What does co-creation look like in fashion? And how could brands genuinely collaborating with artisans help shift the imbalanced power dynamics in the fashion industry?
That’s what we’re exploring in this episode with Niha Elety, a sustainable fashion advocate, designer, and the founder of Tega Collective.
Links From This Episode:
Niha Elety’s previous podcast interview on cultural sustainability
Tega Collective’s feature in Vogue
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Listen to This Episode:
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Read the Transcript From This Interview:
Hey, there and welcome or welcome back to the Conscious Style Podcast. Today’s episode is with another repeat guest, Niha Elety.
Niha was on episode 14 of the podcast in season one talking about the importance of cultural sustainability in fashion. And as a quick refresher, cultural sustainability is essentially maintaining culture, cultural beliefs, cultural practices — such as certain weaving techniques when it comes to textiles — so that they can continue to exist in the future.
And in that conversation in episode 14, Niha shared that she was in the process of creating a slow fashion brand, Tega Collective. And well now, that brand is launched!
So we’re doing a follow-up episode going a bit behind the scenes of Tega Collective.
Niha is sharing how Tega Collective is disrupting the power dynamics that we often see in fashion and is implementing co-creation and wealth distribution into their business model from the beginning.
I not only learned so much from this conversation but ended it feeling super inspired as well.
So I hope that you also get a lot out of this conversation. If you do, please be sure to follow or subscribe to this show on your favorite listening app so you don’t miss future episodes like this one.
And if you know someone else who might also get something out of this conversation, definitely share this episode with them!
Okay, let’s get into the show. Niha is going to start us off here with a bit about her background and why she founded Tega Collective.
I am a sustainable fashion advocate on many social platforms. And I’ve always been a very visual person from a young age working on art and design growing up in both the US and India. And that’s really informed my education and my work when it comes to sustainable fashion advocacy, and how the different lenses in which I look at it through.
And that’s what I talk about a lot on my page. I focus a lot on heritage, in terms of the textiles, the way sustainable fashion is viewed, and how it’s created back in India. And so that’s sort of what sparked my interest in sustainable fashion in the first place.
And then from there, in terms of starting Tega Collective itself, growing up to me, sustainability was not some new concept. When I heard about the word first it was more so a way of life and something that a lot of Indigenous cultures around the world think or is in or it’s really, truly embedded in their cultures right, around the world.
And so, when I started Tega Collective that was very much the key to how we wanted to approach advocating for sustainability, especially since I am from India. There are so many communities, that Indigenous communities that are appropriated for their craft and their work. It’s stolen from, not just by the West, but from within India itself as well.
Brands like Moschino ripping off Indigenous peoples’ clothing, especially the tribe that we’re working with now. They’ve faced a lot of appropriation from them. So that was sort of what sparked our interest in creating Tega Collective, which is truly a place where we want Indigenous communities to feel ownership of their crafts.
And bring back a lot of that work to them, because clearly non-Indigenous people are creating their clothes and designs and so which has put them out of work for their own craft, essentially. So that was sort of the idea around it.
A big thing for us is to go beyond just creating clothing, but to also rebuild essentially what we think of as a fashion brand, and sort of go beyond products. And making sure that the communities involved have a lot of agency, as well as profit sharing, since it’s their work.
Traditionally, in the fashion world, we see so many designers at the top with garment workers, essentially at the bottom of the hierarchies and not really having a stake in their own work. So that’s something that we truly believe needed to be different in the fashion industry and what we wanted to sort of start with our collective.
But yeah, there’s so many different facets to dive into about Tega, and you know, excited to, I guess, tell you more as we talk about it.
Yeah, absolutely. I’m super excited to dive into all of the different elements of Tega Collective. And we focused a lot on cultural sustainability in fashion in our last conversation, which I’ll make sure that episode is linked in the description so people can listen to that one as well.
But I wanted to kind of connect the dots and weave in that conversation to this one today a little bit. So can you share how Tega Collective is supporting cultural sustainability in the craft communities that you’re collaborating with?
