PHILOSOPHY

PHILOSOPHY

The clothes from the Didi Textiles are made in two villages in the North of Bangladesh. They are tailored by hand and sewn following the local textile traditions. Aiming at an improved quality of life, the process is as important as the product.  Didi textiles is initiated by Veronika Lena Lang as master tailor and Anna Heringer as architect and is realized in cooperation with the Bangladeshi development organization Dipshikha.  


Made in Bangladesh

4,2 millions of people, women in particular, are living from the fabrication of textiles in Bangladesh. The objective of the textile sector merely is to achieve the global standards regarding quality and labor conditions – or in other words: to cheaply produce a perfect standardized t-shirt in safe working conditions. But what is not considered are the wonderful textile arts and cultures that Bangladesh has, nor are the global technological developments, that with great probability will replace the manual labor in 10 to 15 years, taken into account. This project is a Bangladeshi-German cooperation between crafts(wo)men and designers together with a Bangladeshi NGO for village development. It proves the possibility of an alternative “made in Bangladesh” production: participative, sustainable, decentralized, based on the local textile traditions, and with purpose to improve the quality of life.  



Family patterns
In rural Bangladesh a woman gets one sari per year from her family on the occasion of the main Muslim or Hindu festival. When the saris are worn out, they are traditionally recycled into blankets: about six layers of those cotton saris are fixed together with hundreds of stitches made by hand by the women of the village. From this history the name of the project arises: “didi” means “sister” in Bangla. Over the years with everyday use, the surface layers of the blankets peel off and the hidden layers appear. The vibrant and incredible colorful textured surface is an imprint of its own little family cosmos, documenting the traces of the family’s history. When the blankets are almost torn, our project begins: the blankets are handcrafted by women in and around the village of Rudrapur, and turned into contemporary designed clothes.



Ecology

The old sari blankets that form the raw material of our collection are collected by bike or by a rickshaw and are hand washed with an ecological washing powder. The used water is heated by solar collectors. The entire production runs without electricity, using feet driven sewing machines that are commonly spread in the villages of Bangladesh.  In addition this process requires a good share of manual work like stitching. The project consciously abstains from synthetic materials. Every step in the labor process, like the supply of materials, the cutting, the manufacturing and the final control is local. For transporting only the bike is used. The only pollution that is caused is the shipment to Germany.
The individuality of the clothes is so unique that they will not follow a short term fashion trend. Thereby the pieces will be worn over a long time span of years rather than the usual fashion period of weeks. The transparence of the production as well as the emotional relationship to the process will replace the identification with the iconic brand.


Urban intervention

The majority of the Bangladeshi lives in villages. While in cities the consumption gains more importance, the villages can produce a big share of their daily needs themselves. With this day-to-day creativity and culture the villages prove to be important culture carriers. Thanks to this economical subsistence their ecological footprint is smaller than in the cities, but what lacks are paid job opportunities. 

The outcome of this project is a spatial and urban intervention. The garment sector is dragging labor forces from the villages all around the country to the urban centers, mainly to the capital Dhaka. There the textile workers, most of them women, end up living in inhumane conditions for which they often have to pay a high prize. A decentralized manufacturing process directly in the villages can dam up the continuing migration from rural to urban areas. It also enhances a more equally distributed economic and infrastructural development all over the country.
By setting up this project, woman can stay with their families in their villages, in the vicinity of their social network, being able to do their work in their own homes or in a community space where they don`t have to pay for water or sanitation. They get a fair salary and their kids can play with marbles and goats in a healthy environment.



Out of the Ordinary
The continuation of this unique textile culture will be facilitated by the appreciation that will be revived through the Didi Textiles. For us in the industrialized countries these textiles can be an inspiration and motivation towards the art of recycling as well as strengthening the sensibility to discover the beauty in the used and ordinary.