BY URBAN MEDLEY FOUNDERS
For many artisans from all around the world weaving fabrics, shoemaking, creating jewellery using traditional materials and techniques is an art that has been passed down from their ancestors. However, the mass production of cheap clothes makes it very difficult for artisans to stay true to their craftsmanships and traditional skills. Not only this, the pandemic is jeopardising the survival of artisans, who are mostly living in rural areas making them hard to reach and work with.
In order to help support artisans and help in the development and independence of their economy we need to shop from brands like URBAN MEDLEY that are still putting in the effort to partner with artisans, ensuring that they earn a fair living wage.
Urban Medley is based on a simple philosophy, to give back to a land we love and make a difference to the lives of less fortunate people. This curated platform was created to promote sustainable, handmade fashion accessories from India that could then be taken to Europe. Urban Medley's accessories are made by artisans using centuries old weaving and printing techniques.
ABOUT THE BRAND - URBAN MEDLEY
Finding the beauty in the imperfections, Urban Medley is not about mass productions and machine-made perfection, instead every piece is handcrafted and unique. Therefore, no two will ever be the same. The blemishes add to the character of this beautiful collection.
At Urban Medley we promote upcoming designers and artisans from India who are working relentlessly to revive traditional craftsmenship using sustainable fabrics and methods of production. The brand empowers artisans and gives them the opportunity to make a decent living. Urban Medley is presently focussing on accessories made of two materials- Peace Silk and Organic Kala cotton.
Peace or ahimsa silk? It is not very common knowledge that there is a cruelty free way of making silk. Instead of boiling the cocoon in hot water while the silk worm is still alive, as is done in conventional silk, we wait for the silk worm to cut through the cocoon as it metamorphoses into a moth and discards the cocoon. The yarn is spun from the discarded cocoon and then woven into silk fabric. Ahimsa silk is less glossy than the traditional weave and it has a beautifully textured body. It's hand spun and hand woven and retains the properties which are lost in the conventional silk weave. It is warm in winter and breathes in summer making it comfortable all year round. This form of weaving and spinning makes silk even more special and not to mention sustainable. This method of silk weaving started in India around 1990.
We are also using KALA organic cotton, an old world cotton which is completely rain fed while using no synthetic fertiliser or pesticides. This is a resilient variety of cotton traditional to the Kutch region of Gujrat in Western India. However this cotton cannot be spun by machine looms you need handlooms to create the fabric.
Urban Medley is for now focussing on scarves and capes. The silk scarves can compliment a variety of outfits. The capes are trifunctional; they can be used as capes, wraps and scarves. These are heirloom pieces and definitely supports the philosophy of ‘buy better and buy less’. The KALA cotton stoles are multi-seasonal and very trendy.
Urban Medley works with small designers who are themselves strong advocates of sustainability. The designers work directly with artisans in their local communities. The artisans work at their pace or in small workshops and are able to be close and look after their families. Each does what they are best at and as a group they are passionate about taking their art to the global market.
The silk is hand block printed and comes in bright colours and elements are taken from nature or inspiration from bold geometric strokes. The cotton is more subtle and neutral. However, the design stands out. Urban Medley is able to comply to sustainable production, support economic growth and help gender equality working with the brand's brilliant team of designers and artisans.
URBAN MEDLEY LOOKBOOK
Urban Medley Team
With unfortunate timing, Urban Medley launched just as COVID-19 was cementing its hold in Europe, especially in the Netherlands. However, the timing further highlighted how important it was to make this idea successful in order to be able to support artisans. It has never been so crucial for us to change the way we live and consume – the world had changed!