Jyoti - Fair Works is a German-Indian fair fashion label that produces socially and ecologically sustainable fashion. We make clothes and accessories that not only make our customers happy, but also the people involved in their production - from cotton farmers and weavers to the seamstresses. To be able ensure every participant’s wellbeing, it is important for us to get to know the people involved in our supply chain.
Our clothes are crafted in three stitching workshops in the south-indian towns Chittapur, Londa and Hyderabad, where we work in close cooperation with more than 20 women and the local NGOs Jyothi Seva Kendra, Nava Chetana Kendra and Access Foundation. Here socially disadvantaged women get an education as seamstresses, a permanent employment, opportunities for training, health checks, and a fair salary. Along the whole supply chain, we work with small family businesses and cooperatives. They weave, print, and lovingly craft all our fabrics with traditional techniques.
Over the course of our many journeys to India, we got to know them all personally. This way we can ensure the quality of the clothes and an environmental-friendly production and also guarantee that the money you spend, is not lost to negotiators or large corporations but instead supports the producers and their handicraft. Sustainability is not only important to us in relation to the production of our raw materials, but also influences the design of our products. We try to design pieces that are timeless and of good quality and thus can be worn for many years. In the production of our clothes, we are aiming at producing as little waste as possible, and advocate a responsible use of resources.
Furthermore, we regard Jyoti – Fair Works as a medium to start a DISCUSSION. A discussion about the value of our clothes, and the work that goes into them; about how we can change the textile industry in a sustainable way and how we can achieve a global economic system that is more just. An important first step is more transparency, and this is where we want to start. It is for this reason that we consistently communicate openly about how we work, where we work, and about what issues we are facing.
»We will probably not be able to change the textile industry by ourselves. But we can serve as a positive example by showing that it can be done differently, better, more justly. We can be an inspiration for other companies and an alternative for our customers. And we can provide fifteen women in India with a livelihood. We think that is already quite an achievement.«
– Jeanine, Founder –
Vision We want to promote our vision for a different textile industry with a focus on human beings and the environment, instead of profit.
Mission As a fair fashion label, we want to make sure that everybody across the supply chain can live on what they earn. Moreover, it is our top priority to minimise the environmental impacts of textile production.
Value We act in a financially, socially, and ecologically sustainable way. We believe in a trusting partnership where every participant has equal rights, with open cooperation for joint development with the women in India, our partners, and our customers.
In three sewing centers in Chittapur, Londa and Hyderabad we are working together with more than 20 women, who are cutting fabrics, embroidering them lovingly by hand and putting them together with great care into finished products. At least twice a year new patterns are introduced in the centers. Therefore, the women form small teams of experts who then learn to apply the new cuts. Afterwards, they will pass on the knowledge to their colleagues. We, from the German team, or Sunandha are regularily visiting the workshops but most of the year the Indian team works through the production independently and takes care of it in consultation with us for smaller errands and the shipments to Germany. When new women join the team, they get trained by the more experienced and learn every day from one of the experts until all the big and small production steps work well and they can go on to the real production.
The working hours in the sewing centers are adapted to the women's responsibilities within their families: The day starts at 10 am after the children have been brought to school and ends at 5 pm to pick them up again. Between 1 pm and 2 pm there is a lunch break, where some of the women walk to their nearby homes and spend time with their families. The rest gathers in the yard in front of the sewing workshop to share the food they brought in small metal cans. In regular intervals there are health checks, seminars on women's and employment rights and also English language courses. In addition, we offer our seamstresses the possibility to take out interest-free and subsidized loans in the areas of health and education. For example in recent years many of the women have received a loan to replace their old, very harmful wood burning stoves with new gas stoves. They themselves can determine at which rate they pay off the loan, so that neither pressure nor financial bottlenecks arise.
Sister Lucy Priya has been managing our sewing workshop in Chittapur for six years now and thus looks after the staff, the finances, administration, and all local organisational issues that arise. She always has a sympathetic ear for all questions coming from the Indian and the German team, and is the heart and soul of Jyoti- Fair Works. In her full-time job, she runs the entrie Jyothi Seva Kendra Trust in Chittapur - depending on the situation, with a stern look or a mischievous smile.
Sister Nirmala is responsible for the management of the workshop in Londa. Like Sister Lucy Priya in Chittapur she looks after the staff, the finances and local organisational issues and the communication with the German team. Next to her tasks at Jyoti, she is very involved in any kind of charitable and social works as part of the Nava Chetana Kendra Trust.
