Better Brands: Holi Boli

Every week we showcase more sustainable brands. Whether that’s producing from more ethical sources or reducing harm on the environment using sustainable materials.
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More Sustainable Brands Holi Boli Sourcing Playground

Intro

Holi Boli is an ethical women’s clothing manufacturer and fashion brand based in rural India.

The brand’s main goal is to empower local women by offering safe, fair, and dignified employment at their sewing production house.

Holi Boli is the brainchild of Ana Wilkinson-Gee, who founded the brand and designs their clothing.

Here at Sourcing Playground, we have featured quite a few brands focused on the empowerment of women, as this is a critical aspect of sustainability that is often overlooked.

We have found that there are many women employed in the apparel industry that face abuse daily, and this needs to stop.

There have been a myriad of reports over the past few years in this regard, so we take our hats off to any brand that is taking concrete action to protect and empower women.

A simple Google search will give you an indication of how endemic this problem has become.

Holi Boli also offers a manufacturing service for other socially conscious brands and designers in New Zealand.

So, essentially, they are both a more sustainable brand, and a more sustainable manufacturer! Excellent.

Ana and her husband also live in the same village as their workers, and work daily on site to manage and maintain a happy and safe working environment.

Some other cool stuff about Holi Boli that we like;

  • Staff at Holi Boli work a family-friendly 32-hour week. According to the ILO (International Labour Organisation), garment worker’s maximums should be 48 hours per week plus 12 hours overtime. Shockingly, some workers work over 90 hours a week, and do not receive a living wage.
  • Workers at Holi Boli are ensured of receive fair wages, unlimited paid sick leave, maternity pay and paid holidays.

Visions and Values

“Everything we do is done with kindness and consideration for people, planet, and animals.”

We really like this vision. It is simple and to the point. It shows that you do not need a long and rambling vision statement to get your values across.

It also hits an important nail on the head. The desire to “be better”.

We have often said that more sustainable outcomes do not require massive initiatives with more PR than substance, but rather the will to do things better, and to do your best to create positive outcomes.

It seems Holi Boli follows the same principle, and gets on with business while keeping their values firmly in mind.

This is more important than the vague, long off promises, so common in our industry, that are usually mere words, with no concrete actions.

Apparel

All Holi Boli’s garments are made from either;

  • GOTS certified organic cotton
  • Linen
  • Raw denim

GOTS certified organic cotton, is organic cotton that has met stringent processing standards that include ecological and social criteria.

The entire textile supply chain is audited independently to ensure that the standards are met. For more on GOTS, check this link.

Personally, we really like raw denim. Raw denim is denim that is not washed or treated in any way (other than dyeing), hence the use of the term “Raw”.

Usually denim is highly processed after dyeing (either chemically or manually) in order to lighten it, create fading, tears, whiskers etc. Besides the chemicals usually used in these processes, the denim apparel looks like it was made by a robot. Every piece looks the same. Not so with raw denim.

Items made from raw denim will fade and crease naturally through use and over time, to give a very unique look. Holi Boli also ensures that their carbon footprint is reduced as much as possible. To do this they keep things local, and only source fabrics made in India.

Using local suppliers is another bedrock of more sustainable apparel, so kudos for this.

Another important aspect is transparency, so all fabric suppliers are disclosed on all care labels.

At Sourcing Playground, we believe transparency is a big starting step for all brands striving to be more sustainable, so we really like this.

Pattern making and cutting is done by hand the old-fashioned way, so the need for electricity is essentially eliminated from this process making it more eco-friendly.

When clothing is sewed, a mix of manual sewing machines, refurbished vintage machines and Juki industrial machines are used.

It’s pretty rare to see manual sewing machines, as well as vintage one’s used commercially these days. This is great. A return to simpler, more traditional ways is a big plus on any sustainability journey.

And to further reduce waste, fabric scraps are utilised in sewing classes for workers and then taken home to use as cushion fillings.

We give Holi Boli a big thumbs up as this week’s “Better Brand”.

For more on Holi Boli, check out their site.

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