Living the good life

A weekend pop-up brings together 28 studios and social enterprises that follow mindful production practices and offer sustainable livelihoods

Published - August 23, 2019 09:49 pm IST

Every morning, a group of Afghan refugee artisans sits at their respective sewing machines in SilaiWali’s studio. Through the day, the women stitch beautiful dolls by hand. Each one is made using fabric upcycled from the waste generated by mass clothing manufacturers. Featuring different skin tones, the dolls are dressed up in tunics, kaftans and chambray dresses to celebrate the cultural diversity.

The women have similar stories to share, having been forced out of their homes and separated from their families in the strife-torn Afghanistan. The New Delhi-based social enterprise, co-founded last year by Iris Strill and Bishwadeep Moitra, trains and offers them a livelihood. In a way, every stitch helps the women stitch their lives back to freedom. “In the last few months we have seen up close that to be a refugee – the courage, the determination, the sheer will to live a life of dignity despite all odds – is a lesson in humanism,” says Moitra.

These dolls will make their way to the The Good Life Weekend, a two-day event hosted by the Lower Parel furniture and décor store, Baro. Themed on conscious living, the pop-up brings together 28 artisans and niche studios who are mindful about their production practices and follow a sustainable ethos. “These brands not only make beautiful products but the way they make them is just as important. We aim to get people to understand that living using your conscience at all times leads to so much good – the discovery of new things and people, an enriching sense of community and in general, a better world,” says Srila Chatterjee, the store’s co-founder and culture curator.

Himachali ghee to hemp dresses

The pop-up includes labels from Hampi, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Jaipur, Kolkata, Shimla, Chennai and Goa. You can check out Kaisori’s soaps infused with ingredients from the Kashmir valley; artisanal jewellery by Maya; ceramic dinner sets from Pattterned Studio; banana fibre basketry from The Kishkinda Trust; B Label by Boheco’s dresses from organic hemp fabric, and Lecoanet Hemant’s apparel made with herb-infused ‘Ayurganic’ fabric devoid of synthetic chemicals.

Reusable straws, dairy-free milk, handmade teas and ghee sourced from locals in the Shillar village of Himachal Pradesh will also be on display.

Create and sustain

Leather footwear by Inmate, a venture that rehabilitates and works with Yerwada jail inmates in Pune, is also part of the pop-up. Another highlight is the bags and wood clutches hand painted with Pattachitra, Madhubani, Pichwai, Thangka and Kashmiri paper mache art forms. These are offered by MeMeraki, a brand that collaborates with Indian folk artists to revive traditional arts. “Our mission is to ensure patronage and sustainable livelihoods for the artists,” says founder Yosha Gupta.

Sustainability is the underlining theme of this event. Is it possible to practise it in all spheres of life? Chatterjee replies with a smile, “Being conscious 24x7 of everything you do, say, use, support, buy, etc. is the best place to start.”

The Good Life Weekend will be held on August 24 and 25 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Baro, Sun Mill Compound, Lower Parel.

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