Thursday, 24 December 2009

Happy Christmas!


From all the staff at Bishopston Trading Company and from our partners in K.V.Kuppam, we wish you a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.


Sunday, 20 December 2009

Organic Fairtrade Cotton Tea Towels

Ros first joined Bishopston Trading as part of a work experience placement whilst at school in Bristol. Later she bacame a Saturday Assistant in our Bishopston shop. Later still she worked with the K.V.Kuppam Embroidery Society and the Jewellery and Screenprinting Society. Several of the products we still sell online and in our shops today (several years later) were designed by Ros.

Nowadays as well as running art and craft activities with children in Bristol, Ros makes bags, brooches, collages and prints that she sells on Gloucester Road, just up from our shop, in a little gallery called Fig. Recently she approached us with a very attractive design for a tea towel. These are now being produced for her in K.V.Kuppam and sold in the Fig shop.

Bishopston Trading Company grew out of a twinning link between the area of Bishopston in Bristol and the village of K.V.Kuppam in South India. Almost 25 years later, we are still an organisation happily embedded in the local communities at both ends. We thought the story of Ros' Tea Towels illustrated this nicely.

Ros' organic Fairtrade cotton Tea Towels available at Fig, 206 Gloucester Road, Bristol.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Fairtrade Nativity

I wish I'd written this post this time last month. Earlier in the year we were approached by a very friendly company with an unusual name who were enquiring about ordering our organic Fairtrade cotton cloth on a wholesale basis. The company's name is While Shepherds Watched!

Of course we were more than happy to supply them with the cloth and generate more work for the weaving community of K.V.Kuppam. In conversation with them however, we learned that we could do more than just supply them with the cloth: While Shepherds Watched produce ethically-sourced nativity play costumes, really effective but simple tunics which would be no problem for the K.V.Kuppam Tailoring Societies to produce.

So that's what we're now doing: not only are the costumes made from organic Fairtrade certified cotton, they're woven and stitched in the village of K.V.Kuppam by our Fair Trade partners.

It's probably a bit too late in the nativity-play season now, but bear it in mind for next year: Mary, Joseph and the Shepherds can all be clothed ethically and fairly!




Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Eco-Footprint

In my last post I mentioned that like all organisations, there are things that we at Bishopston Trading could be improving on to reduce our Ecological-Footprint. Here's a few:

Letting People Know about the Environmental Impact of their Clothing.

I've heard it said that the majority of a garment's environmental impact is produced by our care for it once we've bought it. I can't find an exact figure, but certainly the washing, spin/tumble drying, and ironing of garments over their lifetime can be energy intensive (tumble drying's a big no-no). We recommend using an eco-detergent, washing at 30 degrees, hanging our clothes on a line to dry, and then steam ironing them.


Turning Off our Computer Monitors at the End of the Day

Sometimes in our rush to leave the office at 5:30, we don't wait to turn off our monitors. I come in in the morning and see an array of little flashing green lights. We need to improve on this.


Reboiling the Kettle

I have to admit its quite common for me to boil a kettle of water to make everyone in the office and in the shop downstairs a cuppa, then answer the phone or start typing an email, forget about the kettle and have to reboil it 15 minutes later.... Definitely losing points on that one.


Lighting in our Shops

Our shops have to be well lit to show off the distinctive colours of our clothing range, its one of the main reasons given by our customers for why they shop with us. We're currently looking into the best low-wattage option for all these spotlights.


We like to think we're doing well, but as with everything we can always do better...

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

The Wave - 5th Dec

Like several thousand other climate-change warriors/worriers, I spent my Saturday marching across London calling on the British government to take a tough stance on greenhouse gas emissions at the Copenhagen Summit this week.


Despite the severity of our planet's situation, it has to be said that Saturday's march was a very sociable affair. Amongst others, I met Katie who was proudly marching in a Bishopston Trading classic embroidered jacket.

This got me thinking about what we already do as a company to reduce our ecological footprint and also what else we could do....

Here's are 4 things we're good at:

Starting right at the beginning, the cotton we use is 100% organic, sourced from Agrocel Pure & Fair Cotton Growers in Gujurat. Conventionally grown cotton is enormously chemically intensive: some people estimate 25% of the world's insecticides are used on cotton alone, and 10% of the world's pesticides too. Most of these chemicals are derived from oil. Organic cotton farming cuts this out of the picture straight away.