Yeah, of course, for us, this was so important, and it’s a personal passion of mine to talk about cultural sustainability and fashion. Which I do on my page — promoting crafts everywhere.
So for us, cultural sustainability really comes in two forms. One is definitely with the fashion and the craft and the practices that lead to creating the clothing that we have and then the other is the knowledge aspect.
So for us when we collaborate with different craft communities primarily in the south of India and the Northeast. Which are regions that are not really amplified or not really known about as much globally, or even just given recognition within India itself. And so we just thought that would be the most important.
And I myself am from the south, so that was pretty important for me to include, and supporting these crafts communities to continue to create the crafts that they do. Because a lot of them, are put out of work for their own craft, and it was slowly dying away for a lot of these communities.
And the first community that we worked with is the Lambani community, they’re located in Karnataka, and their tribe that is a nomadic tribe. They’ve been all over South Asia, but the group that we’re working with is primarily in Karnataka.
For us, it’s important to truly collaborate and co-create with the artists and communities by highlighting their native fibers, traditional colors, handloom weaving, patterns, and symbols. So that’s sort of how we focus on cultural sustainability, is through each aspect of the process of creating the clothes.
Starting with, native fibers — what have they traditionally created their clothes out of? And what fibers are local to the bioregion as well, that they’re located in? I think that’s very key to producing and also fostering biodiversity, with the clothing that we create.
Then when it comes to traditional colors and patterns, making sure that they’re incorporated, but obviously, in a way that they’re willing to share with the rest of the world to wear. That’s something that we’ve definitely tried to get the balance on.
And color is so integral to their culture, specifically. They are always wearing vibrant hues of so many different colors. And I think for them, it’s just really a freedom of expression and culture. So that’s something that was really core to us, as well.
So in terms of knowledge, I would say, for the cultural sustainability aspect, Indigenous knowledge is really, really crucial for us to move towards for a better planet and a better future. And we wanted to go beyond just creating clothes.
So we actually have recently partnered with an Indigenous Knowledge Center in northeast India, primarily in Nagaland, and they focus on Indigenous knowledge, folklore, oral stories, histories, sustainability practices. And so partnering with them to create articles and media for people to learn more about their culture.
Every time we create with them, we make sure that they are paid. So that’s just something else that we wanted to incorporate and make sure that we’re truly hitting all the points that we want to.
Yeah, and there was so much there that I’m looking forward to diving deeper into. You mentioned co-creation.
So, can you share a bit more about what that is? Like why is this model of co-creation with artisans rather than say, just giving them the blueprint to you know, just go off of and just sort of saying create this but actually working together to co-create the collections.
Why is that so important? And how might that be different from how a brand typically works with artisans?
Yeah, yeah. You know, you put that very well I think a lot of brands very much just create a design that they think is trendy or that they or even a pattern that they’re interested in and kind of use that as a blueprint and tell whoever they’re contracting out the work to, to replicate it and send it back. So that’s typically how it goes.
And for us, co-creating is incredibly important. Because you know, this craft is the craft of the artisans. This is what they’re skilled in, this is what they have, what they’re experts in. On top of that, it’s their culture, right? Like, they’re the ones who understand it the best. And co-creating is truly the way that we wanted to go about it, and they wanted to go about it as well.
So for us, the way we typically work with them is they had this goal of just wanting a lot more people to be wearing their creations. And so for them, they were interested in more modern silhouettes. And by modern, we mean clothing over time has evolved into button-down shirts, and so somewhat western silhouettes have become a bit more, I would say, common around the world, in terms of daily wear.
And so they wanted to see how we could explore that with their current textiles and embroideries, and we thought that would be a great way to go about it. That way, many people would be able to wear the clothes.
And so from there, it’s also really important to have a model of co-creation, because a lot of their embroideries and a lot of their designs have so much symbolism and meaning behind them, right?
And so when you give an artist and just a blueprint of what you want, you might not know exactly what symbolism or meaning is behind a certain design. It might just look pretty to you. It might just have a nice aesthetic. But keeping that in mind is really key because it might just not work. Or it might not make sense.
