Feature

Top Tips: Building Sustainable Relationships with Artisans

nandu printing artist with TAFE fashion student, Jess WilmotWhat do you know about sourcing and working with suppliers in India?

Julie Lantry, Founder Artisan Culture is a fashion designer and researcher in ethical fashion practice, with extensive experience sourcing ethically from India.

She shared her experience and sourcing knowledge at the Fashion Exposed Business Seminar series in Melbourne recently.

Here are her top tips;

1. Research

Consider what, where, how and who when sourcing an artisan relationship. Start online;

sharedtalentindia.co.uk

sangamproject.net

dastkar.org

2. Be Prepared to Travel

Spend time in India. Remember different styles of Indian textiles come from different regions. Work with ethical middle-men, if you have limited time or don’t speak the language.

artisanculture.com.au/textile-tours-to-northern-india

the-stitching-project.com

happyhands.in

3. Be Organised

Prepare storyboards and take samples. Work out how much you can spend on your designs for your market before negotiating. Don’t change your order halfway through an order.

fairwageguide.org

4. Be Patient

When building a relationship with a new artisan, start small and simple. Go slow.

Analyse their quality of products and discuss together how it can translate to your range.

5. Keep an Open Mind

Collaboration and interpretations can lead to positive outcomes. Be prepared to alter your perspective. Discuss expectations openly e.g. exclusivity, quality, delivery.

6. Be Respectful

To build a long lasting relationship, respect cultural differences and traditional designs. Recognise the Artisans contribution within your product.

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