Next comes the cotton weaving. As I've mentioned at least once before here, Bishopston Trading Company works with local based handloom weavers in K.V.Kuppam, who produce the handloom cloth which we use in the majority of our products. Handloom weaving is a traditional craft that relies on no energy source other than the pulling and pedalling action of the weaver. Our felllow Fair-Traders People Tree claim that fabric woven on a handloom produces 1 tonne less CO2 per year than the equivalent cloth from a powerloom.

Now to production. Since the earliest days, Bishopston Trading Company and our partners in K.V.Kuppam, have produced all sorts of bags, accessories, toys and gifts. Not only do our customers love them, especially at this time of year, but they ensure that every last scap of cloth is used up after our clothing collections have been produced. The K.V.Kuppam Tailoring Societies are waste-free producers!

Finally, in terms of the business at the UK end. There's several things that would be worth mentioning, for example the electricity company we use, where we buy our supplies of tea bags, toilet cleaner, soap etc. But probably the most interesting thing we do, concerns how we dispose of some of our packaging waste. Our goods arrive in cardboard boxes (of course these are then recycled) which are wrapped in cotton cloth to ensure the contents are safe and the boxes last the long voyage to Britain. We then donate this cloth to various local organisations who use it in their various projects: our friend Kath uses it to make rag-rugs which she sells locally to generate funds for her charity work in Gambia, local ethical-entrepreneur Rachel uses it in her reusable sanitary towels, and finally the local scrap-store offers it as craft material to local youth groups.

Next time: where we need to improve...

In the meantime, check our these blogs by local campaigners, Valerie and Janine who are reporting from Copenhagen as the negotiations take place.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Fairtrade Cotton Chrimbo

That time of year's come round again.... advent calenders are being opened each morning up and down the country, and people are preparing themselves for the great Christmas-present-shopping-slog. We suggest making it easy for yourself and doing it from the comfort of your own home: take a look at our Christmas present ideas online.

Why not choose to hang up an organic Fairtrade cotton stocking this Christmas Eve. Or fill a Fair Trade Christmas sack with goodies for your loved one. Decorate your tree with Fair Trade biodegradable garlands and stars, and sit down to your Christmas lunch at a table covered with an organic Fairtrade cotton table-cloth, decorated with hand-appliqu├ęd holly leaves.

Christmas is a time for giving. Buying Fairtrade Christmas gifts ensures your purchases make a positive difference to the lives of the skilled farmers and artisans who cultivated the crops and spun, wove and crafted the final product. Make it a Fairtrade Christmas.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Meet a Cutter


This is Pandiyan. He is a cutter at the KVKuppam Tailoring Society. He works as part of a team of 12 cutters who prepare the pieces for the tailors to sew together into garments. Being a cutter is a senior position within the Tailoring Societies as it's essential that this first stage of the Cut Make Trim stage of production is done accurately and swiftly. Like most of the cutters, Pandiyan joined the societies as a tailor, in 2004 he was promoted to the position of cutter. He has worked at the societies for 19 years. He lives with his wife in the village of Mel Vilachule on the outskirts of KVKuppam.

It is very common for members of the Tailoring Societies to stay working at the units for many years, some of the original tailors employed when the company started in 1985 are still working there. This is because opportunities for well-paid stable employment are few and far between in rural South India. Bishopston Trading Company is proud to be able to offer long-term employment to the villagers of KVKuppam and enable them to earn a living wage for themselves and their families without having to leave their villages and move to the urban areas of the country.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Cotton On Too...

Earlier this year we worked with Oxfam, Soil Association, Bristol City Council and Bristol Fairtrade Network to host the Cotton On conference here in Bristol.

The event was a great success:

130 delegates; speakers ranging from Lucy Siegle of The Observer to representatives from Monsoon, the Fairtrade Foundation, Pesticide Action Network, Labour Behind the Label, Traidcraft, Ethical Fashion Forum; workshops on Organics, Fairtrade, Supply Chains, and Sustainable Design. And the day was finished off with a huge Open Space discussion between all delegates focusing on the key issues of the day and facilitated by William Lana of Green Fibres.

After a brief recovery period we got back together as the Cotton On team and after looking through all the feedback forms decided there was a big demand for a sequel to take what had been learnt from this one and move forward. Interestingly some of the most compelling feedback came from students who'd attended the event because they were interested in the issues and found their fashion/textiles/design tutors unable to teach them anything about it.

