisans couldn’t live off of only making handmade goods as they did not have the proper connections to markets, and they had no choice but to be forced to relocate and work in factories under inhumane conditions. Her exposure to both contemporary production environments versus hand-made production environments was an eye-opener.
At Nokshi Crafts, ethical production means the artisans are paid fair wages and are not subject to adverse working conditions. Many of Nokshi’s artisans are able to work from the comfort of their own homes, while being able to take care of their families.
Producing their own premium silk fabric!
Nokshi Crafts is proud to be the first to bring ethically produced hand painted silk scarf in the market. To ensure premium quality, they produce their own silk!! The silk scarf is made from Rajshahi Silk, a pride of Bangladesh – known for its soft buttery feel and durability. Silk farmers harvest small batches of mulberry leaves, which are fed to domesticated silkworms. Feeding mulberry leaves to the silkworms produce the finest quality silk. Once the worms form cocoons, the strands are then reeled to create silk thread. The thread is then woven to create their super fine quality silk scarf.
Their commitment to environmental responsibility is also reflected in their choice of production techniques. Use of natural materials and hand-made production techniques means Nokshi scarves do not rely on heavy machinery that use coal or electricity as source of power. The production techniques also use very little water and produce minimal waste ensuring production process has a minimal carbon footprint. They also use natural dyes made from vegetables (we explained in article on ethical sportswear how dyes are harmful). This significantly reduces the use of chemicals that are harmful to the health of the artisans and contaminate the eco-system.
Initially, the collection will include two product lines:
1. The first one is hand-dyed batik silk scarf. Batik is the art of hand stamping intricate patterns on a garment using a wax resist. Nokshi batik scarves are hand-dyed using eco-friendly vegetable dyes. As a start, they are offering our hand-dyed scarfs in a combination of five different colours and five designs that you can choose from that you can view here.
2. The second line is the most exclusive and rare collection on the market – hand-painted silk scarves. A first collection of its kind, each hand-painted silk scarf is painted by single artists from start to finish, providing a human touch that is exclusive and rare. The talented artists are able to tell a story through this personal touch. Each of these scarves is a unique piece of art, and wearing them, absolutely elevates fashion.
Nokshi has launched a Kickstarter Campaign to take pre-orders on their scarves and to raise funds for production. Creating sufficient order quantities will allow them to retain a team of skilled and talented artisans who can focus on their task instead of worrying about making ends meet. Through the backer’s commitment, they can ensure that these artisans have steady incomes, which will create incentives for them to be more involved and empowered. And of course, help them scale up and expand production to steadily create more opportunities to support more artisans. So what are you waiting for? Support & pledge for the campaign NOW! You can also help spread the word by sharing your support via their HeadTalker Campaign here.
With a successful campaign, Nokshi intends to use kickstarter funds to carry inventory for future orders placed through their website – www.nokshicrafts.com. This will significantly reduce delays caused by weaving, dyeing, and painting and shipping the products. With a plan to provide a seamless supply of products, to best meet demands at all times, the Kickstarter is instrumental to their success.
If the campaign is successful they plan to expand their product line and include more varieties of handspun organic cotton and silk scarves, and hand embroidered scarves.
So dear readers, add an exclusive product to your wardrobe, while supporting such a beautiful initiative. If you own more of such products in your wardrobe, we would love to hear about the brands and cover them. And don’t forget to share your support to this beautiful project here.