Every idea started with a problem. I started SukkhaCitta with the belief that everything we do has an impact - and that today, more than ever, there is an imperative to find a way that supports, rather than exploits, the humans who make our clothes and the Earth we live in. This means, from the very beginning, it has never been about having a fashion brand (the world does not need another brand and as an economist, I have no background in lifestyle fashion) but it has always been about a problem I want to solve.
Having worked in the development field, I saw first hand the challenges faced by last mile communities in Indonesia. Here, I learnt about the failure of aid in creating lasting change in rural communities. This desire to understand led me to travel and do my own research to see what's keeping these individuals trapped in poverty, leading my path to a whole new world of craft.
It turns out that in rural areas where poverty is rampant, craft is providing a viable opportunity for women in particular to pursue economic freedom while taking care of their children at home. In a country where education acts as a barrier for these last mile communities to enter formal employment, craft offers a livelihood option to nearly 30mn people living under poverty.
Yet, despite the rise of the creative industry, I was saddened to see how the reality is for these remarkable artisans. Invisible to the market, these marginalized artisans have to sell their work through many layers of middlemen before it reaches you, the customer. Often, what they receive does not reflect the value of their work, and an unjust equilibrium is perpetuated.
Suddenly, a simple act of buying a piece of fabric does not seem so simple anymore. There is an imperative to find a way that supports, rather than exploits, the humans behind our clothes.
With these insights, I knew something had to be done. Learning from the failures of previous development interventions, I decided to take on a different route. SukkhaCitta is my model for change, it is not a fashion brand. From the start, it is my intention for it to be a platform to address the gap that exist in the market, providing access to knowledge through direct capacity building and sustaining the impact through access to market.
Driven by the desire to create change in this informal industry, we decided to create our own standard, called #MadeRight, which means that each fabric provides a living wage, promotes environmentally sustainable practices, while sustaining culture through our modern reinterpretation of heritage. Simply, it is a promise from us to you and it is our mission to make this platform more accessible to more artisans.
So thank you, dear #MadeRight Tribe, for making our work possible. We are not perfect - and never will we claim to be - but every day, you inspire us to learn, to be better, because everything we do has an impact.