The last month has been a busy one in the Bangalore’s cooling climate. We’ve enjoyed exotic Christmas celebrations, learnt to jumpstart a car with roadside junk and confronted more frustrating bureaucracy through visa procedures.
Most importantly, however, we’ve finally found suitable espadrille manufacturers in France and received our first samples back - we’re very happy with them.
People do ask why we’re manufacturing in France if our aims are to work towards supporting the livelihoods of vulnerable communities in India.
There are two main reasons:
First, we’ve been unable to find manufacturers in India that live up to our requirements of fair trade and sustainability.
Second, artisans that hand craft espadrilles of a high quality are not easy to come by – especially in India. I’m sure they are out there, it just may take some time.
Instead we’ve decided to bring together the best of both worlds: Indian hand weavers who produce beautiful fabric and French artisanal espadrille makers who complete the shoe to an excellent standard.
The result is a combination of skills found in two very different regions, to create a distinct, high quality product.
Sourcing textiles from rural communities in cooperation with NGOs works towards our aim of supporting livelihoods.
We do, however, remain in talks with potential partners here to establish a small manufacturing base from the ground up in line with fair trade principles.
Let’s see what 2013 brings! Happy New Year!