Mega Vick Wear, a fair factory where we get our garments stitched, was the last stop we made during our trip to India. In the same location for 25 years in Delhi, this factory started in ‘93 as a family business, and still acts like one even now with 200 workers. Mr. Sarna, the founder of this fair factory started out as a systems man in automobiles. As it was the thing to do back then – the thing being entering the mechanical industry. Starting his own business was a not an easy decision to make, but one he knew he had to do as it felt familiar to him.
“Being fair trade means being fair to every person you hold a relationship with.” – Mr. Sarna
Mr. Sarna calls everyone in the factory his family, and makes sure they are treated right. From the width of the aisles, wattage of light, amount of fresh air circulating and even the load each pillar can hold, the factory complies to all the social, technical, environmental and structural standards – they take care of their workers.
We learnt a lot about what the factory does through Mr. Sarna, but only by interacting with the workers and seeing them in their elements did we fully understand the process behind making our garments. Raj Kumar, the master pattern cutter who has been there since the factory started, taught us what expertise really looks like. He has been doing his work for so long, he can draw a perfectly straight line without any guidelines. The confidence in freehand reminds us it is a work of art.
It takes years of experience to understand the true volatile nature of fabrics. These years of experience are prevalent in all the employees working in this factory, as they understand how each panel of the garment has to be cut, and like puzzle pieces, joined to form the final picture.
Every garment is checked, ironed, and measured twice, just to warrant uniformity and quality. Every complaint is run by the workers to see how we can improve every detail of the garments. For example, we received a few emails from customers about how some of the buttons weren’t secure enough. Now after conducting 9kg pull tests, we’re certain they’ll be able to take any tension. The same goes for the strap on the jumpsuits – just to make it more secure, they added a bar tack stitching (go check out our Instagram Highlights of our India trip to see a video of how secure the strap is now).
Matching prints is tricky business, especially when it’s our Kirana motif. Each pattern piece is cut by hand so that the grids align at the seams. The tailor matches the pieces with their notches they make after cutting. There is more fabric wastage in matching prints, but their recycling and upcycling efforts even the scales for healthy industry practices. Excess fabric is stored for a year before they are resold into the market, and scraps are stitched into blankets, made into garments or fillers, the factory ensures they aren’t adding to landfills.
“I belong to them and they belong to me” – Mr. Sarna
During our time in India with our partners, we took two things to heart:
1. The pride they have for what they do
2. The depth of care they have for their employees
It’s not only about job security, safety and ethical regulations, but the presence of compassion in each and every person. The mutual understanding and trust in the relationship of every worker with Mr. Sarna can be summarised in one sentence – “I belong to them and they belong to me”.
Fashion is ever changing, and to only rely on profit as a measure of success for a lasting business is not enough – relationships and integrity are what prevail. In another article we brought up the issue of how the processes and practices of the industry aren’t talked about enough, and so this is our incentive and responsibility to bring forward this conversation. By discussing about the source and processes our garments go through, we are advocating transparency and provenance. And as we are doing so, we are reminding the industry these people matter most.
Here’s a tour of our fair factory:
Read more about our conversation with Mr. Sarna here.