I have always struggled with the word sustainability. It's way too generic and just a feel-good word that doesn't hold anyone responsible. I had decided not to write for some time, but I guess I suffer from a writers itch. So here is the story, and believe me, you are the protagonist.
Sometime back, I got to know of this weaver in the Bellary district of Karnataka and happened to meet him before the second wave. As his work interested me, I had asked him to call me back if he wishes to reciprocate. I don't pursue working with those who do not see the value in collaborating with us. We pay more than the Co-ops, but we make sure that's never the carrot they should bite into. We understand living-wages and crafts-person decides on the price, period.
This weaver doesn't work for any society but knows how to manage handspun yarn. His entire family is involved in starching, warping and winding processes. He is capable of buying the yarn, getting it dyed, and weave the fabric. He is an independent entrepreneur.
The problem is, he is too fast! He can produce 250 meters a month, and it's a bit much for an independent brand like ours. [remember we work with other weaving societies also] I am in no control of the fabric production, but I still have to sustain his healthy appetite. It's also one of the reasons why we decided to sell textiles.
As our relationship is still new, we have some teething problems concerning colours, skill and quantities from my point of view. We hope to arrive at a mid-ground soon. There was a time when this entire village used to weave sarees, but once the railway's department started giving them work through weaving societies, which is nothing but 20's count thick kora yardage, the existing skills got culled.
Many independent brands like ours and independent weavers still exist and work relentlessly, not knowing the outcome. The textile made from handspun yarn and natural dyes is in front of you. After all, it's YOU, the protagonist of this story, who has to champion sustainability.
Apart from hoisting the tri-color flag this Independence day, we hope you raise many independent brands/weavers and celebrate Inter-dependence day too.