Sunandha was introduced to Jeanine and Carolin in 2020 and they hit it off very well. She has a Bachelors degree in Computer Science & Engineering, worked for a year and quit that to raise a family. She is passionate about the rich heritage of Indian textiles and always wanted to create jobs for women in that space. Her conviction is backed by her belief that jobs bring dignity and sustainable livelihood for women. She heads the India operations of Jyoti - Fair Works and personally oversees the new workshop launched at Hyderabad in collaboration with Access Foundation, run by a great team of women.
The workshop in Chittapur on the campus of the non-profit organization "Jyothi Seva Kendra" has been around since 2010 and the founders on the Indian side are still an important part of the Jyoti-team. The group has grown steadily and has developed significantly, especially in their stitching expertise. Sister Lucy Priya takes care of all organizational matters and the direct coordination with the team in Berlin.
Halima has been a member of the team since Jyoti’s founding in 2010, and is always ready to advise other members of the team, especially the younger ones. Halima’s speciality is doing detailed embroidery. She values the financial security the employment with Jyoti gives her because it enables her to pay for her children’s education.
Suvarna has also been an integral part of the Indian team since the beginning. Her colleagues value her calm nature and her ability to explain even complicated things clearly and understandably. She says the work with Jyoti has made her stronger and braver, helps her financially and makes her very happy. In the past six years she has not only learned to speak English, but also to read.
Rizwana also has been part of the Indian team since the beginning. For her, the Jyoti team is like a second family (“We are one family here“). She enjoys using new patterns and also loves working on the sewing machine. Her colleagues affectionately call her "the heart and soul of the sewing business".
Parveen has been with with Jyoti in Chittapur since 2010 and she loves working on the sewing machine. In the past six years, Parveen has learned a lot – not only in relation to sewing, but also in terms of social interaction with other people. She has become a lot more open and courageous, and is happy to be able to speak freely and openly on the JSF campus.
Safiya has been a member of the Indian team since 2011, and her radiating smile brings cheerfulness to the workshop. She sews the clothes for our new collection with great care and accuracy. To her, the sewing workshop is a refuge, where she can forget all her worries and tensions, and can enjoy the company of her colleagues.
Laxmi has been an integral part of the Indian team since 2014. She is happy about all the new patterns she has worked with in the past two years here. She describes the sewing workshop as a place where she can forget her worries for some time. She is interested in everything that happens on the Jyothi Seva Kendra campus, and is always very happy to get to know new people and learn about their lives.
Shashirekha joined the team in 2015. She likes sewing and embroidery, and enjoys the realisation of the new collection. She is especially taken with the trousers Hamina. Before starting to work with Jyoti, she was already a good seamstress, but says that she only learned proper and neat finishing with Jyoti- Fair Works. She is especially happy about the opportunity to practise her English.
Niruja joined us in 2017, together with her very good friend Nirmala, who is meanwhile married to Niruja’s brother. She knew about Jyoti because her brother went to the school on the same campus and told her about the stitching group. Niruja quickly got used to working with the other ladies in the group and is appreciated for her cheerfulness and neat work, especially with the complicated trousers patterns.
Sumithra joined Jyoti in 2018. She has great responsibility for her younger siblings as their parents both died. With her salary she sustains her family, consisting of four brothers and one sister. She is very keen on learning new patterns and cheers everybody in the Jyoti workshop up with her open mindedness and bright smile. Unfortunately she will work with us only until 2022, as she is already engaged and will move after marriage.
Renuka started working together with Sumithra in 2018. She was working in construction before, doing hard physical work and is very happy now to have joined Jyoti. She got to know the workshop and the other women through her attendance to the self-help-groups offered at the same campus and asked for work there. She loves to learn and work on complicated products as pants and is happy that with her gainings she can support her family.
Nandini was introduced in 2019 to the Jyoti stitching group from her neighbor Sumithra, who joined one year before. She was doing field work until then and is very happy that now she can support her father to sustain the family with her salary from Jyoti. She was trained in stitching and working with patterns during her first months here and is proud to say that by now she has developed a lot of skills and became a professional seamstress.