And I think that’s very key in India, especially because there’s so many motifs and designs around so many regional fabrics, and making sure that you’re getting the symbolism right is really key. So I think that’s another important thing to consider when co-creating.
And so for us, that’s what we considered when creating the designs, and they did a lot of work with figuring out what they thought would resonate on each silhouette that we did. And then we decided to make it a bit more interesting. And a lot of our clothes have kind of wavy patterns on them with their embroidery. It was kind of a new style of embroidery that we came up with together.
So that’s just a little bit about one aspect of how we co-created but I think the best way is to just collaborate and talk about it and work with the people rather than telling them what to do, I think essentially.
Right yeah, totally. Disrupting the power dynamics a little bit like I tell you what to do, and you follow orders and that sort of, like, dynamic that’s really, really rampant in the fashion industry.
Do you have any advice for other fashion brands that might want to explore doing something like this — engaging with co-creation with artisans?
Yeah, for sure. I think you definitely, you know when you’re reaching out to certain artisans, make sure to level set your expectations, and also ask them what their expectations are as well when you’re creating an order. Make it feel a lot less like a hierarchical, you know, kind of interaction. And I think that’s really key in terms of to truly create beautiful work, and truly put two minds together.
And I would say listen to them, because that’s really key. Instead of just telling them what to do, there’s a lot of knowledge that they have and a lot of expertise that they have that you might not know about. I would say listening to them is really key.
In terms of co-creating, please give them credit for what they’ve done and be transparent, as transparent as you can, about your work together. That’s what we did. We have a few interviews on our social media with the artisans and what they thought of the collaboration and their favorite colors, and how we incorporated them into the collection as well.
And so we try to be as transparent about it as possible, and you’ll honestly get the best result. And if there are certain groups that aren’t willing to collaborate with you, then there might be a reason for that. But yeah, that’s just my two cents.
Yeah and I like that you touched on credit, because that is something that yeah, I think is lacking sometimes in fashion. Its just a copycat industry. Fashion is constantly copying. And it’s sort of a bit like a free for all. Like, people feel like they can just if something’s out there, that they can copy it, and the credit is often not there.
And something else that you’re doing a bit differently with Tega Collective is your wealth distribution model. So can you tell us about that, and what the fashion industry might be able to learn from your approach?
Yeah, of course. So for us, our wealth distribution model was very important in terms of changing the way a brand could work. As well as sort of dismantling the hierarchies that are typically in a fashion brand — like I mentioned before, with the garment workers and artisans kind of being there for the designer to create whatever they want.
And so a part of that is through co-creation, and a part of that is through our wealth distribution, like you mentioned. And for us, making sure that they were shareholders, as well in this brand was a big part of that.
So right now, for the first collection, on top of their payments for their work, they do have 15% in profit sharing, as of now. That way, they do have a stake in their own work and they are getting money beyond just what they have for the embroidery itself.
And another 3% is also allocated for them to do what they want in terms of for land back initiatives.
Since actually, I think I’m gonna mention this soon as well, but a lot of Indigenous communities right there, at least in India, they live in forests, this specific community lives on a mining belt. And so they don’t have the most safe conditions in terms of, like, there’s a lot of government coming to drill new oil wells or trying to cut down forests for other reasons, or even just create dams for water. Which is a common occurrence across the world.
So just allocating money for them to be able to fight back is really key for us. And them too. So that’s another way that we are redistributing wealth too.
Yeah. And we definitely are going to cover that in a little bit like just the intersections of climate justice and people who are on the frontlines of fashion.
But continuing on this theme of sort of disrupting narratives in fashion, there’s been this conception, that slow fashion and sustainable fashion means wearing like all neutral colors, having a monochrome closet, minimalist silhouettes. And this aesthetic might resonate with some people, but it doesn’t necessarily equate to sustainability or slow fashion.
And in Tega Collective’s feature in Vogue, you are quoted as saying, “for Indigenous communities, color pattern and embroidery are integral to culture, freedom, and self-expression.”
So can you speak a bit more to the role of color and patterns in these slow fashion ecosystems for craft communities in India and beyond?
