We are in both a climate and social emergency.
Fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world. Some of the main factors that contribute to this pollution are the vast overproduction of fashion items, the use of synthetic fibres, and the agricultural pollution of fashion crops. The industry is also renowned for workers being underpaid and overworked in crowded factories with poor working conditions.
The UN's Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice.
With all this in mind and a severe lack of fairly priced, conscious clothing, Bëdu was born to prove that sustainable and ethical fashion can be created in harmony with the earth and community benefit.
Natural, artisan fashion that does good! Bëdu works with indigenous artisan communities using traditional, natural fibres and dyes to create capsule collections of garments and accessories.
I am currently working with 7Weaves, a social enterprise in Assam, northeast India. 7Weaves work with the Rabha people who traditionally cultivate, spin, naturally dye and weave a type of silk called Eri. All these processes are carried out in small villages completely by hand and without the use of industrial machinery or toxic chemicals.
Collaborating with artisans provides well paid job opportunities in rural areas and allows us to preserve cultural traditions and help communities with more regenerative farming methods to protect their fragile ecosystems.
7Weaves has a large focus on protecting the forest where the Rabha people live. Fodder plants for the silk worms and natural dye materials, like indigo and turmeric, are interspersed amongst community forest land to ensure good soil health and preservation of the rich biodiversity.
We currently work with the artisans producing beautiful limited-edition handwoven scarves and we are now ready to launch our first garment collection!
Now we need your help. I am aiming to raise £2500 to fund our first garment collection as well as providing 10 new pedal powered spinning wheels for 7Weaves.
I have designed and made samples for a collection of shirts and dresses, the fabrics are currently being prepared and will be stitched this spring. For every garment purchased customers are directly supporting the communities involved.
The fashion industry has many complex issues, from waste, to production, farming and culture. Slowly the industry is starting to realise that all these elements are connected and more consumers are asking who and how clothes are made.
Changing an industry doesn't happen overnight and we are just embarking on this beautiful journey, but the future looks bright. I hope to be able to support many more artisan communities across the world as well as focusing on wool, hemp and linen production in the UK, to create beautiful garments that look good and do good!
With more education on sustainable and ethical fashion, consumers value their clothes more, buy less, buy better and look after what they have. Join us in the fashion revolution and support us and everyone we work with today!
My name is Alice and I'm the founder and owner of Bëdu. With a background in design, I founded Bëdu last year with the aim of producing stylish yet affordable clothing that directly supports indigenous communities and has a positive effect on those people and their surroundings. At the same time I started building a community of conscious consumers, designers and industry experts so we can start to make the changes we want to see in the world!
After spending some time working in Kenya with basket weavers I was put in contact with 7weaves. I've spent a total of three months in the forest with the artisans, learning about their self-sufficient lifestyle and working in harmony with nature to produce fabric. I instantly fell in love with the project and the people.
Since then I've been on a mission to help them by linking them to the global fashion market and producing accessories and garments to support my own business, (some are available as rewards for this Crowdfunder!).
In order to continue supporting myself and these communities I'm slowly producing collections for the next coming seasons. I still work a full time job and spend any time off I have on the business so support from this Crowdfunder would give me, the business and the communities I work with many more opportunities to grow!
I have some amazing rewards on offer in exchange for your pledges which will make a huge positive impact on the environment and the communities I work with!
We would love you to discover the beauty of this Eri Silk fabric so we have some fantastic scarves to give as rewards! Made with love using hand-spun Eri Silk, woven on hand looms by the Rabha women of the Loharghat Forest range. Eri Silk’s texture resembles a combination of wool and linen, this large scarf (60cm x 200cm) can be used as a wrap during summer evenings or as a warm scarf during the cold winter months. Available in beautiful naturally dyed Indigo or natural off-white! Treat yourself or as a gift to someone you love and help make a difference to someone else's life.
The Guardian recently wrote an article saying that "Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis" and we think so too! This reward actively contributes to decreasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere so if you want to lower your carbon footprint, help tackle the climate emergency or just love plants, this reward is for you!!
We are proud to partner up with Glebe Farm Hedging. A mail order hedging company who have very kindly donated 1000 seedling trees to us!! They come in packs of 25 that can either be sent to you to plant when the season starts in Autumn or can be planted on their farm in Essex on your behalf later in the year! We will take part in the planting and can send you photos of your trees!! Or if you live nearby and want to take part in the planting, join us! We would love to meet you!
In rural areas like the Loharghat Forest in Assam there are few jobs available. Farming is mostly done by the men of the community and so women are left with very low paid work such as tea picking. Creating job opportunities for women in this area has a direct effect on their families and the community as a whole. Wages are used to pay for more food, better education and expensive medicines or hospital treatments.
Eri Silk need to be spun like cotton or wool. One woman spinning on a pedal powered wheel (no industrial machinery here!) can spin up to 35g of yarn per day. It takes 150g to spin enough yarn to weave 1m of fabric!
By providing 7Weaves with 10 new spinning wheels they can provide 10 women with jobs and create more fabric which supports the whole community. If you are feeling generous and want to help give employment to women in Assam, this reward is for you!