It’s a challenge for sure. We don’t know what we don’t know! In the world of sustainable fashion, designers – like those pictured here – often face the dilemma of finding the right sustainable fabrics for their creations. So when you hear of something intriguing, confusing, disturbing, or that tickles your curiosity, what do you do?

Handloom fabrics produce 10X less carbon than industrial mill wovens.Maybe you leave it there – life is just too overwhelming to be distracted by another, eco-friendly fact.

Or, park it in that, ‘Hmmm! What is that & why?’ space, filled with other sustainable solutions that are rarely revisited. I know how that goes!

Or, just maybe, it comes at the right time, and dovetails with your quest for a more sustainable fashion collection or eco-conscious interior project. Info that’s more in line with your values. And that consumes you with an answer you barely had a question for!

In this blog post, we’ll explore designer-artisan partnerships and share insights into sourcing ethically handmade textiles. Let’s go!

Shaky or Certain?

Embarking on any new adventure requires careful consideration. From facts about food to human rights concerns, the abundance of information can quickly become overwhelming. Taking a moment to pause, reflect, and evaluate the ethical path ahead is crucial. Consider whether this journey aligns with your sustainable goals, and what you need to make the most of it.

Designer-Artisan Partnerships

Master weaver Sujauddin and designer Jackie Corlett discuss new sustainable fabric designsFeeling both shaky and certain at the same time is normal when designers venture into designer-artisan partnerships. Working with Motif Handmade, where sustainable fabrics are ethically handmade to order, introduces eco-friendly designers to an ancient way of ordering yardage with a modern twist. It’s an exciting journey that’s new for many designers today.

What do I need to know?

When first hearing about sourcing handmade textiles, questions inevitably arise. One designer expressed her initial reaction, with incredulity and a hearty laugh, “OK! I’m sorry, but … my own design handloom fabrics? How is this even possible?”

It’s important to acknowledge such concerns, take a deep breath, and explore the possibilities. To assist you on this journey, we’ve created an ‘insider’ guide called Elevate Your Eco-Fashion | 5 Tips for Successful Designer-Artisan Partnerships. which is downloadable when you join our list here. Along with that, you’ll receive regular updates on all that’s helpful, trusted and new in our world of designer-artisan partnerships.

Meanwhile, here’s a brief summary of what’s in the guide:

Where do I begin?
Start by connecting with your local Fair Trade network. Engage with people who have extensive experience working directly with artisans. Search online for your city + “Fair Trade” to find kindred spirits keen to support you.

How can I be sure they are who they say they are?
Clearly define your non-negotiables and research the certificates that align with your values. Stay focused on your own requirements while investigating the credibility of artisan groups. And as you open conversations remember, this may be the start of your working relationship.

How does it work?
Different groups have their own setups. At Motif, we’re here to support you in designing beautiful signature fabrics for your sustainable fashion collection or eco-friendly interior project. We prioritize fair trade, handmade fabrics that strengthen families, communities, and the planet. Reach out to us, and let’s build this dynamic future together.

Aren’t handmade fabrics expensive?
One of the advantages of fair trade, handmade fabrics is the short supply chain. This allows artisans to be paid fairly while providing designers with affordable and potentially scalable fabrics. Open a trade account here to view the wholesale prices and receive free swatches of our gorgeous handwoven, zero waste, zero carbon fabrics. It’s a great place to start with just 10yd MOQs so you can experiment.

Can I use photos and videos of the process?
woman handloom weaver in BangladeshMany artisan groups appreciate the use of social media to market their work. However, always seek consent before sharing their stories and visuals. Respectful and transparent communication is key to maintaining healthy relationships. At Motif we have that consent and share photos with designers of their fabrics in production. You can see a few here on our IG feed.

What if I try this and find it’s not a good fit for me?
Engaging and experimenting is the best way to determine if a designer-artisan partnership is right for you. Through initial calls, we can assess whether our services align with your specific needs in terms of fabrics, schedule, resources and more. Would you like to start with a single project to Taste & See? We’re open to that too. Bringing gorgeous handmade fabrics into your community, while supporting communities in Bangladesh, is what truly inspires us!

If you and your clients are committed to sustainable practices in the fashion industry, sourcing ethically handmade fabrics through designer-artisan partnerships is a rewarding and impactful choice. By collaborating with Motif, you can elevate your eco-fashion and contribute to building better communities and a healthier planet.

Here’s to making things, all things, better together!

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