Apparel Production

All of Passion Lilie's apparel production is done in Bangalore by a fair trade certified organization that employs about 10-15 women from low- income communities. These women receive free on the job training, an above average salary, 24 days of sick leave and 11 government paid holidays, assistance in obtaining health insurance and financial advising.


On top of the general benefits, as Katie Schmidt, the founder of Passion Lilie, has seen during her visits, these women are happy to go to work, because at their job they have formed a positive and uplifting community. These women celebrate the joys in life such as a new baby being born by bringing sweets to work. They eat lunch together and help each other out like a family. When asked what they love most about their job all of them expressed their appreciation for the community they have at work.

All the girls who were interviewed by Katie said that they love their current job, because every day they get to work on a different project. They have learned how to assemble an article of clothing from beginning to end. And since they leave work at a reasonable hour and have most Saturdays and Sundays free, some of the girls have side jobs making tunics for friends in order to earn extra money. This extra income is extremely helpful, since many of these girls come from low income families that are struggling to pay the bills.

Usually in the apparel industry in third world countries girls are forced to work long hours- Saturdays and Sundays included- with little time off, and there days are filled with the same repetitive task such as sewing shoulder seams for months on end on the same garment style. At our production unit this is not the case!

(As told by Ruth Roberts at our producer group. All Photos copyright Ruth Roberts)


Lydia: Production Manager

Lydia is the backbone of the production unit. Having shown great potential in training, Lydia became a sample tailor at the unit in 1999, from where she quickly rose into managerial roles.

As Production Manager, Lydia now oversees the daily operations including quality control, technical advice and budgeted labour, as well as coordinating with buyers and overseeing production targets. That's a lot, but it's not all! Lydia's entrepreneurial spirit has grown in leaps and bounds: going back to evening classes and completing her secondary education in 2009 has enabled her to pursue her passion for fashion with a diploma in Fashion Designing & Merchandising, and most recently a diploma in Business Entrepreneurship on which she won the top prize for her business plans.


Kalaivani: Producer

When Kalaivani joined the unit in May 2012, she was as timid as a mouse. She had experienced much sadness in her family and her confidence was at rock bottom. Gaining skills, taking on responsibilities and completing her work to a high standard has all contributed to Kalaivani truly blossoming.

She has consistently taken the initiative in improving her own skills and this year, the production unit has supported Kalaivani to go back to school to complete her 10th Standard exams which will open the door to a world of further training, education and opportunities in her future. Kalaivani has worked on Passion Lilie clothes since the very first order and enjoys the variation of styles and prints. The Spinnaker pants with the slit were quite the revelation around here!


Kanchana: Producer

If you can hear a loud laugh at the unit, it's almost guaranteed to be Kanchana! A member of the stitching team since early 2013, Kanchana is patient, learns very quickly and is committed to her work, being determined to stay on at the unit in the future when she gets married rather than being at home as a housewife. Hooray for independence!

Kanchana has been trained by our main sample tailor Sumitra to lead on ever more complex stitching jobs and she is now working confidently on Passion Lilie samples for every collection. Kanchana's favourite thing about tailoring has always been dreaming up designs for her own dresses so it is fascinating for her to see all of the different Passion Lilie cuts and details. She is very excited to see the next season's designs already!