Fair Trade Producer Spotlight: Indigene

  • Mata Traders
  • 16 Apr, 2022

The traditional Indian textiles you see in many Mata designs are the result of our partnership with Indigene Craft, a label built on the importance of storytelling and celebrating the essence of the makers. Founded in 2011, Indigene could be considered relatively new to the fashion industry, yet they are deeply committed to honoring the past.

Designers and founders Jaya Bhatt and Ruchi Trapathi are textile design graduates from Delhi’s National Institute of Fashion Technology. (Fun fact: Jaya actually worked for our partner Sadhna early in her career!) Mata Traders partnered with Indegene in 2013, shortly after their start, to bring on more styles with hand-crafted details like hand block and screen printed fabric and embroidery. The mastery of these techniques is really highlighted in each of their pieces. 

fair trade organization Indigene utilizes handcrafted techniques like hand embroidery and hand block printing

Champions of slow fashion, Indigene identifies as an ethical and conscious brand and company, and embodies fair trade practices throughout their business. Their longstanding relationships with artisans across India are the cornerstone of the rich textiles you see in Mata’s designs, weaving this network into the final product by, in their words, “bringing together a tapestry of stories and cultures.”

Each season, our design team in Chicago designs garments and chooses from Indigene’s available block printed textiles, created with techniques like Ajrakh, Dabbu, and Kalamkari, made by printers and dyers from different areas of the country. These ancient printing techniques turn neutral fabric into true artisanal works of art, with celebrated imperfections making no two alike. Indigene also works with hand screen printers from Sanganer, Jaipur to create some of our custom Mata textile designs as well. [toile screenprint] 

Garments are constructed at one of two different small partner units in Delhi, one a family-run business, and the other a non-profit, managed by the Agha Khan Foundation, that supports local Muslim women trained in the skill of tailoring. Embroidery or embellishments are completed by a small home-based group of women in Delhi, who have been working with Indigene since the label started. [chennai embroidery]

Our pieces developed with Indigene give us the opportunity to design fashion-forward, well tailored pieces with details that celebrate traditional Indian handmade processes, a combination we are excited to continue to explore!

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