How We Work
Community is core to how we operate. Beyond the basics, we believe it is important to nurture
a positive and uplifting environment so each individual feels valued and supported.
We source raw fabrics from mills in Southern India, each of which is closely vetted by Passion Lilie’s team according to our ethics and sustainability goals. These fabrics are then sent for hand block printing.
Most of Passion Lilie’s block prints are produced at a block printing studio in Bangalore that is surrounded by trees and a lovely lake that truly inspires creativity. This block printing unit started in 1977 with a mission to preserve block printing in a holistic environment, with ethical labour practices and eco-friendly dyes. The team is paid a well-above average salary with overtime, paid vacation, sick leave, loans and government holidays as needed. The manager of the block printing unit, Padmini, recognizes that “unless we pay fair wages it is not possible for the artisans to sustain and support their families.” Padmini is an extremely carrying woman who puts the needs of her workers first and treats them like family. Their senior staff has been with the studio for over three decades.
Learn More About Block Printing >
Passion Lilie uses many handwoven and ikat dyed fabrics that are purchased from several families that live in villages outside of Hyderabad. Each family typically has between one to three power and/or handlooms in their home. It is important to note that the children do not work to produce Passion Lilie garments and if the wife does the weaving, she gets paid in her own bank account. It is important to us to ensure that each weaver is paid fairly. We believe that by lifting up individuals in their own communities, those individuals will help others.
When making fabrics using the ikat dyeing process, the thinner the fabric the longer it takes to weave. This puts a premium on thin fabrics, making them more expensive to produce. Because of our ethical and fair trade practices, the weavers get an advance for this type of work. Then, the final payment for their work is given once the work is completed. We also offer loans if they need one. Ikat weaving has made a major come back in recent years. We are proud to do our part in supporting communities keeping this traditional craft alive.
Passion Lilie is very excited to start a new relationship (as of November 2020) with a weaving group in India. We have chosen to work with this group because their values align with ours. Part of Passion Lilie’s mission is to build a more sustainable world and this weaving group uses textile wastage to weave their beautiful products. The textile wastage is mechanically shredded into fibers and then spun into yarns to create upcycled materials that are also all 100% cotton natural fibers. To be exact their materials are 30% recycled cotton and 70% organic cotton.
This group is also located in Bangalore which is where most of Passion Lilie’s products are block printed and our garments are stitched just a little South in Tamil Nadu. By working with artisan groups within the same region of India we are able to reduce our cO2 emissions by reducing transportation with the supply chain. Handlooms also do not require electricity, further reducing cO2 emissions.
We are committed to paying fair wages, and this weaving group pays their weavers 2-3 times the minimum wage, a fair wage with fixed contracts and benefits such as health insurance and pension plans. They also stand for an open hiring policy based on people’s qualities and not their gender, religion or caste.
Learn More About Ikat Weaving >
Passion Lilie works directly with two producer groups in India, one in Bangalore and one in Tirupur, to complete apparel production. Once fabrics have been block printed or woven, they are sent to our production teams. All of our apparel production is done by fair trade certified organizations that provide opportunities to individuals from low-income communities. Each artisan partner is paid a fair and living wage, receives 24 days of sick leave and 11 days of paid holidays, assistance in obtaining health insurance, and financial advising.
All of our products are manufactured with care for people and the planet. Our producer group partners are more than just manufacturing organizations, they are socially committed to the welfare of their employees, even providing interest-free loans to buy land and build their homes. Apart from community, our artisan partners 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. Usually in the apparel industry tailors are forced to work long hours,- Saturdays and Sundays included,- with little time off. Their 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!
Scarf & Tote Production
Andhra Pradesh: Some of Passion Lilie’s scarves and tote bags are produced at a block printing studio in the state of Andhra Pradesh, and printed using the art of Kalamkari, which uses natural plant or vegetable based dyes. This block printing workshop started in 1969 by a hand loom weaver and now his two sons have taken over. Both brothers are not only dedicated and extremely knowledgeable on this art form, but they have worked hard to create an uplifting working environment.
The workshop nurtures an inclusive environment by employing about 10 women and men from a variety of religious backgrounds. Some of the artisans have been with the workshop for as long as 35 years. With a dedication to equity and fairness, this workshop pays fair wages that are above the national minimum average and offers many benefits to its employees including healthcare, retirement, overtime, paid time off, and so many other additional benefits that rooted in passion and care. The owners of this workshop gifted some of their father’s land and 20,000 INR for doors and windows to four different faithful workers who had been working for them for over 20 years. Government assistance was available for additional building materials such as toilets and electricity.
Rajasthan: The other half of Passion Lilie’s scarves are block printed in Jaipur by a fair trade organization that employs about 10 highly skilled block printers. These men receive an above average salary, paid sick and holiday leave, assistance in obtaining health insurance and loans if needed.
The block printing studio where the scarves are printed was started by Abdul’s father in 1980 as a carpet business. Abdul took over the business in 1990 and began working with block printers. Abdul is a smart man who pays attention to industry trends while ensuring that his employees receive the best care possible. Katie works closely with Abdul in development of new designs. Abdul makes sure that his workers receive adequate time off for the many holidays and festivals in India and he even gives them a small bonus or gift during the main holidays.