Shwetha began working at Jyoti in 2019. At this time she already knew very well how to stitch and has completed various stitching orders from neighbours and friends at home. Shwetha finished school at the 10th grade and was already married for 2 years. The marriage wasn’t good so she divorced her husband and returned to Chittapur where she lives with her mother and younger brother. He still goes to school and her mother works in the Indian Railway canteen. Shwetha’s salary is thus a very important part of the family’s income.
Bhimbabhi is living with her two brothers, one sister and parents. When she was 16 years old, Bhimbabhi was married for 10 months before she returned to her family. She went to school until the 10th grade and after that was educated as a seamstress in a 6-months programm, where she was trained in tailoring, cutting and stitching. With those skills she already stitched products for her family or took orders from the neighbours before her employment at Jyoti.As she was already very experienced in sewing, from the beginning Bhimbabhi managed her new job at Jyoti very easily.
Laxhmi - the second or the small Laxhmi in our team - joined us in 2019. She is living together with 5 siblings and her parents and is working to save money for her future but mainly to support her family. Laxhmi participated in a 1-year sewing training, in which she was trained in tailoring, cutting and sewing for one hour each afternoon. In the first weeks at Jyoti she found it hard to get used to working with patterns and measurement tapes all the time, but meanwhile she enjoys the work especially with her helpful colleagues, the general familiarity and the huge variety of designs.
Since 2016 we have been working with those wonderful women here in Londa. The team - as the village - is much smaller than the one in Chittapur and all accessories, men shirts and many of our Jyoti all-time favorites, which we are selling for several seasons now, are being sewn there. Since 2018 Sister Nirmala takes care of all organizational matters and the communication with the team in Berlin.
Sambreen is the cheeky monkey of Team Londa. With her charming quick-wittedness she creates a great atmosphere in the team, always having a funny line in store. However, when she is busy sewing, she is highly concentrated and it can be difficult to make her stop for the afternoon chai break.
Arpana who has many nicknames such as “Pinky” or “sweetest auntie with the sweetest chai”, has been friends with Priya and Malaprabha for years. She loves the community with her old and newly made friends at Jyoti – Fair Works and enjoys the relaxed ambience. Unlike the other women, Arpana’s favourite task is ironing. But if she is not busy ironing fabrics, for a change she likes it best to work on our bag Balangir or the toiletries bag Kanpur.
Shobha only got to know the other Jyoti members, when she joined the team but feels like they have been friends forever. Despite her calm nature, Shobha’s infectious laugh can turn any day into a good one. At work, she feels safe and confident and Shobha is especially proud to now be able to support her four children and her husband with her own salary.
Smita already attended Londa’s stitching group some years ago, but had to leave when she was pregnant with her little son. About a year later, in January 2019, she then joined the Jyoti team and is very happy to work together with the other women and to be able to support her family with the income. Sambreen describes Smita as “always smiling, likes to talk and is very active”. Smita’s favourite product is the Chandrama Cardigan, which she renamed “Chandramama”. It is the word children use for “mother moon”.
Priya is the embroidery enthusiast and expert in Londa, and an indispensible part of the team. Through her work at Jyoti she feels independent happy and together with her calm and considerate nature, she brings a pleasant atmosphere to the sewing centre. Her favorite pieces from our collections are of course the embroidered ones. If cuddly elephant, duck or monkey, Priya is definitely the expert for those.
Shakila is one of the new members of the Jyoti team, but even though she only joined in January 2019, she is already an expert in making laptop- and make-up bags. Her favourite product though is the shirt Himat, which the team in Londa just recently started stitching. Shakila always has funny stories to tell and she is very eager to learn new patterns. Now that she is working with Jyoti, Shakila can afford her own rented flat, where she lives alone with her little daughter Jannary. Her dream would be for all of them to visit Germany together :)
Together with the charitable organisation ACCESS Foundation in Hyderabad, which is working relentlessly right from its inception in 2016 in the field of education, health and empowerment, and our new partner Sunandha, we set up a third sewing center in 2021, to fulfill the growing demands of our customers but also to reach out and create more reliable, well paid and safe jobs for women. Under the roof of the foundation we have assembled a great team, which is - as in the other centers - cutting, sewing, finishing and packing our clothes with a lot of care and skills.
Sabera started working with us in January 2021, when Jyoti and Access Foundation began their collaboration. Four years before that she began her training and work at Access and also grew up in Hyderabad, so she’s very settled around here and in the organization. Sabera is a very talented seamstress and a helping nature to the rest of the team. Privately she likes shopping a lot and at home she cares for two children and is saving her income for their education.
