Tag Archives: green

Sari-inspired Wraps, Your Opinion Needed

Please help us out! We have been looking for a new, improved name for our “silk flex-wraps.”

Sample Silk Flex-Wrap. See how beautiful it is? Help us Come up with a New Name!!!

As many of you know already, we,  at f.ac.t.s, pay careful attention to eco-friendly, fair-labor manufacturing practices. We have our site up and running, and we are on the closing side of our first 100 customers! For barely starting on July 1st, this is certainly something to celebrate!! (Take advantage of our Grand Opening special discount on our site (http://factsfashion.com/Shop.htm) before we reach 100 clients!

However, we find ourselves looking for a new name. The wraps are made from 100% recycled Indian sari cloth. Previously, we have called them “flex-wraps,” but per your suggestions, we find that the name does not completely capture the stunning elegance, versatility, and eco-friendliness of these wraps.

Tell us your suggestions, for a name that is fun, alluring, or vivacious! Your support means so much to us, and we can’t wait to hear from all of you!

  • Check back here continuously, to find out who won! The creator of the name we end up choosing will be given a special 20% discount on ANY wrap of choice!!! Fill out the bottom poll to participate!

Go eco-friendly fashion!! Help us make green fashion affordable and known!

Showcasing Personal Expression with our F.A.C.T.S. silk flex-wraps

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July 3rd Tips: Wearing Your Eco-Friendly F.A.C.T.S. Flex-Wrap

The Bohemian Rope Flex-Wrap

So, we are missing a tripod, unfortunately. It should be arriving this week, but in the mean time, we thought we’d take a few rough photographs of creative inspirations on wearing your F.A.C.T.S. flex-wraps. There are so many beautiful designs you can transform them into. And our gallery (http://factsfashion.com/Flex-WrapFashionTips.htm)shows a few of our favorites. Remember, you can also accessorize your flex-wrap with belts and pins, but there are so many creative ways to wear them stand-alone as well.

We are excited for every purchase ordered, because it helps us meet our goal of giving at least $500 to Navdanya by October. Buy a flex-wrap for yourself or your sweetheart, or mother, or friend, and help us meet our goal! These wraps are absolutely stunning with both subtle and bold patterns. They are also perfect for hot summer weather, as they are very light and airy. And even if you get a long wrap, it can be transformed into a shorter dress, like the “Bohemian Rope” style, seen in the picture above to the left!

We are also continuing to upload youtube videos (subscribe to our youtube channel!) every few days to show you step-by-step instructions to our designs. If there is a specific picture in the gallery that you cannot wait to try, email us or comment here or on facebook, and we will do our best to get an instructional youtube video up as soon as possible. 🙂

Basic One-Shoulder Flex-Wrap

Also, refer your friends to F.A.C.T.S. so that you and your friend can  get 20% off your entire purchase! Just enter the following coupon code “J3N4JM3SIPCJ” when checking out, and tell your friend to enter the following coupon code “O3Q4AP5FKXJ1” when checking out, to take advantage of this great deal. (This offer is valid for up to three friends! Also, see our shop page for the 10% coupon code available for our first 100 customers! Only one coupon can be used per order.)

We are adding several new skirts to our inventory tomorrow. So keep checking back with us!

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Basic Sash Wrap


Ways to Wear Your New Eco-friendly Flex-Wraps

Sample F.A.C.T.S. Flex-Wrap

As promised, we bring you examples of some basic ways to wear your eco-friendly flex-wraps. 🙂 These flex-wraps can be worn in so many different ways, and most companies that sell similar-looking wraps only provide a few simple ways to wear them. Over this summer season, we will continue to post new designs, to inspire your fashion creativity and help you make the most out of your new F.A.C.T.S. flex-wraps!

We’ll start with the basic “Skirt-wrap” design:

Next is the “Basic Empress Gown” design. One of the easiest Dress options with these flex-wraps:

We wanted to also give you a variation of the basic empress gown design. We call it the “Keyhole Empress Gown”:

Finally, we leave you with another kind of dress option, the “Grecian Over-the-Shoulder Evening Gown”:

Thanks for browsing our site! Before considering buying a new skirt or summer dress at your local department store, we hope that you will consider buying one of our gorgeous vintage flex-wraps to help support Mother Earth, the environment, and local farming economies in India.

If you are new to f.a.c.t.s., please go to our website (http://factsfashion.com) to find out more about the causes we support, our business values, and our products! We welcome your comments and opinions! Like us on facebook and twitter to keep track of our products and new causes!

 


The Sari: Meanings Behind the Cloth

Clothing in most (if not all) cultures is a significant interpretation of the self. It says something about who we are or at least how we choose to be seen. Clothes carry meaning, which is why we wear certain outfits in some contexts and not in others. So, whern we explore the culture of the Indian sari, we must pay attention to its context, its variations, and its meaning for different members of Indian society.  In this post, we offer only a brief overview of the sari, but we hope it will help you begin to appreciate the complexity, diversity, and spirit of the cloth behind our silk flex-wraps.