With this in mind we got Fashioning an Ethical Industry on board and decided to organise a sequel aimed specifically at young people with more interactive sessions and with a broader scope - textiles/fashion rather than just cotton.

And here it is: Fashion Victims, hosted by UWE on Friday 26th February, open to all 14-18 year olds and their tutors. Workshop sessions will encompass: Textile Waste, Recycling and Climate Change; Fairtrade Cotton; Garment Workers' Rights; Sustainable Design; Organic Supply Chains. The day will be opened by Tara Starlet of BBC3's Blood Sweat and Tshirts fame, and is sure to be as informative and inspiring as this year's event.

Book your place online here.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Fair Trade Blogging

I wanted to reassure you that despite my lack of postings over the last few weeks, I haven't forgotten about blogging. In fact on the contrary, I've been busy reading other people's blogs!

Here are four of my favourites that I wanted to share with you: together they give a nice picture of the diversity of the Fair Trade movement and the interactions between producers and buyers.

http://www.pachacutifairtrade.blogspot.com/

Laden with awards and rightly so, Pachacuti are the real-deal. Carry's blog offers a window into the Fair Trade fashion-house, with fascinating stories from her producer-partners in the mountainous areas of Ecudor.


http://blog.shared-interest.com/

Shared Interest are the UK's Fair Trade bank, they finance Fair Trade producer groups all over the world. Don't let the recent crisis tarnish your view of all banks, Shared Interest is exemplary and their blog reports on their work with producers and with the Fair Trade campaigning movement here in the UK.


http://www.ubuntu-trading.com/blog/

The soft-drinks industry has become emblematic of our globalised world and its inequalities. But Ubuntu Cola proves that it can be part of the solution. This blog by Elod Kafaukoma is a very personal account of life and Fair Trade from the producers' end.


http://www.scottishfairtradeforum.org.uk/blog/

Second only to arch-rival Wales in the stakes for the world's first Fairtrade Countries. The Scottish Fairtrade Forum contains a wealth of information on the campaign for fairer terms of trade.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Bishopston Trading Malmesbury

Here are some photos of our new Malmesbury shop: from a work in progress, to the opening party last Saturday featuring plenty of Fairtrade bubbly, kindly donated by the co-op across the road, and a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony with the town mayor. Hope to see you there sometime soon.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Fair Trade Bucks the Recession

Whilst many retailers are closing stores or even leaving the high street altogether, we are proud to announce the opening of our fifth store today!

To the delight of green fashionistas and ethical consumers across the west-country, our range of organic Fairtrade cotton clothing is now available at 11 High Street, Malmesbury, Wiltshire.

For 24 years we have worked in partnership with the village of K.V.Kuppam in South India, providing long-term, stable employment to hundreds of local villagers. The original inspiration for the company was the simple assertion made by one of the villagers, that as skilled craftspeople they need work not charity. This has remained the founding principle of the business.

The recent collapse of an economic system based on short-term profits and disregard for the welfare of communities, has only served to further motivate the members of our workers' cooperative to extend our business model that is based on partnership, transparency and fairness. Opening a fifth shop enables us to maintain (or fingers crossed, perhaps even increase) our level of orders with our partners in K.V.Kuppam, ensuring they can continue to offer full-time employment to all their members.

The fifth shop is the latest addition to our modest chain that includes, Bishopston Bristol, Bradford on Avon, Glastonbury and Totnes, as well as our thriving Mail Order and Wholesale departments.

With concern for the environmental and social effects of our shopping habits increasing every day, Fair Trade makes sense, and is becoming the first choice for discerning shoppers. We are proud to be expanding during these challenging economic times.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Meet a Tailor

Now that our new range is available online and thousands of Autumn catalogues are winging their way to our loyal customers, I thought I'd take this opportunity to introduce some of our partners in K.V.Kuppam who work in the tailoring units. In the photo below are best-friends, Premlatha (in the blue sari) and Chitra (in the yellow).


Premlatha is 34 years old. She has worked at the tailoring units since 2003, before which she was a housewife. She began her career at the tailoring units as a tailor, and then in 2006 was promoted to the position of Mahathmagandhi Society Clerk. [Mahathmagandhi is one of the Tailoring Societies who work in the units, the societies are self-governing, democratically organised groups - like workers' co-operatives. Each society has a clerk who is responsible for the administrative work of the society and quality control.] She lives in KVKuppam with her 75 year old father and her two sons, Gokul who’s 12 and Parthasarathy who’s 8. Her husband died several years ago. Like many of the workers at the tailoring units, she cycles in to work each day.

