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.