To begin with, we must acknowledge that India has a highly stratified society. Hierarchies and identities are created by religious caste, age, sex, economics, subculture, and region.  Appropriateness in dress is necessarily wrapped within these limitations.  Since the beginning of the period of British rule in India, Western influence has introduced another layer of stratification.  It was often a means for upper-class Indians to disassociate themselves from the lower, uneducated classes.  The early 20th century brought with it Western machine-manufactured cloth.  It was a finer type of cloth and ushered in the widespread wearing of Western-style shirts and trousers by many men throughout India.  We have to make an important distinction here that women generally were expected to keep to more traditional clothing as part of the notions of female modesty and purity (as Western styles tainted Indian culture). Of course, Western influences have crept into Indian society more and more.

Little girls wear Western-influenced frocks, for example, as it is not appropriate for them to wear saris until they are older. In some regions, girls wear a half-sari (ghagra or pavada) before moving on to a regular sari.  Because the sari has traditionally also been associated with marriage and sexuality, many girls in their mid and late teenage years, don what is known as a shalwar kamiz (also known as a Punjabi suit , as it is especially popular in the Punjab region).  This garment consists of a tunic , trousers, and a scarf. More and more, the shalwar kamiz became the uniform for girls between 12 and 16 in government schools.

Example of a salwar kamiz

In the late 1980’s, it gained appeal for young women in colleges and universities for its more modest and less sexualized appearance.  It soon was associated as an option of dress for unmarried young women.

As women who pursued further education took the shalwar kamiz into the workplace, the convenience of the sari in various work environments was questioned.  This, of course, depends on the type of work one does.  Some women feel that the heavy sari cloth can be cumbersome to carry and others feel the shalwar kamiz restricts movement and cannot as easily be maneuvered when doing manual-intensive labor at home or in the fields. Their claims are, of course, influenced by their region, their work environment, their family preferences, and so on. While the shalwar kamiz has spread more widely and is more acceptable across age and other hierarchical divisions, the sari remains the standard dress for the majority of women.

The sari is a cloth, generally 6 yards long, that is draped around a petticoat and blouse, as

An example of a sari. Borrowed from: http://tinyurl.com/64z6x9m

seen in the picture. The pallu is the most decorative part of the sari, as it is the part draped over the right shoulder. The way the sari is fashioned allows some flexibility of expression to the wearer, as slight variations can mean different things. The pallu, for example, can be pinned or left free-flowing. When seen tucked firmly into the waist or held in a particularly tight way in one’s fist, it can signify seriousness, impatience, or anger. The pallu also may serve as a head-covering, when appropriate, signifying modesty and protecting one’s sexuality, though it can be worn in a more revealing way as well. Further, the pallu can serve a functional purpose, as a veil for nursing mothers. Another form of showing more or less modesty can be seen through the pinning of  the “skirt” part of the sari, which can also be manipulated to be higher or lower along the waist.

When a woman is married, it is customary for her parents (those who can afford it, anyway) to give her a gift of a trousseau or set of saris.  The different patterns, colors, and materials of the sari often reflect sub-caste regulations, family traditions, or other rules of divisions. Many women of upper classes prefer expensive synthetic cloth, but many are also now turning towards traditional hand-woven silk and cotton saris. Cotton saris are usually used for every-day wear, and silks are reserved for more formal occasions. Hand-woven cottons are not only expensive, but are also expensive to maintain (in laundry costs). Poorer women wear machine-manufactured, cheaper everyday cotton and mixed-fiber synthetic saris of lower-quality material.

After India’s independence from Great Britain, the Sari rose to become an emblem of national unity and identity, an aspiration to live up to the “ideal of India,” and to show loyalty to the nation.  They are not the only accepted form of Indian dress, but they certainly have become the accepted “formal Indian dress” (Banerjee & Miller, p. 237). As we mentioned at the beginning, clothing carries with it the meaning assigned by its wearer.  The structure of the sari, being a “one-size-fits-all” garment, allows it to be a common and appropriate gift and makes it easy to hand-down to younger or poorer relatives. However, it still bears the taste and care of its original owner. This is something that never quite leaves the sari cloth, and while its new owner(s) transform it and make it their own, a part of the original owner’s spirit does remain attached to the cloth. We hope that our f.a.c.t.s. customers bear this in mind and value the background of their flex-wraps, treating them with a special care that ought be given to these vintage, one-of-a-kind items.  We hope that our customers will also share in the spirit of recycling, and pass the flex-wraps on to another when they are no longer wanted, or re-purpose them for decoration or other use, when they are no longer wearable. In this way, we can honor the journeys the cloth has made across cultures, keeping within us a spirit of peace, of giving, of the universality of the human spirit, and of respect for Mother Earth.

