Since Fashion Revolution was born, people everywhere are increasingly asking ‘Who Made My Clothes?’ Here at Secret Projects we invest a lot of time collaborating across the whole value chain: from the market sellers from whom we source our fabrics, all the way to our consumer. We are working for a more ethical and transparent fashion industry, and we hope to inspire positive change.
It has been incredibly exciting taking part in Fashion Revolution Week 2018, and we have loved sharing the stories of our makers with you. They inspire what we do, and we hope that they inspire you too. But let us keep the Fashion Revolution alive all year round, and always remember to ask ‘Who Made My Clothes?’
So last but by no means least in our series of Meet the Makers interviews, we would like to introduce you to Shylaja.
Tell us a bit about yourself…
I am Shylaja. I have two sons and I am the sole breadwinner of the family. I trained to become a tailor and that became our sole source of income. I was used to work in the garment factory for about 10 years. But the lack of breaks and paid leave, low wages, and stringent environment made me unwell. So I had to give up the job. I started sewing in my neighbourhood and do local jobs, and that is how I came across Secret Projects.
What do you enjoy most about being a maker?
With the money I earn, I have been able to pay for my sons’ education and I am able to manage my household finances.
What impact has being a maker had on you and your family’s life?
My family has been self-sufficient and has been able to cope through tough times when we have unforeseen expenses.
How does it make you feel?
I feel happy and also liberated. I have been invited to train other women to sew, and that makes me feel really very happy.
How does it compare to other jobs you have had?
I am much healthier and have the freedom to choose my schedule for the day, and so my work fits around my family life.
What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
I would like to own a boutique selling different fabrics and with a space to train other women to sew. I hope that other women have the same opportunities as me.
What would you like to say to the customers at Secret Projects?
I have to say that Secret Projects has been a blessing in my life. I have been able to clear some loans that I had building up and mend my sewing machine. I have also been able to pay for health check-ups. I am much healthier now.