Waiting for the Monsoon: Slow Clothes in India

Excerpts from Waiting for the Monsoon: Slow Clothes in India 

Charllotte Kwon & Mahesh Dosaya. Recorded at the Maiwa Textile Symposium on October 11, 2007.

The slow movement first appeared as a reaction against fast food culture. It has since expanded to challenge thinking on everything from tourism to clothing. Slow clothes are made with an eye to the human impact of production rather than the need to race to meet a fashion trend.

Before there was a term for what it was doing, Maiwa looked to employ traditional dyers, blockprinters, weavers, and artisans in the production of quality garments that could compete in the world market. This approach has led to many relationships. One of the most inspired is a partnership with the Dosaya family and an Indian village.

This is a world where simple business decisions have immediate consequences. Mahesh’s position, as a member of a family business, in an Indian culture, with a distinct take on almost everything, is radically different from Charllotte’s position as a woman entrepreneur heading a Canadian company. Yet the two harmonize – often in very unexpected ways.

A rare insiders’ look at the craft and production of slow clothes in India. The trials, the journeys, the challenges, and the laughter – all will be revealed in a tale of two cultures, a world apart, working successfully together.

Charllotte Kwon

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Charllotte Kwon is the owner of Maiwa Handprints Ltd., Director of the Maiwa Foundation, author, and documentary filmmaker. A highly energized and dynamic presence, Charllotte travels to India three times each year with additional trips to other countries to supplement her ongoing natural dye and textile research.

Bibliography:

  • Through the Eye of a Needle: Stories from an Indian Desert
  • A Quiet Manifesto for the Preservation of Craft
  • Koekboya (co-author with Harald Böhmer)

Mahesh Dosaya

Mahesh Dosaya learned the art of blockprinting from his father and grandfather. He and his brother Ramesh run the family textile business which produces everything from garments to bed linens. They have successfully retained the use of the natural dyes and hand techniques that have made their village, Bagru, famous. Mahesh is both craftsperson and businessman, equally at ease working the dye vats, developing dye recipes for different fibres, and keeping the business successful.