issue 2 : Earth
issue 2 : Earth

Traceability of Seed to Stitch

Building a regenerative supply chain and the meaning in materiality.

Words by Mia Morikawa. Images courtesy of 11.11 / eleven eleven.

The moment we put on clothing there is a shift from individual to connected member of society. Cloth connects our bodies and minds to the group of makers that have brought each garment to life. The materiality connects us to the environment – where we stand in relationship to it and a legacy inherited from our ancestors. 

The work that we do at 11:11 / eleven eleven is a form of resistance. It is unabashedly anti-industrial. It is a celebration and reflects the art of slow living. We have found an alternative to fast fashion in humble, hand spun yarn and hand loomed fabric. We take refuge in the historical structure of warp and weft. We find ourselves in the meditative qualities of hand knitting and painting on cloth, the enlivening form of bandhani, the earthiness of natural dye and the pure power of collective effort. There is meaning in materiality, and a message in our process. 

From start to finish, each piece of our clothing line passes through the attention fields and hands of many artisans. Every step adds a layer of expertise. The resulting garments hold the energetic signature of all who have contributed to the process and the land it originates from. Each garment produced by 11.11 / eleven eleven can be seen as a collectors item - signed, numbered, and dated, there is full traceability from ‘seed to stitch’. 

Dismantling systemic oppression happens through a reordering of the priorities which, in turn, inform new actions and incite new patterns of behavior. We do this by consistently centering the Artisans and Farmers at the foundation of our supply chain. Operating on a zero waste principle, we assign value to every piece of material, down to the last thread. Our supply chain is a value chain.

These Artisans and Farmers are the custodians of living history. They are located across the length and breadth of India and are essential to this work.

The technique of patchwork is a manifestation of valuing all fragments of cloth and is a metaphor for the repair we need as individuals and communities.
The transformation of cotton to cloth is a manifestation of our collaborative relationship with nature. Textile heritage allows us to wear a landscape through tactile materiality. Cloth has a powerful way of recording memories, and the process of making clothing has the power to build social cohesion, embedding equity and environmental consciousness into each and every garment.

As we learn to piece together the ruptured parts of our identities and lives, we can take a lead from this tradition. Patchwork offers the possibility of transformation and hope that we can turn a fractured present into something that can function again. A wholeness whose beauty is found in rupture and whose greatness is beyond the sum of its many parts – including everything it connects to.

Many of the Artisans we have partnered with work from home. The spinning, weaving and kitchen activities happen in the same space. It is common for family members to work as a team. Many grow their own food and co-exist with animals. These remote craft communities have some of the smallest carbon footprints on the planet. This self sufficient model has never felt more inspiring or relevant as a model for living. We see re-ruralisation as a viable future of manufacturing – engaging networked village economies as a way to decentralize production away from urban centers. 

Each season, we center soil, farmers, artisans, process, heritage, culture and community. 11.11 / eleven eleven is a life affirming living organism that grows and evolves according to access to resources, care and positive conditions. 

Mia Morikawa is the Director and Co-founder of 11.11 / eleven eleven clothing,  a brand renowned for its use of indigenous cotton and 100% natural dyes.  The label uses heritage techniques such as hand spinning, hand loom weaving, hand painting, miniature tie-dyeing, and quilting and maintains its unique handmade vision by departing from mainstream manufacturing, producing small batch slow-made clothing in collaboration with groups of artisans located all across India.

For more information about 11.11/ eleven eleven and their collections visit here and here.

100% of the proceeds of purchases from the 11.11 / eleven eleven site this month will be going towards Covid Relief in India : orders will be fulfilled when their headquarters reopen at the end of the month. Shop here.

The current health crisis in India has highlighted the lack of ease of access to healthcare that our rurally located partners face.

After consulting doctors – our team assembled medical kits including : thermometers, paracetamol and oximeters for monitoring oxygen saturation.

Medical kits have been sent to craft communities which reside in villages in Kutch : Bhujpar, Kera, Vadala, Dudhai, Maringna and in West Bengal : Sashinara, East Burdwan, Nayada, Bankura, Prattapur and Purulia. 

There is a growing need to build awareness and understanding for how the vaccine works – we will allocate a team for this communication exercise – as of now it seems many of the Artisans are resisting the idea of getting vaccinated once it becomes available to them.

We are pledging to work towards facilitating annual and emergency care checkups – in the form of a mobile clinic that can travel from village to village.