Fabrics that echo the landscapes of their origin
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Kumbaya Producer Company Ltd.
Members of the Kumbaya Producer Company Ltd. stitching unit in Madhya Pradesh

It took many months of research during the time of covid travel restrictions to find the right manufacturing partner.

On one hand, we sought a small-scale manufacturer that had experience with handloom fabrics and skill in stitching garments using Indian tailoring methods (known for fine detail and durable french seams). 

On the other hand, we sought an ethically run organization that provided access to employment for women and people with disabilities, with a working practice of zero-waste manufacture. 

devka and kamla at kumbaya producer company madhya pradesh

Devka and Kamla at their sewing machines at one of the stitching units

Our research eventually led us to Kumbaya Producer Company Ltd., a grass roots organization operating in the rural and remote areas of Madhya Pradesh.

Kumbaya matched our ethical and practical requirements beyond our expectations, and they were able to accommodate our requirement for small batch production.

We connected first in the Spring of 2021, and from there, we began the journey of our collaboration together. 

patterns and samples in a tailoring unit in India

paper patterns and samples lie on the work table at kumbaya producer company ltd., march 2022

We sent our paper patterns to Kumbaya in the Fall of 2021. In March 2022, after receiving our first set of beautifully stitched samples, Sarah, our founder, travelled for the first time to meet, stay and work with the manufacturing team at Kumbaya.

'Visiting the various campuses that make up the organization and meeting and working directly with the team of master pattern makers and tailors, cutters, embroiderers, sewists and beyond was an experience I will not forget. I can't wait to return to work on our next collection.'

Sarah Dunn, Founder and Designer at RANI & REINE

master pattern maker in madhya pradesh

Durgesh, master pattern maker at kumbaya producer company, madhya pradesh

Kumbaya was founded 30 years ago and is led by Nivedita Banerji, a wonderfully creative and skilled architect, designer, author and leader, with a focused and dedicated vision.

Kumbaya is a social venture bringing women together to learn skills and earn their way out of poverty, with a deep committment to including differently-abled men and women as skilled producers and high earners, whose inability to contribute manual labour in a primarily agricultural area leads to their marginalisation and abandonment.

a physically disabled woman in india works in an ethical manufacturing unit

Gora, a skilled quilter at Kumbaya. March 2022.

Kumbaya has four centres in different villages where employment is available and guaranteed, for almost 300 days in a year to over 100 producers. Apart from the producers who work regularly with Kumbaya, hundreds of those trained stitch from home.

a woman in india stands in front of a quilt and rustic wall

pushpa, head of operations at kumbaya producer company, stands in front of the stitching unit beside a lovely  quilt made of fabric scraps. pushpa started as a producer, became a trainer and now oversees 3 centres. 

Kumbaya is part of a larger organization, Samaj Pragati Sahayog (SPS), one of India’s largest grass-roots initiatives for water and livelihood security, working with women-led institutions on watershed development, sustainable agriculture, commodity aggregation, livestock, health and nutrition, public education, research and community media in rural Madhya Pradesh. 

landscape of the narmada valley madhya pradesh

The view from the back of the stitching unit in the narmada valley, madhya pradesh

brass scissors at a manufacturing unit in madhya pradesh

Brass tailoring shears sit in the back room at the stitching unit in the narmada valley, madhya pradesh