Shailini Sheth Amin, Founder, Moralfibre
A Cept graduate, Amin is an architect by profession but her specialisation in energy efficiency and sustainable practices saw her bag a number of national and international design and research projects. Today, she is a successful businesswoman and one of the most prominent board members of several charitable trusts in the country. After staying in England for over 15 years, Amin moved back to her hometown Ahmedabad in 2006, Moralfibre followed a year thereafter. The company develops a range of cotton, silk, wool and innovative blends, including organic cotton fabrics.
It reinvents hand-spun and hand-woven fabric making technology and promotes it in India and abroad. This apart, it also specialises in furnishing and ‘feel well fashions’. At a time when global warming and the rapidly changing climatic conditions are threatening human existence, Moralfibre, with its clean energy and carbon neutral techniques, aims to bring about an ‘eco-revolution’. Recently, Moralfibre was also short listed by the Ethical Fashion Forum, UK, for an international award.
“When I came down to Ahmedabad, I decided to take a fresh look at some of the organisations I was engaged with in the past. It were the khadi shops set up by my late aunt, Indumati Chamanlal, an ardent supporter of Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘rachnatmak vikas pravrutti’ (action-based programmes), that drew my interest. I was disappointed to see that Khadi, which once had a glorious past, now has few takers. The country is loosing out on thousands of skilled khadi spinners and weavers every year,” said Amin.
The sale of the hand-woven cloth may have falen dramatically, but Amin realised that consumers and designers, both in India and abroad, still fancy its rich texture and comfy feel. This is what motivated Amin to reinvent khadi as the most environment-friendly and sustainable fabric.
The brand Moralfibre stands for ‘clothing with a conscience’. It not only ensures to mitigate the negative impact of harmful chemicals on the environment but also generates employement for thousands of skilled and unskilled artisans. Moralfibre and its eco-campaign is a step towards creating a ‘carbon neutral’ and ‘zero poverty world’.
A branded or even a cheap, cheerful, no nonsense T-shirt bought from a bargain shop could have been made by a child force into labour. A warm and cuddly synthetic fleece may have guzzled up the fast depleting, non-renewable resources. It may be so cheap that you may plan to throw it away next season or next year for something more stylish. But what about the material waste that will keep polluting the earth for the next 200 years?
“The garment industry is one of the most lucrative undertaking in the world, and yet it remains as the world’s most exploitative sectors. By promoting the products and ethos of Moralfibre, we hope to offer a real choice to the people who want to look good as well as help maintain a green world,” explained Amin
The company believes in the ‘cradle to cradle’ approach of living. Ideally, all processes, products and by-products at every stage of fabric production must nourish and enhance the environment instead of damaging it. There is a great need for both exploring several aspects of the existing khadi industry and taking the manufacturing process to newer heights.
“We are involved into a lot of research work to ensure that we produce the most appropriate organic cotton for our fabrics. From cloth making to dyeing, all the processes for manufacturing our products are free of harmful chemicals. Moreover, we have plans to set up a research and development centre to improve and develop the existing spinning and weaving tools and technologies, which in turn will create various standardised grades of fabrics,” she explained.
The company is already in partnership with a number of well-established organisations, and has developed a grading system which will certify the quality of different types of fabrics. Aditionally, Moralfibre is also working with designers having good experience in the industry, and a design studio for developing various weaves and producing classy fabrics is also underway.
According to a recent government survey, the khadi industry is in a deplorable condition. There is deterioration in the variety of khadi cloth as well as in its quality. And to add to the woes, production in many centres across the the country has declined significantly. “We, however, have already started to work with some of the still well-run khadi producing organisations. We also wish to assist workers in improving their basic needs like clean water, shelter, sanitation, health and education,” said Amin.