Yeah, of course. I think something that is common across a lot of Black, Indigenous, and even people of color cultures across the world is the role of color and pattern in our dress. And this is something that I’ve talked about before but essentially I guess due to colonization, shared imperialism, the effects of that across the world. There was a lot of, I would say, maybe like looking down on people of color for wearing bright colorful clothing, that was something that was very common, and it was considered gaudy and tacky.
And it is still to this day, especially with trends going in and out and we’re seeing so many closets like minimalistic closets of like beiges, and whites and black colors and things that are just very neutral and that at least for people of color, that’s not something that was actually traditionally in their wardrobe. Our clothing was traditionally very, very colorful.
So for me, that’s something that I’ve always felt growing up. But I would say for these communities specifically or the communities that we’re working with, they have never really kind of let go of their culture. They’ve always been incredibly colorful with their clothing.
For them, they always ensured that their homes were colorful like all of their walls, I don’t know. If you all go to Tega Collective, you can see the kind of homes that the artisans lived in. They’re very vibrant. And they don’t really subscribe to modern-day monochromes and minimalism.
So our current fear of pattern and colors is mainly due to the need to aspire to the global standards of what is considered wearable and modern right?
People think it’s easier to pair neutrals together. But something I will say is lately within I would say maybe 2021 I’ve seen a lot of people, at least on TikTok and things like that, just wear a lot more colorful clothing and be a little bit, that term sustainable maximalist.
So wearing colorful clothing and getting them from thrift stores and just being like showing people that you don’t have to have a closet with a bunch of the same color to be able to put together beautiful outfits. And that’s something that I’m really excited to see taking the stage recently.
So I think for craft communities, it’s exciting to see people embrace color. And I think it’s key because for me, at least for me, it’s truly going back to my roots and kind of decolonizing my mind and my closet when I do pick out pieces for myself to wear.
And yeah, it’s truly key in a lot of our natural dyes that we use and the way we create our textiles in India, color has always been there from the beginning. So I’m hoping to see a lot, a lot more of that because at least recently, maybe two or three years ago there’s just been a lot of…
For a lot of people in South Asia, red is a traditional color that we, that brides wear. But within the last few years, there’s been so many brides just wearing beige lehengas or white lehengas. And it’s just interesting to see that.
But people are aspiring right to that global standard of what is wearable and what is considered chic and classy. So it’s truly important to kind of question that and hopefully we can embrace traditional colors and colors and patterns as something that is considered cool and not tacky.
Mhm. Yeah, and I’m with you about seeing, especially on social media, more and more color in the slow fashion, sustainable fashion, conscious fashion community. And I think that has been a result of the whole idea of slow conscious fashion expanding, right?
And our idea of what that even is has grown, I think. And it’s moved beyond like, okay, you have to buy from these pre-selected minimalist brands. And it’s transitioned more to love what you have in your closet. Yeah, go thrifting — and there are endless colors to be found at a thrift store, of course.
And, yeah, I love to see that. Because if we just go off like an aesthetic of slow fashion, right, like, there’s just this aesthetic of monochrome and neutrals. It’s very easy for say, fast fashion to co-opt that aesthetic. And I’ve literally seen that.
Like fast fashion brands advertising, their “timeless” clothing and it’s like all beige. But you know, was it made to last? Sure it’s a timeless design, but did you actually make it in a way that will be timeless? Like will that still be around after a few washes?
And not to mention, obviously, the impact on the environment on people along the way as well. But yeah, I think it’s just so limiting if we just go off of the look of a product to determine if it’s like sustainable or slow fashion.
Yeah, I definitely agree. And I think that brings up another thing. Like you said, like you know people, it’s very easy for them to co-opt an aesthetic, especially fast fashion.
But I also do think it was a big barrier for adoption, too, for a lot of people to be moving towards sustainable clothing. Because especially for the ones that do love color. They just didn’t enjoy the way slow fashion looked. And fast fashion had what slow fashion didn’t at least in terms of the color and the different styles and whatever was available. And so I think that was… it’s interesting, because it’s a barrier to adoption, but also something that can easily be co-opted.