Fouzia joined Access in 2018 and started working with us when Jyoti and the Foundation started their collaboration in 2021. She is a Hyderabad local as well and good at cutting and stitching. Apart from that she is a great cook and enjoys delicious food and sweets, especially the sugar soaked jalebi.
Farzana was born in Nizamabad and settled in Hyderabad later. She has been working with Access foundation since 2018 and is very happy to be part of the group. Farzana is also one of the ladies who joined the Jyoti x Access Collaboration Team right from the beginning in 2021. Her team says that Farzana fulfills all tasks from cutting, to stitching, to ironing very neatly. She has three children and likes travelling a lot.
Shabaana is originally from Gulbarga - not far from our first site in Chittapur - and settled in Hyderabad when she got married. She is an eager seamstress and strongly supported by her husband working at Access Foundation for the last 3 years. In 2021 she joined the Jyoti stitching group together with the other three women. She has three children and when she is not working she loves spending time with them and her greater family.
The German team is located in a co-working space in Neukölln, Berlin, that is if they are not in Chittapur to introduce new cuts or travelling along their supply chain in India. Here in Berlin, we calculate, plan, pack, design, think and also laugh a lot.
Jeanine is founder, CEO and communication hub between our teams in India and Germany. It is exactly this personal exchange and the deriving inspiration that she loves about her job at Jyoti. Due to her background in the field of labour law and unionisation, she is not only interested in the steady improvement of our own production, but constantly searches for approaches addressing the general problems of the Fast Fashion Industry. Herein she loves to share her experiences through offering workshops and talks - for pre-school classes, at universities or on public events.
Mareike is the newest member of the Jyoti-Team. She studied Fashion Design in the Netherlands and since October 2017 she is making the patterns and samples for Jyoti. One of the most important things to her is the prevention or reduction of cutting waste. She loves playing with geometric pattern pieces like with a jigsaw puzzle, to make more sustainable cuts and designs possible. At the moment she also replaces Jeanine during her maternity leave and runs the business in Berlin together with Carolin.
Jasmin got to know Jeanine and Jyoti in 2014, when she offered to help with the pattern for a wedding dress and they travelled to Chittapur together. Later she designed pieces for the first Jyoti collection and since then Jasmin regularly makes patterns and samples for Jyoti. Due to her earlier experience as a wardrobe director at the theater she furthermore consults the team in terms of workshop processes, machines and quality management. For her Jyoti is a matter of the heart and she especially enjoys the combination of sustainability and wonderful people to work with.
Caro joined the team in 2014 and is second CEO. She spends a lot of time on the trails of our textile value chain in India and is responsible for the permanent communication with the weavers and cooperatives. Thereby throughout the years a countless number of teas, lost nerves and reconciliations created very special friendships, which (amongst other things) make working at Jyoti such a personal concern for her. In addition, Caro takes care of the online presence, keeps the overview about incoming orders and own sales and plans the program for both stitching workshops accordingly.
Christian and Jeanine built castles from mattresses and tree houses together as kids. Since he became part of the German team in the beginning of 2014, Christian has helped to build up Jyoti Fair Works, taking care of the technological side of things. He develops and oversees the engineering of our online shop. He also develops in his main profession as a scientist, but in the field of laser beam welding.
And besides these there are some very important persons without we would never have come that far and would certainly give up soon...
Beate & Martha from morgen. communication design
Through our work here in Germany and especially in India, a lot of traveling, and the exchange with numerous active and motivated people in the field of fair and handmade textiles, we had the chance to get to know impressive individuals, ideas and organizations over the time. Many of them have a very similar vision as Jyoti and produce socially and ecologically sustainable products. Products that we ourselves find very beautiful - the design, as well as their stories - and that complement our Jyoti collections perfectly. Of course we don’t want to withhold them from you.
That is why we have started to cooperate with some of these artisans and developed ideas and designs together. The products we are talking about are all results of different handicrafts, on which we have not specialized in our own value chain, such as knitting, crocheting or jewelry making. Like this we could enrich our collections not only with different craft skills, but also with new materials, as brass and silver for jewelry or alpaca wool for warm winter pieces.
In the following we want to introduce our partners to you one by one. We want to tell their stories and visions. Some of them might be familiar to you already from our network of fabric suppliers. You can find all products from our Jyoti x Friends collection here.