Chitra is 31 years old; she married her husband Ganesh in 1998. They have a son Saivishnu who’s 10, and a daughter, Bravinsha who’s 8. She joined the tailoring societies as a tailor in 2003, was promoted to clerk in 2005 and since 2008 has been both the clerk and the supervisor for Kamachiyamman Pettai Society. Before working at the tailoring units she was a housewife. Like Premlatha, she is the sole bread-winner in her household: her husband previously worked as a market trader but his business failed a few years ago and he has been unable to find other employment since then.

The K.V.Kuppam Tailoring Units have 2 key employment policies:

1, Members should not only show the capacity to learn the necessary skills for job, they must also be from economically disadvantaged families.

2, Only one member of each family is allowed to work at the units.

These two policies ensure that the opportunity to have a stable, well-remunerated job within the K.V.Kuppam area, reaches those most in need of work, but also that the work is spread to as many households in the area as possible. Like many of the members of the tailoring societies, both Chitra and Premlatha are the sole wage-earners in their families - they support their families with the wages they earn at the tailoring units.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Fairtrade Fellas

For almost 25 years we've been producing, in partnership with K.V.Kuppam, Fair Trade cotton clothes for women and young children. Several of our most popular styles are unisex, like the well-known 939 reversible trousers and the 550 patchwork trousers; in addition we've always had a small selection of shirts for men, but to be honest the range for men has been far from extensive.

Ultimately I suppose this has been due to limited demand. However, in the last couple of years we've noticed an increase in interest from blokes - both in our high street shops and online. So this Autumn, we're proud to present an extended selection of garments for Fairtrade-friendly-fellas!

So for example our classic Clean Jeans can now be complemented with our first Fairtrade cotton man's Teeshirt, or with our new look slimfit shirt - tailored for a less baggy fit than the ever popular 684 shirt.

A new cotton denim shirt is also available with an informal looking grandad collar. Our 1006 formal white shirt is perfect for more serious occasions. And finally, because every man needs a rest now and again: Fairtrade cotton men's pyjamas.

All at affordable prices and all now available from our online shop....

Fairtrade Fellas Rejoice!




Thanks to Tom for modelling!



Thursday, 24 September 2009

From Totnes to California and back...and back again : Travels of a Fairtrade Cotton Jacket

Earlier this year I had a lady in the shop who spent some time choosing what to buy her neice, who lives in California to lift her spirits whilst she was in hospital with cancer. After some time she bought Bishopston's famous patchwork trousers and patchwork jacket in greens.........both were mailed off to California and both Aunt and I awaited news of how the gifts were recieved.

A few weeks later Aunt Heather came back to say Katrina loved the items but unfortunately the jacket was too big due to the weight she had lost ..........so in the post the jacket returns and several weeks later Aunt Heather is back in the shop and the item is changed and off goes the smaller jacket in the post over the seas again.

Aunt Heather comes in several weeks later to say the jacket has arrived and all is well, also to say that Katrina is out of hospital and comming over to England.

Several weeks pass and the summer season is nearly over, the children are back at school, and I am standing by the desk looking at the door when, although I have never seen her before nor a picture, I immediately recognised Katrina. She was wearing her Bishopston green patchwork jacket and she has a hat on covering her head. Katrina was in remission and over to visit her aunt in Totnes with her friend Mary. Both loved the shop and walked away with bags full of unique Bishopston Trading clothes taking our shop's story and clothes back to the states.

Karen - Manager of our Totnes Branch


Friday, 11 September 2009

Autumn 2009 at Bishopston Trading Company

Our Autumn collection is arriving: the catalogues are at the printers, boxes are being unpacked, and a preview of the collection can be seen online.

This season's colour-scheme is inspired by the colours of South India: the riot of pinks, purples and deep ochres found in the gardens at our producer partners' campus in K.V.Kuppam, and the dazzling array of blues seen at the textile stalls at the weekly market in the village.

Our range of Fairtrade certified organic cotton clothing includes garments in handloom, calico, denim, velvet and babycord; items for women, men, babies and children. Alongside a selection of our classic styles, you will find many new styles available for the first time. Enjoy!