Yeah. Yeah, that’s a great point.
And actually had a question for you about this like greenwashing in the fashion industry. Because something I found super interesting that you wrote on Tega Collective’s website was “products cannot be sustainable, but practices and relationships can?”
Could you explain the statement further? Because I found it super, super fascinating. Like how can practices and relationships be sustainable, or even regenerative?
Yeah, of course, I do feel like we hear a lot of products are sustainable. Like our t-shirt is a sustainable t-shirt. But a lot of the time we don’t know what that really means. And it’s so easy to kind of greenwash and be caught up in that and think that this is a sustainable product.
But it’s also important to sort of reframe and understand what sustainability truly is. Because the word itself sustainable means to be able to kind of maintain something or make sure that being even regenerative is going beyond that, and making sure that you’re giving back more than you take, instead of just sustaining what is there.
But in essence, I guess what I was trying to get with that statement is, a piece of, like a T-shirt itself can’t be literally sustainable, right? Like a t-shirt itself is not sustaining something, you know. It is a product at the end of the day, but the practices that you use to create that t-shirt, and the practices that you use to engage with their artisans, and create mutually beneficial relationships with them, and making sure that you are thinking about native biodiversity when you’re choosing the fibers that go into your clothing beyond just what is the most sustainable fabric because there truly isn’t one right?
Based on the different regions of the world, whatever grows there naturally is going to be the most sustainable fabric of that, or the sustainable fiber of that region, right? So not really thinking of the product itself, but thinking about the practices that it takes to create them, thinking about the practices that you put into your business, into your supply chains, into the people that you work with and making sure that they’re all truly mutually beneficial.
And going beyond just being okay. But just, truly being healing for everyone and everything in the process as much as you can. I think that’s what I was focusing on there and what I, you know, we hope to continue to create and foster at Tega Collective as well.
Yeah, that’s a lot to sit with. And I’m definitely going to be reflecting on that in the coming weeks. I love that approach.
And also really appreciated what you said about the context of the fibers and also maybe like the dyes and other elements of a garment. Like, fashion is so obsessed with finding the latest and greatest material and like figuring out which one is the most sustainable, and there was this whole, like, controversy with the Higg index.
But I guess there’s this oversimplification of what a sustainable material is, when it actually is so specific to the area. I think like when a lot of that debunking of the data around cotton came out from the Transformers Foundation.
And they were talking about, like, how you can’t say that it requires X gallons of water to make a cotton t-shirt, because it depends on where that cotton was grown. And also, water moves through a cycle. It’s not like necessarily that water was wasted, right? It’s all part of like, if the water came with rainfall, and it wasn’t irrigated, that’s not an unsustainable use of water.
There’s just so many layers to consider. And we just always want this like quick fix, or this like ultimate sustainable fabric. Perfection! This like quest to have this like one answer that we can just apply across the industry in a broad stroke — and it just kind of misses the point.
Yeah, I completely agree. There is so much oversimplification in the solutions that we have. And I feel like everyone just wants one thing. And we don’t realize that a lot of our solutions need to be decentralized and need to be localized to the regions that we’re working with.
And that’s the I mean, at least in my perspective, I feel like that’s the only way to go about it. Especially when it comes to things like fashion. They’re so region-based, and it’s really key to understand that.
Mhm. Yeah, decentralization, for sure.
So, going back a little bit to another topic that you touched on with kind of the intersections of those at the frontlines of fashion, with climate justice.
You know, the burden of the climate crisis, and also, the ecological destruction associated with things like fossil fuel extraction disproportionately falls on communities in the Global South, including many countries that make the majority of the world’s clothes, such as Bangladesh and India.
So can you speak specifically to the area that you’re working in? You know, what are artisans experiencing currently with the climate crisis and ecological destruction in the area?
Yeah, yeah, sure. I think this is really important. Especially since a lot of people falling within these, these job roles are typically on the frontlines, and the ones that disproportionately face the climate crisis due to the resources that they have available as well as the way they’ve kind of been set up by the government and by other countries as well, right?
