Ajmer, India | Est. 2010 | 77 artisans, 5 project managers, 153 trained
Anchal’s Stitch x Stitch project offers careers in textiles to women in Ajmer, India that include kantha hand-quilting, machine tailoring and hand dyeing (beginning in 2016). Anchal artisans create a variety of intricately hand-stitched textile goods made from vintage saris and eco-friendly fabrics. The saris used are given a second life, personifying the beauty and spirit of the artisans we work with.
Kantha, a traditional India embroidery technique, is the process of joining multiple layers of vintage saris with a simple running stitch. This art takes patience, dedication and practice. A standard throw quilt takes an average of 2 weeks to stitch.
Urban Outfitters’ Anchal x Urban Renewal 2013 Fall Collection was an exclusive eleven-piece line of one-of-a-kind apparel including jackets, dresses, tops, shorts, and skirt. Each piece contained portions of hand sewn kantha quilts from vintage saris made by Anchal’s talented artisans. This collaboration was an incredibly unique way to blend design, fashion, craft and women’s rights into one garment.
“During the filming of Half the Sky, I was inspired by Anchal’s program that provided creative jobs to support women out of the trade. I felt compelled to partner with them on the Didi Connection.” -America Ferrera
Following her trip to India with author Nicholas Kristof during the filming of the documentary Half the Sky, America was compelled to act. Developed in collaboration with Anchal and America Ferrera, the Didi Connection brought women across the globe together through textiles. In India, women affectionately call each other didi, meaning sister in Hindi. When customers purchased a one-of-a-kind Didi scarf, they supported their sister out of the sex trade in India. The initial 600 piece collection funded 15 artisans for an entire year and sold out in only a few months.