Today’s update on f.a.c.t.s  is that we are still on schedule for opening this Friday, July 1st! We will continue posting on the topic of the sari cloth and the Navdanya non-profit we support in future posts and throughout the summer season. Starting Friday, we will also be showing different ways to wear your very flexible silk flex-wrap! 🙂

References: 

Banerjee, Mukulika, and Daniel Miller. 2003. The Sari. New York: Berg.

Norris, Lucy. 2010. Recycled Indian Clothing: Global Contexts of Reuse and Value. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

 Tarlo, Emma. 1996. Clothing Matters: dress and Identity in India. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.


Recycled Silk Saris, Sarongs, Skirts, Flex-Wraps? By any name, a brief history

Sari worn by Indira Gandhi, borrowed from: http://tinyurl.com/6364p7e

We want to familiarize you with our starting-off products for Summer 2011. Though they have been called by many different names, we have chosen to call them Silk Flex-Wraps, as we think this is a little more accurate for what they truly are~ flexible wraps, that can be used as skirts or dresses, and are tailored from recycled silk sari cloth. So, where exactly do these skirts come from? The answer is laden with meaning and complexity, and we, at f.a.c.t.s, would like to tell you their story, their background, their various potential meanings, in an effort that the flex-wraps, transformed in the hands of our customers continue to bear with them their purest essence. We shall start this extended journey with a post on the origins of the flex-wrap.

To begin unraveling the background of these beautiful re-purposed garments, we must begin with a quick look at the Indian economy. In 1991, the Indian economy was deregulated. By 1999, the beginning of the current consumption boom trend had begun. With the expanding of the middle class came a move away from extended families to nuclear families, relocation to bigger cities, and of course, more disposable income. While in the past, old saris were typically worn till they were hardly wearable and then given to servants (at least, non-silk ones) or younger or poorer relatives, purchasing items more and more according to fashion rather than need brought with it fewer personal avenues for their disposal. This led to the selling and buying and bartering of used clothes.

Used saris are generally considered by the higher classes (as I think can be stated as a pattern for many other societies) as “polluted” and therefore unfit to wear. Giving away clothes furthers already established hierarchies in the Indian culture, as the giver has the higher status and the receiver has the lower status. However, there is  still an increasingly large market for recycled saris in the local Indian economies, which leaves room for new families to enter the bartering business. The turnover is relatively small for everyday saris (usually made from cotton), but the more the entrepreneurs can buy, wash, and mend, the more profits they can gain. One form of acquiring saris for re-selling purposes also happens in the form of bartering. Peddlers with stainless steel pots and other similar products can go house to house, offering their wares in exchange for used clothing. Once traders can afford to buy the higher-quality silk saris (used for more formal occasions or by higher classes), they can make a higher margin of profit, as these skirts can be sold at higher prices and are usually snatched up quickly by early 3:00 A.M. shoppers at the local weekly markets.

This brings the conversation over to the silk flex-wraps. The reason we have not chosen to call them by silk sari skirts, or sarong wraps is that they are neither saris nor sarongs. They are re-tailored clothing made from re-purposed silk sari cloth. Some traders set up shops, where these silk saris are expertly tailored around major blemishes and tears, using the best parts of the yards-long high-quality sari cloth to be re-fashioned into Western style halter-top garments, sundresses, drawstring trousers, and the skirt flex-wraps that f.a.c.t.s. will be selling. The myth of how this got started is as follows:

“A young Western woman took her dress to a Pushkar tailor, together with an old sari she had got hold of, and asked him to stitch a copy for her. The tailor picked up the idea and ran up a whole batch that sold immediately; he then opened up a shop. Some tailors were used to making up kurtas (traditional loose shirts) out of saris and understood how the formal properties of the sari’s components could be adapted and reused. With this knowledge added to their well-established copying skills, it was relatively easy to make the new garments. The number of shops selling them proliferated and manufacturing units in nearby houses were set up” (P. 157, Recycling Indian Clothing: Global Contexts of Reuse and Value by Lucy Norris).

Of course, these items are tourist-objects. In other words, they are not traditionally worn by locals and they pose questions of cultural appropriation for the potential buyer. However, by providing you with an honest glance at their origin and a continued search into the cultural meanings behind use and disposal of the sari and other Indian clothing, we, at f.a.c.t.s. are doing our very best to emphasize the diversity of Indian clothing culture and attempting to not make inappropriate generalizations or misrepresentations about the cultural group. In future posts, we will cover more information on the culture of the sari, the West and its effects on Indian culture, the impact of fashion trends, and the implications of recycled clothing. We will also be talking about the Indian non-profit we will be donating 10% of our profits to.** For now, we leave you with a brief glance into the origin of the recycled Indian silk flex-wrap, and hope you will check back with us again over the week-end for a window into the culture of the sari. Thanks again for your support!***

**Remember, this is just our starting point, we strive to reach a point where half of our profits will be given to the local economy of focus for the season.

***References for the post content are:

1) Recycled Indian Clothing: Global Contexts of Reuse and Value by Lucy Norris, 2010 Indiana University Press.

2) The Sari by Mukluika Banerjee & Daniel Miller, 2003 Berg.