Reinventing Khadi fabrics in Ahmedabad

Shailini Sheth Amin works to re-invent age old hand crafted fabric – Khadi, that is unique to India and an important part of the world history. For Shailini, the Khadi story is about freeing the environment from pollution and depletion, freeing people from poverty, and creating sustainable and circular economy. Shailini is the founder and senior partner of Women on Wings’ partner MORALFIBRE.

Social visionary
An architect, a community project initiator and a financial consultant, Shailini’s field of work is in energy efficiency and sustainable practices, conservation programs and heritage support to buildings, people, and places. She has worked in India and in the UK, on many national and international design and research projects and received credits and awards. She is a published writer and a committed spokesperson at various platforms – print, TV and social media for Khadi, sustainable lifestyle and businesses.

Believing in future of Khadi
Khadi is 100% natural cotton, including organic cotton, silk and blends in different counts and of highest quality which originates from the time of Mahatma Gandhi when he led the Swadeshi Movement. After having lived in the UK for fifteen years and back in Ahmedabad, Shailini was disappointed to see that Khadi, which once had a glorious past, had few takers. “At that time India was losing out on thousands of skilled Khadi spinners and weavers every year,” said Shailini. The sale of the hand-woven cloth had fallen dramatically, but Shailini realized that consumers and designers, both in India and abroad, still fancied its rich texture and comfy feel. This is what motivated her to reinvent Khadi as the most environment-friendly and sustainable fabric.

Fighting global warming and poverty
Shailini continues: “My late aunt and mentor Mrs. Indumati Chimanlal, was co-founder of a chain of Khadi Shops. Thanks to her I got inspired for developing the next generation of Khadi ‐ almost carbon neutral and allergy free. In the context of global warming and climate change the need for reinventing ethical, eco-friendly fabrics was clear. I also felt a strong need to devote myself to the cause of income generation for women artisans.” This was the birth of MORALFIBRE in 2007. Holder of Khadi Mark from the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), and a member of Fair Trade Forum India, MORALFIBRE sells locally made Khadi to eighteen different countries and helps support over 2,500 artisans, mainly women.

Reinventing due to COVID-19
Today, Shailini is motivated as never before to provide income to artisans. With sales dropping because of COVID-19, Shailini had to reinvent MORALFIBRE to assure the women artisans would be able to earn an income. So, like many of Women on Wings’ partners, MORALFIBRE turned to making face masks. Also MORALFIBRE is supporting the vocal for local campaign and runs a campaign #shoptosavelives which invites consumers to buy now and get the products delivered later. All MORALFIBRE’s activities aim to save lives of its artisans, the lives of our co-habitants and life of our planet. Women on Wings and MORALFIBRE are partnering since 2015 in a joint effort to improve the livelihoods of women artisans.