For example, in Bangladesh and India, with a lot of garment workers who have created the clothes, those same clothes end up back in their backyards from donations in the Global North, which are the same clothes that they’ve probably made at some point.
And so seeing that, that’s one huge thing that happens. A lot of waste being brought back to them, which is not even waste that they’ve produced.
And specific to the community that I work with, and in the south, they work or they live near a mining belt. So there’s a lot of iron ore dust and whatnot that even has come into our clothes sometimes. Like, there will be iron dust on our clothes that we’ve created, and we definitely make sure to wash it out.
But, it’s just very hazardous to their health, and quickens the deterioration of their health. And so that’s one of the major things that they’re experiencing, as well as right now. It is monsoon season in India. So all over India, it’s been very, very heavy flooding and very, very heavy rains, I think more than we’ve seen in the past. And it’s already been pretty deadly in the past.
And so, this is the case for them, too, they have a lot of rainfall right now. So there’s just a lot, right with heat waves, and rainfall, and a lot of mining going on near them.
So that’s the other reason why we did set up the fund that we did for them to be able to protect themselves as much as possible and being able to adapt with a lot of the changes that are happening around them with the climate.
And I think, truly reparations from other countries, to countries that have so many people that are in vulnerable positions like this is really key in terms of finding a solution and being able to give people the resources to adapt to the climate that’s changing.
Yeah It’s just so much. So much of the burden is placed on these communities and like that are already, like a system that has been so exploitative, and sort of contributed to putting them in vulnerable positions, and then like, sort of, is interconnected to things like the climate crisis, which then is further compounding these vulnerabilities.
It’s just so — it’s like a lot to sort of, like untangle. But I think that honestly, the only way that I think it makes sense moving forward, is eco-reparations. Or you know like the countries that have contributed most of the climate crisis, compensating the communities that are facing the brunt of it.
But to shift gears a little bit, you are a vocal advocate for highlighting ancestral knowledge in sustainability. So what do you think that fashion should learn from Indigenous knowledge, traditional knowledge, and how can the fashion industry incorporate this knowledge in an equitable way that isn’t tokenistic, or maybe even getting into exploitative territory?
Well, I think definitely, in terms of what fashion should learn from Indigenous wisdom is a lot of what I’ve talked about today is that there is no one solution. You can’t look at things sometimes individually. You kind of have to look at things holistically and how there are so many layers to two different things.
For example, working with natural fibers or natural dyes, how Indigenous communities have fostered, regenerative agriculture systems for generations around them. They’ve always only taken what they needed, not overconsumed.
And beyond that actually have healed and given back to the earth and especially with the agriculture that they foster. That’s just one example. But there’s so many different things that you can learn from Indigenous wisdom.
But basically it’s it’s all connected everything that we do and we can’t isolate things sometimes. I feel like we live in this world where sometimes it’s easier to understand something if you isolate it, but we need to understand that that’s just not how the world is.
It might help you understand it on its own. But you need to think beyond that and look beyond that. And so I think Indigenous wisdom truly draws from that.
In terms of how the fashion industry should incorporate this knowledge in a way that’s equitable and not tokenistic. You know, reach out to the communities that you want to learn from. And make sure that you are — I mean, there’s an incredible, I’m not sure if anyone has heard about it, but it’s called Cultural Intellectual Property.
They are a group that always talks about the three C’s, which are credit compensation, and I’m blanking on the 3rd C at the moment. But it’s really important to give compensation and credit to these people that are providing you with this knowledge.
Also make sure that if they’re not willing to share something, to respect that, it is just for them. That’s what we’re trying to do, at least our best at Tega collective is amplifying Indigenous knowledge on our platforms and our media, and paying them for it. And making sure that this is something that they’re proud of and excited to do. So yeah, I would say that’s, that’s what, that’s my advice.
Yeah, I love that. You mentioned the Cultural Intellectual Property Rights Initiative, because Monica was actually just on the show. And that was episode 55. Monica is the founder of Cultural Intellectual Property Rights Initiative.