Thursday, 10 September 2009

Autumn has arrived

Here at BTC we know that Autumn's here (and Christmas is hot on its heels) when we've spent two days in the warehouse.

Unloading, unpacking, repacking, reloading, dispatching.

A couple of hundred boxes, dozens of wholesale orders, hundreds of mini animals in pouches, what feels like thousands of Christmas stockings.

Plenty of rooibush tea and generous helpings of biscuits.

Roll on the new season!


Monday, 7 September 2009

Visit to K.V.Kuppam

My father visited K.V. Kuppum a couple of weeks ago, he says it was a very rewarding trip. After a bit of difficulty in finding it he was greeted by the manager and cashier with open arms. And whilst my father went around the factory with the manager the cashier made a tasty lunch.

Of the many things he said, what most hit home to me as a manager of one of the Bishopston Trading shops is that there are 200 dedicated workers solely dependant upon our efforts to sell their goods. It is great there are no middle men but if sales fall then people are laid off and there is no social security in India.

This has not happened yet and there has been a steady increase in the workforce. What is so great, is working for a small company and knowing the beginning and the end of the garments are just that, the beginning and the end, with no unknown outsourcing in between.

Having worked at Marks and Spencer where the chain from the cotton grower to us as sales assistants was so impersonal, my father bringing back pictures of his visit to KV Kuppum reminded me that we rely on the garment cutters and sewers to do a good job in making the clothes and they in turn rely on us to sell the clothes. We keep each other in work, it is as simple and as fragile as that. It is almost a personal relationship, and it makes me want to think of other ways to sell the garments and move ahead both for the people in India and for us.

Karen






Sunday, 6 September 2009

Far Flung Fairtrade Cotton

Bishopston Trading's Fairtrade cotton cloth finds it way to some far flung destinations. It is used by designers and crafts-people around the world. Here are some of our favourites:

1. Ardalanish Isle of Mull Weavers
http://www.ardalanish.com/

Located on the beautiful Scottish Island of Mull, Ardalanish weave their own tweed cloth from Native Hebridean Sheep's wool. They tailor the cloth into stunning jackets and line them with our Fairtrade organic cotton cloth.



2. Jumina Designs, Norway
http://www.jumina.no/

Elisabeth Rognmo designs and makes enchanting children's and adults' clothes - modelled online by her children in the Norwegian forest near her home. Probably the cutest checked trousers we've ever seen!


3. Mumu, Greece
http://mumusyros.blogspot.com/

On the sun-soaked island of Syros, Mumu stocks a range of Fair Trade and Eco-Fashion from around the world, inlcuding Eleni Bendila's range of summer dresses made from our Fairtrade organic cotton.


4. Las Otras Hermanas, Mexico
http://www.lasotrashermanas.org/

Based in a Mexican village close to the US border, Las Otras Hermanas is a community project which involves, amongst many other things, teaching tailoring skills to local women. Using our cotton cloth they produce breathable cotton shirts - perfect for the mexican heat.


5. Mamma Mia, Portugal
http://www.mammamia.pt/

Mamma Mia use our Fairtrade organic cotton handloom cloth to make practical baby slings and carriers. Lightweight, colourful and strong.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Farewell Fairtrade Summer in Westbury on Trym

During the months of July and August, an unexpected change could be witnessed on the Westbury on Trym high street: a sudden deluge of shoppers carrying attractive and practical natural cotton shopping bags. The contents of these bags were also creating a bit of a stir: they were full of beautiful Fairtrade organic cotton clothes, fresh from the Bishopston Trading Company sale shop.

Despite the so-called summer weather not being quite the ideal cotton-wearing kind we had all hoped for, our temporary summer sale shop in Westbury on Trym, has been a run-away success. Women's, men's and children's clothes have all sold well. The ever-popular 830 Knot Button Top, retained its title as the best-selling summer item.

Sadly the lease was only temporary and short-term, so last Friday the team was back to pack up the remaining items and fittings. Luckily for the residents of Westbury on Trym, our Gloucester Road shop in Bristol is only a short bus journey away.

Watch this space for news on a new permanent Bishopston Trading Company shop opening very soon...


Monday, 31 August 2009

Quakers love Bishopston Trading Company.


Recently overheard: Two Quaker women talking,

"Bishopston Trading Company is the Harrods for people like us!"

