It takes 14 skilled artisans to create one handmade Karigar product.
Which means 14 pairs of hands to make it come alive. From Surma who collects the yarn, Sangita who spins it, Rakesh who dyes it, Pramod and Jaspal who set up the warp, Pushpa, Parwa and Sadhana who weave under the supervision of master weavers Tajwar and Ansari, Lakshmi who finishes it, Dinesh who checks it, Anjali who makes the Cape armholes, Gunanand who does the tagging and Shishupal who packs each piece carefully – often more than 14 skilled artisans work tirelessly to create a single Karigar Stole, Cape or Scarf.
At Karigar, we bring together our passion for sustainable fashion, knowledge and weaving skills of our artisans along with our refined design sense and innovation – to create handmade textiles for people to wear and enjoy.
When founding our brand Karigar (meaning ‘artisan’ in Hindi) in 2014, we made a choice to work only with rural artisans creating handmade textiles using traditional craft techniques. We knew that working with handmade poses its own challenges. It involves educating an audience about tiny irregularities of colour and weave, setting expectations about the time it takes to make a product and also preparing ourselves for working with humans and not machines.
Our artisans come from rural villages across India and working on the Karigar collection gives them the opportunity to make beautiful, unique products for a global market, and also gives them a regular source of income.
Since 2010, the Karigar co-founders Jolijn Fiddelaers, Sindhu Holla and Kanak Hirani-Nautiyal have spent time visiting parts of rural India to find the right partners to co-create with. By training artisans in new techniques, design interpretation and the importance of quality standardisation, we have increased the predictability of outcome, reduced the amount of waste during production and boosted their overall confidence.
Our artisans have, in turn, made us feel truly enriched, by enabling us to wear fashionable yet entirely handmade garments from all-natural materials. We are conscious of the impact our choices have on the lives of the people around us and on the world we live in, each small step reaffirms our faith in this inspiring story.