Nokshi Crafts is a fair-trade brand showcasing ethically-produced and hand-painted silk scarves made in Bangladesh. The brand was founded by Maisha Samiha, a Bangladeshi-born Canadian, after the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013, in which 1,133 people died and another 2,500 were injured, making it the fourth largest industrial disaster in history. The disaster affected her deeply, and she established Nokshi Crafts with a desire to provide opportunities for workers “whose voices are unheard and give them a platform to showcase their talent on a global scale without subjecting them to inhumane working conditions”. Maisha visited Bangladesh earlier this year and met with artisans and producers. She learnt that many of the artisans could not live off their handcrafted goods as they did not have proper connections to global markets and “had no choice but to be forced to relocate and work in factories under inhumane conditions”. The potential of hand-made production is often overlooked due to higher costs, and so “the focus [moves onto] fast fashion where unfair wages, adverse working conditions, environmental pollution, excessive use of water and creation of waste is often the consequence”.
By showcasing their beautiful creations at Nokshi Crafts, these artisans get access to the global market and ensures a sustainable livelihood for artisans in rural communities. The brand’s ethical production ethos promises that artisans are paid fair wages and work in appropriate conditions. Many of the artisans are able to work from the comfort of their own homes, while being able to take care of their families.
Nokshi Crafts‘ commitment to environmental responsibility is also reflected in their choice of production techniques. The use of natural materials and hand-made production techniques means that the production of their scarves does not rely on heavy machinery that uses coal or electricity for power. These production techniques also use little water and produce less waste. Vegetable dyes are also used in this process instead of the more conventional dyes. This significantly reduces the use of chemicals that are harmful to the health of the artisans and contaminate the eco-system. In order to ensure premium quality, Nokshi Crafts produces its own Rajshahi Silk, a pride of Bangladesh known for its soft buttery feel and durability. Silk farmers harvest small batches of mulberry leaves, which are fed to domesticated silkworms in order to produce the silk. Once the worms form cocoons, the strands are reeled to create silk thread. The thread is then woven to create fine quality silk scarves.
Initially, the collection will include two product lines. The first one is a hand-dyed batik silk scarf. Batik is the art of hand stamping intricate patterns on a garment using a wax resist. Their batik scarves are hand-dyed using eco-friendly vegetable dyes. Initially, the hand-dyed scarves will come in a combination of five different colors and five designs to choose from.
The second line is a more exclusive and rare collection. Each hand-painted silk scarf is painted by a single artist from start to finish, providing a unique human and personal touch by the artist.
Their Kickstarter Campaign has launched this week to take pre-orders of their scarves and to raise funds for production. Creating sufficient order quantities will allow the brand to retain a team of skilled and talented artisans who can focus on their task instead of worrying about making ends meet. Through the backer’s commitment, they can ensure that these artisans have steady incomes, which will create incentives for them to be more involved and empowered. They hope to scale up and expand production to steadily create more opportunities to support more artisans.
The campaign intends to deliver to their Kickstarter backers, but also use Kickstarter funds to carry inventory for future orders placed through their website – www.nokshicrafts.com. This will significantly reduce delays caused by weaving, dying, painting, and shipping their products. Their plan is to provide a seamless supply of products, to best meet demands at all times. Therefore, Kickstarter is instrumental to their success!
Nokshi Crafts are currently testing the market with their first scarf collection, but if their campaign is successful they plan to expand their product line and include more varieties of handspun organic cotton and silk scarves, and hand embroidered scarves.
If you want to see more of these incredibly gorgeous scarves around, do go and support their amazing social mission through their Kickstarter campaign!