Your shopping cart is empty
FAQ – Our Standard: Authenticity
Our silks are authentic beyond a ‘standard’ – authentic to nature (organic and environmentally sustainable, authentic silkworm varieties, natural colours) and authentic to true ethical principles governing the way we deal with money, pay, and prices, and a high value for cultural authenticity. Cultural ethics mean we respect and celebrate artisanal ownership of their traditional knowledge, skills and creativity – we view them as designers in their own right, and we defend the sorely neglected value of ‘grassroots designers’ who perhaps better than educated city-dwelling designers can reinvent their traditions from inside to give deeper substance to ‘fashion’. They can feed the slow and the sustainable into fashion, and timeless beauty beyond the transience of seasons and collections.
For more on the contents of authenticity, click this link to my TEDx video on artisans’ right to beauty… and duty to beauty:
For the full text of our Organic and Fair Trade Standard, the link is http://www.sawangboran.com/store/organic-silk-standards/
The issue of organic and fair trade certification is a major hurdle for small groups in the global South, since reliable third party inspection and certification is only available in developed countries. The cost of bringing inspectors over to our remote location is prohibitive. Furthermore, our standards are artisanal and sui generis, i.e. very different from the prevalently industrial standards used for greener textiles, and from those used in crop farming. Our recent experience with submitting our artisanal standard for assessment by IFOAM has shown how ill-equipped large organic organisations are to deal with the multiple realities of artisanal organic production at grassroots level across the Global South.
Consequently we cannot even hope to seek certification in any foreseeable future. In the meantime, we are pursuing a PGS status (Participatory Guarantee Sytem) providing for internal inspection.
We are confident that in any case, our best gurantee is our own pride in producing beautiful and beneficial silks with honesty, authenticity and transparency.
If we cannot count on organic certification for artisanal silk in a remote village, even less can be promised in terms of third party certification for community level cultural authenticity and ownership – there simply doesn’t exist such a mechanism. Yet cultural authenticity is one of our major principles, and our weavings themselves convey to you their own ‘certificate’ – a flavour of self-driven local excellence en inventivity, ‘from the heart’, now hard to find on the market. The concept of intellectual property is alien to villagers, but a few of our weavers are proud to embroider their own ‘signature’ (a flower, a fish, a star…) on a corner of their pieces.