Stella has created a gown using Oshadi’s peace silk, produced using ancient hand-weaving techniques, and naturally dyed by local skilled craftsmen in Tamil Nadu. Peace silk is reeled from empty cocoons, meaning that silkworms are left to hatch into moths before the silk is spun from the cocoons in a way similar to spinning wool. It takes a weaver one day to create 5m of hand woven peace silk using a hand loom, compared to hundreds that can be produced by machine.
Stella McCartney is a keen advocate for fair trade and female empowerment. The designer and the Oshadi fasctory in Southern India share an aligned value of environmental principles and social business practices. It is through her appreciation for Oshadi’s skill, craft and their commitment to working with a community of weavers that helps in bringing employment to the region that has brought forth this collaboration for the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange.
It takes a weaver one day to create 5m of hand woven peace silk, compared to hundreds that can be produced by machine, but Nishanth Chopra and Richard Malone believe there’s a difference. Launched in 2016, the pair created Oshadi, a womenswear brand. From a factory in Tamil Nadu in southern India, Oshadi’s collections are made with minimum impact on the environment, using hand woven and naturally dyed organic cotton, peace silk and linen. Ensuring that collections are ethically produced through the supply-chain is also key to the brand, but it is maintaining skills that would otherwise be lost to industrialisation that sets Oshadi apart, working with local artisan communities to reinvent their age-old weaving and dyeing processes with modern fabric-design manipulations using innovative and sustainable materials. The highly skilled workers in this local artisan community are retaining the culture of the region for generations to come.