Nowhere was this more evident than at the recent Quaker Yearly Meeting Gathering, held on the campus of York University in early August, for which the company supplied the recycled newspaper conference bags.
Snapped on site during the week were more than forty Bishopston items ranging from women's clothing to men's shirts and jewellery worn by a Young Friend.
This is hardly surprising given that the pioneering Fairtrade company has been run on Quaker business principles since it was formed 25 years ago.

The new Quaker Centre cafe and shop, which will open on 3 October at Friends House in Euston, will be stocking a selection of Bishopston Trading Company items, to take away in specially branded Quaker Centre bags - supplied by Bishopston Trading Company, of course!

Judi


Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Don't Forget the Handloom


Having extolled the virtues of powerloom weaving in the last post, I thought I better say something ab0ut the wonders of traditional handloom weaving - just to ensure no-one feels left out. After all, handloom weaving is the principal craft of the K.V.Kuppam area and the quality of the cotton cloth brought back from K.V.Kuppam when the Bishopston-Kuppam link was first formed, was part of the initial impetus for founding the trading company.

Anyone who’s ever worn a Bishopston Trading blouse or shirt knows how breathable, soft and light the handloom cotton cloth is, but few people are aware just how versatile a material it is too. To illustrate this I thought I’d share with you a selection of other products made from the Fairtrade organic cotton cloth that is handwoven by our partners in the village.


1. The Wondercube

Having watched her baby daughter ethusiastically pulling wipes out of their packet, Helen Twigge-Molecey, designed this educational children's toy to be made from lightweight cotton cloth.


2. Fat Quarters - Quilting Packs
Colour co-ordinated packs of fabric, designed specially for avid quilters.



3. Zip-Safe Bags

Multi-purpose storage bags: cash, keys, medication, mobiles - all those small but essential things that have a habit of vanishing at the crucial moment.
4. Tartan Ties

In fact a whole range of cotton items all in classic Gordon Tartan and all from cloth woven in South India.


5. Student Fashion

Well this isn't much of a leap from the handloom cotton clothing I mentioned at the beginning of this post, except that these garments were designed and made by students at Filton College Bristol. It just shows what a versatile and useable fabric handloom cotton is, when it can be crafted into beautiful garments by students, professionals and hobbyists alike.


Finally, here's an image of the handloom cloth in production. At the weaver's feet are two pedals which she presses alternately to raise and lower consecutive warp threads. The cords attached to the top of the frame are pulled in time with the pedal-pushes, this sends the shuttle shooting back and forth between the warp threads, creating the weft. The weavers who produce the handloom cloth for Bishopston Trading Co and our partners are organised into Self-Help Groups, these operate like small co-operatives: they are democratically run and the profits are shared amongst the members.

For more information visit these pages of our website:

K.V.Kuppam and How our clothes are made

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Powerloom Weaving Arrives in K.V.Kuppam

The inspiration behind Bishopston Trading Company was a simple assertion made by one of the villagers of K.V.Kuppam, that what they wanted was work not charity. This, coupled with the long-standing tradition of high-quality handloom cotton weaving in the area, led to the founding of the company as a trading partnership. We now work with five groups of handloom weavers in the surrounding villages, they produce the Fairtrade organic cotton cloth that is used in the majority of our clothing.

But lightweight cotton clothing, no matter how beautiful and breathable it may be, is not always ideal for these northern climes. So we complement our handloom range with Fairtrade organic cotton velvet, babycord, denim and calico. And from this month the weaving of the denim and calico will be undertaken by a new powerloom weaving society in K.V.Kuppam. The looms have been purchased, the weavers are being trained, and very shortly the clacking of electric powerlooms will be heard amongst the buzzing and singing of the local fauna and the rhythmic whirring of the sewing machines in the Tailoring Societies.



The Powerloom Weaving Society will be democratically organised as the other weaving and tailoring groups are. Not only will it enable us to offer a greater range of powerloom cloth and have greater control over the quality of the finished product, it will also allow us to offer this cloth by the metre to other designers, craftworkers and businesses, just as we currently do with our handloom. As Fair Trade goes from strength to strength, we are looking forward to supplying furnishing quality fabric to haberdasheries and department stores: Fairtrade organic cotton will no longer only be something we wear and sleep between, we will also be relaxing on it, drawing and opening it, sitting on it and lounging over it.