Founded by Chitra Gopalakrishnan, a graphic designer, and her mum, Indu Menon, a social anthropologist and author, Kara Weaves of Kerala produces modern designs using traditional techniques.
They started the business as a social enterprise to preserve the traditional Indian craft of handloom weaving, which was under threat from factory mass-production. Families who had been weaving for centuries were hesitant to pass these skills on to their children as there was a lack of job opportunities - something Chitra and Indu were determined to change.
Kara Weaves works exclusively with weaving co-operatives in Kerala, and is a certified member of the Fair Trade Forum of India.
Every weaver and tailor has a vote in how their weaving co-operative is run, and everyone receives insurance, retirement funds and most importantly, a fair living wage.
Beyond the benefits to the individual artisans, Kara Weaves' success in building a business using traditional skills is ensuring the beautiful craft of handloom weaving will not be lost, and instead will be passed on to future generations.
By providing jobs with fair wages to local weavers, Kara Weaves is contributing to the stability and growth of the local economy and preserving cultural traditions. This means people can work and live near their families, and don't need to travel to major cities to find jobs. Their children are able to go to school, access healthcare and have the opportunity to thrive.
We also love the fact that the Kara Weaves office is made up entirely of women, providing amazing inspiration to the next generation of women entrepreneurs in India! You can find our Kara Weaves collection here.
All images courtesy of Kara Weaves