So definitely, that’s a great resource for any brands out there that are looking to co-create better with artisans. They have tons of like courses, they have an academy, and just lots of resources so that you can go into a relationship with artisans that is truly equitable and not tokenistic, or exploitative and just making sure that it is a positive experience for the artisans as well.
So as we round out our conversation, can you share a bit more about Tega Collective’s first collection? And like the fibers, the techniques, and the dyes you used because I’m very curious to hear more about that.
Yeah, yeah, of course. So, in terms of the collection itself, a lot of the community, a lot of their favorite colors are kind of what we chose for the first collection. Their favorite colors were red and green and blue. And so that was kind of what we went off of.
And the colors ended up being a red, a periwinkle, and a matcha green essentially. And those dyes were created from local materials like madder root, and madder essentially produces deep red hues. Indigo for Periwinkle and a mix of marigold flower that gives a yellowish hue. And Indigo for the green, in terms of the natural dyes.
And for the techniques and fibers, we went with Kadhi, which is an indigenous cotton variety that’s found all over India. But for them, they use a lot of it in their clothes. Like all of their clothes are made from Kadhi. So we thought that would be great to go with for this collection.
We also used Eri silk as well, which is a peace silk. And basically, it’s created without killing the silkworm. So that’s the other fiber that we used, we’re essentially using an indigenous cotton and a peace silk.
Then in terms of the techniques, a lot of the embroidery that was done as well was created with the artisans. And there are so many different stitches that I don’t even know about. But there were about 14 main stitches that they use in their variety or in their repertoire, when they create the different geometric shapes which they draw from a lot of or a lot of the designs draw from plants or nature.
And they use a lot of mirror work, and even cowrie shells and coins and things like that. So not only are the pieces very vibrant and intricate with embroidery, but they’re also adorned with mirrorwork and shells as well. So it’s just very beautiful and I’m very excited about our first collection.
Yeah, it’s beautiful. And where can people go to check out Tega Collective? And like see that first collection visually?
Yeah, of course. Well, there’s our website, which is tegacollective.com. So tegacollective.com. Our Instagram as well is @tegacollective and we have a Tik Tok page that we are just now launching, but that is also @tegacollective.
Amazing. And those links will be in the show notes as well.
So as we close out our conversation, I have one final question for you. And, you know, ask every guest that comes on the show this question, and I asked you this question when you were on the show before, but maybe you have a bit of a different answer, especially in the context of Tega Collective.
So what would a better future for fashion look like to you?
I mean there’s so many ways to answer this from so many lenses. And I think last time I talked a bit about reparations to countries that house a lot of the waste from the global North’s donation clothes essentially and having them clean up that waste.
In the context of Tega Collective, right. I think I’ve mentioned a lot of it in this episode, but those three C’s: consent, compensation, and being able to credit as well. And truly collaborate with the people that you’re working with.
I think that’s so key in the fashion world, and that’s something that would create a better future overall, if we were to do that with not just Indigenous artisans, but with garment workers, and just everyone who works within a brand. And so I definitely think that’s key and that’s something that we’re trying to follow as well.
But another thing is really looking to the communities that are facing the brunt of the climate crisis and making sure that as a brand, you’re doing what you can to either pay reparations or assist them as much as possible. Because you know a lot of the problems that we have today are from the fashion industry.
So making sure that you’re cleaning up your mess, you’re giving credit to people, you are truly collaborating with them. And then also making sure that you are equipping a lot of the people from the regions that you’re probably sourcing your clothes from. You’re equipping them to deal with the climate crisis as much as possible.
And I think that’s really key because a lot of brands just don’t work with the countries that a lot of their clothes come from, and it’s just really disappointing to see that.
And that’s a wrap for this episode! All the links mentioned throughout this conversation as well as the transcript are over in the show notes on consciouslifeandstyle.com.
If you have any takeaways or thoughts about what we discussed today, let us know over on Instagram. You can find Niha at @nihaelety on IG and this podcast is at the handle @consciousstyle.
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Okay, that’s all I have for you today! I’ll catch you again next Tuesday for another episode or I’ll be in your inbox on Saturday if you’re a subscriber.