This collaboration was such an organic blending of creative minds. We were looking to expand our product line into more homewares that were upcycled AND shift people from using single-use items. I started thinking about fabric napkins, somehow along the way they have been replaced with paper in many homes. We'd love to bring people back to the beauty of using cotton or linen napkins with patterns and colours and give you joy. It's not only sustainable, but it's just a better quality experience.
We have long admired the craftsmanship and vibrant patterns of the hand dyed fabrics from our friends at Osei-Duro. Inspired by the traditional Ghanian techniques, each garment they make is hand printed using a batik method, designed and produced in Accra, Ghana. The result is an array of socially conscious, uber cool clothing that imbibes a West African liveliness.
In chats with Maryanne, one of the Co-Founders of Osei-Duro, I asked her what she does with the offcuts of her fabrics. Osei-Duro has long been very attuned to the slow fashion movement and due to the specialized nature of the clothing they produce, they do not create a lot of waste. There are, however, always some oddly shaped, smaller pieces of fabric leftover from the cutting process that are put aside for future creative projects.
When we came to Osei-Duro with the idea of taking their offcuts and producing them into one-of-a-kind napkin collection they jumped on board. Not only could we save some fabric pieces, but we knew these would be truly beautiful addition to any home.
Osei-Duro sorted through their piles of fabric to send whatever was appropriate for our napkin collection. The result is an array of truly unique prints and one-of-a-kind limited edition napkins.
Now, we just needed a production house in Vancouver to sort, press and sew our napkins for us...
Part of our mission at Better Basics is to find ethical production partners for all of our products. Knowing this project was fairly small and simple, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to partner with social enterprise that supports people with barriers to employment.
Through some hunting, we were introduced to Jonnon. Operating out of the downtown eastside of Vancouver, Jonnon is a local social enterprise run by Azadeh, an expert with 40 years of experience in garment and textile manufacturing and production that she now lends to training and supporting people with barriers to employment. Jonnon is on a mission to make the fashion industry more inclusive.
Jonnon provides employment, in a flexible work environment, for people facing barriers to employment (i.e. newcomers, mothers and those who cannot work full-time for any reason). 100% of the production cost of these napkins go directly to these makers. With this intentional, resourceful production model, every napkin has supported the local Vancouver community.
With the partnership of Jonnon and Osei-Duro, we are able to launch this truly one-of-a-kind, sustainable napkin collection. The making of these napkins not only reduces consumption of paper napkins, but has given back to hardworking makers across the globe.