Twice a year a new line of clothing and accessories is designed. This design process starts with a design brief and storyboard outlining the general look, feel and color palette of the collection.
Fabric patterns are created in collaboration with the designers and the fabric producers, and some designs are hand carved into wooden printing blocks. Test swatches with different dyes and techniques are tried until we achieve the desired results. Once the fabric designs are set, we decide which fabrics will be used for which garments and samples are sewn.
Then the Design Workshop convenes to create the embroidery embellishments. Composed of representatives from each Production Cooperative, the workshop is a chance for the women to give free rein to their imaginations. They experiment with different motifs, techniques and yarn colors, undoing and redoing as they work out the designs. The workshop goes on for 3 weeks, from 10:30 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. Women bring their lunches, and some of their children come by after school.
The discussions are lively and wide-ranging, as the women give their opinions about the samples, discuss possible production problems, and generally catch up. When all the designs are completed, duplicate samples are carefully made to be used as templates by the cooperatives. The entire design process is 6 months of dedication, hard work - and fun.