So, I may have let out a small squeal of excitement on finding Passion Lilie – a fair trade and eco-friendly clothing brand from the magical city of south, New Orleans with an apparel/fabric production unit situated in Bangalore and Andhra Pradesh! Yes, Passion Lilie’s fabrics-clothes are designed and handmade in some amazing southern cities, located in two different countries that are thousands of miles apart, isn’t that crazy and inspiring at the same time?
P A S S I O N L I L I E
A B O U T
Passion Lilie is a fair trade and sustainable clothing brand founded by Katie Schmidt, that aims at empowering artisans across the world, by creating dignified employment opportunities, that support inclusive growth-for a better tomorrow! Passion Lilie carries variety of products for women and men (yup, they’ve got you covered too guys) from clothing to bags and home accessories. The designs are created/hand drawn by Katie herself, and then brought to life at their apparel production unit in Bangalore, India.
T H E S T O R Y
Katie Schmidt, the founder and designer (literally the everything of PL) had an aha moment when she visited a small village in Bhopal, India and witnessed the struggles of artisans first hand. She soon realized that they needed jobs that used their inherited skills in the right direction and helped them live a dignified life.
In 2012, as the Director of a fair trade organization, she visited India and helped a small workshop become fair trade certified. After witnessing the many benefits of fair trade, Katie decided to create her own women’s fair trade clothing line.
At that very moment, Katie put all the pieces together and went back to New Orleans only to start Passion Lilie in January 2013. Katie’s main aim was to create more jobs for artisans and marginalized women from across India, who were gifted skill-wise but could barely find means to connect the two.
” My mission in life is to improve the world I live in, and because of my love for design, I have chosen to do this through fashion.” –Katie Schmidt
T H E P R O D U C T S and D E S I G N S
Katie Schmidt, the founder who is also a fashion graduate creates all the designs by hand for Passion Lilie in her little studio in New Orleans. She meticulously chooses patterns, colors and prints for her designs and takes inspiration from nature.
She loves colors and believes that wearing happy-bright colors and prints instantly lifts up ones mood. She is also very inspired by the ancient Indian artisanal technique of weaving and dyeing- as it gives way to plethora of design possibilities.
A lot of thought and experimentation goes into her designs, Katie herself wears every design for a day to make sure of the fit and isn’t uncomfortable in anyway. In case it is, then the production on that design is halted and improvisations are made until it all comes together perfectly.
Katie takes inspiration from retro-vintage silhouettes and designs for all ages, body types and seasons, her only aim is to inspire confidence in every woman who wears it and the woman that has made it!
Skylar shift dress – This is my favorite print and silhouette put together- blue and white ikat print on a loosely fitted dress, wearing this on a hot summer day will be like a blessing!
Did you know?
Ikat, means “to tie” or “to bind” in Indonesian, it involves applying bindings, which resist dye penetration to the threads in the desired pattern. The threads are then dyed, the bindings are removed and finally the threads are woven into fabric.
Caribbean Ikat scarf – This scarf is made in the most gorgeous blue and teal combination and adds a great touch to any plain top or dress. It’s handwoven and ikat dyed in Andhra Pradesh, India- to know how read here.
Peacock Teal Sarong – I cannot say enough good things about this super versatile cloth thats made in buttery soft cotton. This sarong can be worn as a skirt, swimsuit coverup, dress, wrap, scarf or even used as a beach towel! This folds up small, making it the best summer travel companion! It’s ethically made in 100% cotton material and hand block printed with a teal print using eco dyes.
All of Passion Lilie products are sustainable that means they are not only made keeping the environment in mind but are also very long lasting- a key point to note before purchasing any clothing item. Is it going to fade and shrink in just two washes or actually last for years- think.
E T H I C A L & S U S T A I N A B L E
Apparel Production Unit | Bangalore
Katie visits each of her units every year and interviews all employees about the working conditions and any other issues that may have cropped up. She has noticed that most women are happy to come to work and enjoy the sisterhood that they’ve built over the years among the community.
These women are provided with free on the job training, 24 days of sick leave, 11 government paid holidays, assistance in obtaining health insurance and financial advising.
Fabric Sourcing | Bangalore & Andhra Pradesh
Most of PL’s block prints are produced at a lush green studio in Bangalore. This studio that was built in 1977, is surrounded by trees and a lake that truly inspires creativity. This unit was started with the main intent to preserve the block printing technique ethically and by using eco friendly dyes.
All artisans working here are well paid and are entitled for overtime, sick leaves and government holidays as needed. The Manager Padmini, is amazing at her job and makes sure every artisan working there is treated fairly- some of their senior staff members have been around for over 3 decades!
This block printing studio prides themselves on living up to the highest level of eco-friendly standards while creating a beautiful product that does not bleed or fade when washed.
PL also uses many handwoven and ikat dyed fabrics that are sourced from a family of handloom weavers residing in a village outside of Hyderabad in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
This unit employs 5-10 workers at an above average salary and provides them a safe working environment. This unit consists of three houses where most of the weaving and dyeing happens, Katie also assists them with developing newer patterns and designs periodically.
Passion Lilie is also dedicated to preserving the environment by using natural, plant and vegetable-based dyes. The fabrics are also “washed by hand in the local waterways and dried in the sun.” Oh, and any leftover scraps are used for accessories!
Why support PL?
Passion Lilie is founded by a woman who combined her passion for fashion and her interest towards empowering artisans/women, from lower income communities for a better tomorrow. So every time you make a purchase from PL, you’re actually securing jobs and a better future for these women and their families.
Passion Lilie is a fair-trade brand that means the people who made your clothes were not exploited or underpaid, so you can wear that dress and actually be happy about that purchase.
The products are made from sustainable fabrics that use eco friendly dyes and are long lasting, so you can wear that top for years to come without worrying about it’s quality.
In addition to all of the above PL carries colorful clothing items that are affordable and stitched to perfection in comfortable silhouettes.
This post has been sponsored by Passion Lilie. All opinions here, however, are honest and my own.