Perelin is a small jewelry and textile label from Berlin, which aims to tell the stories of their products, just as we do. They are focused on products from the Himalaya region and thus established a lot of tight bonds to artisans in Nepal and North India. In that way they have introduced the Mahwani family in Puskhar, in the Indian state Rajasthan, to us.
In Rajasthan jewelry is made for centuries and the state’s capital Jaipur is still known as the centre for gems, gold and silver jewelry. In recent times also brass, as a beautiful, gold gleaming but at the same time affordable material, found its way into the North Indian workshops.
The Mahwani family works in jewelry manufacturing in the third generation now and creates unique artwork in Rajasthani style. As jewellry became an indispensable part of our collections and thanks to your demand our orders for the Mahwani family got bigger and bigger, they meanwhile produce rings, earrings, bangles and necklaces in our own Jyoti design. Those are mostly much more simple and clean as the typical Rajasthani jewelry - but you will certainly notice a slight influence of the playful patterns and details. You can have a look at our current pieces from this collaboration.
Paces Crafts meanwhile is one of our long-time partners. The NGO which is located in Ranchi in the East-Indian state Jharkand is providing training and employment to underprivileged women. In their workplace they produce fair, handmade textiles. The organization wants to create a (professional) perspective for women, which are - due to a lack of job opportunities in the rural areas - often forced to emigrate to the big cities, where they end up in situations of abuse or extreme poverty.
In Jharkhand thousands of girls are trafficked each year. By paying their employees fair wages Paces Crafts hopes to enable future generations the chance for improved education and livelihood. Additionally the initiative invests all profits made in social projects that protect vulnerable children in need.
For years we were purchasing very special, soft, organic cotton fabrics from Paces Crafts. Next to those we have discovered a bunch of incredibly beautiful accessories, such as crocheted headbands, woven scarfs as well as blankets and pillowcases made from recycled fabrics and included some of them in our collections.
Solid Crafts is a Belgian NGO. They aim to provide well paid jobs to women in Peru, India and Kenya, as well as advanced training and social programs.
For some years now we have worked together with the Indian branch of Solid (Paces Crafts - as the name already indicates, those two belong together) and are very happy to also support their efforts in Peru now, where Solid produced beautiful, knitted products from alpaca wool.
Solid’s workshop, which is certified by the World Fair Trade Organization lies in the highlands of Ayacucho, where many women - as in the rest of Peru - traditionally have learned the arts of embroidery, crocheting and knitting. Solid supports those women with the necessary professional support and offers a fair payment for their work. The organization links the artisans and their products to customers all over the world and hereby meanwhile managed to provide decent work for over 200 knitting ladies of all ages. The profits resulting from their commercial activities are directly injected in a social organization in Ayacucho that focuses on independence and empowerment of girls in situations of risk, mainly teenage mothers.
In Sarli, which is located close to Bhuj within the region Kutch, we have been working together with Kanti and his family since 2015. Kanti is part of a local cooperation of other weaving families from the village and we fell in love with their traditional way of working, the familiar setting and their gorgeous soft cloth.
Originally, the weavers in Kutch tended to work much more with wool than with cotton. Every weaver was personally linked to a Rabari family who would supply yarn from sheep and goat wool. Nowadays, animal husbandry is still very common within the area and the whole wool is derived from locally reared sheep.
Kanti’s family has a small store in Sarli, in which they sell exclusively scarfs. Ranging from gentle, thin shawls, perfectly suitable to protect you from the hot Indian sun, to thick, large-sized woolen scarfs in all different colors and weaving patterns. As this craft is actually the one the family is mastering and we are thrilled by the abundance of pattern and materials, meanwhile few of these woolen scarfs and patterned blankets are part of our collection as well.
Jungle Folk is a swiss community and fair fashion brand that desires to create social change through business, not aid. Producing in Peru and Portugal, they work directly with all their partners and producers in order to create long lasting change by investing in people.
Jungle Folk develops timeless pieces with high quality finishing to bring wardrobe favourites to their clients. They only work with organic, certified, or recycled materials that last and have a positive environmental footprint. They dream of a world where physical and practical needs stand above materialistic desires.
Together with Jungle Folk we have designed our first capsule collection. It combines pieces made in our partnering workshop in Chittpur and from beautiful Indian handwoven fabrics, with warm and cozy baby-alpaca, knitted by artisans in Peru.