Indian Summer Series: what 'ethical' means to my business

With the ‘ethical’ issue of Elle hitting the newsstands this month and a recent retail survey showing 2 out of 3 consumers are seeking out brands committed to ‘sustainability’ (Source: Nielsen 2015 Global Corporate Sustainability Report) it feels like the ‘ethical fashion’ is the buzzword of the season.

My team and I are going to Rajasthan this month to work with our artisan suppliers on next year’s womenswear and homeware collections. For each skill-set that I need to create the Dilli Grey ranges – from hand embroidery to our signature hand-block printing, I have consciously sought out the artisans I want to work with. How do I chose them? Well, some I have worked with for nearly 20 years as a high-street fashion buyer, while others I have found through contacts and recommendations. The one thing they all have in common, other than incredible skill and an eye for perfection, is their commitment to ethical fashion. When I work with an artisan studio my expectations are high. Not only for a fair wage for the people they employ, but for safe working conditions, too.

Often I take this standard of expectation for granted – it’s the way I’ve always worked and can’t imagine working any other way, but it’s not enough for me to just tell you about it here on the blog, or flippantly in those little social media squares.

Whilst I hope you can see and feel the quality, care and attention to detail that has gone into each Dilli Grey design, I want you to know more about the highly skilled men and women who I work with and learn more about how making the pyjamas, quilts and maxi dresses you all love means to them and their families.

ethical fashion brand dilli grey
So, this September I’m taking you with me. I’ll be doing Instagram Lives (@dilli_grey) from the workshop – showing you hand-block carving in progress, we can also have a rummage through the archive prints (it’s a treasure trove!). I am also spending some time in the home of the woman who runs the NGO who embroider all my maxi dresses and tunics. I want to get to know these women, many of them mothers, and learn more about how we can work together to create something equally meaningful and beautiful. It’s all about transparency – I want you to jump through your screen and come on the journey with me, so you realise the impact every Dilli Grey purchase you make is having.

Selfishly, I know that when I invest in the training and wellbeing of the artisans I work with, that will shine through in their work and together we will create something really magical. I want you to know you can fall in love with your pyjamas that little bit more because you know they have been made well, with love.

JOIN ME: I will be talking through our travel itinerary for Rajasthan in an Instagram Live next Tuesday, 11 Sept at 8.30pm. I’ll be sharing my ‘must-see’ places, design inspirations and a little insight into our plans for the trip. Tune in if you're planning a trip and want some tips, or if you're just a massive India fan like me!

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