Insert needle into fabric, 1/2 an inch starting from the interior. Pull the thread through the fabric to stitch upwards, then direct the needle downwards. Adjust the stitch, locate the lever, and pull the thread. Monitor the tension levels, press the fabric, use the conveyor, roll and insert the bobbin. Choose a medium length stitch, align the fabric under the needle, and do it again, again and again. One more time.
It is an art,
but in art there is always controversy.
There are people who will pay fortunes, and then those who will pay cents, for the same piece. Help us do a quick exercise: imagine a white frame and canvas, with a blue circle in the middle. Now put a price on it.
How much would you pay to have it hanging in your living room? Now, go ahead and multiply that by 1,000 or even more. Turns out, that is the value of the piece. Only because its artist has a couple of works in the Louvre, sitting right next to the Mona Lisa.
The reality is that the true ‘value’ of this work of art no longer belongs to the piece itself, but instead to an emotional, social and cultural sentiment. Having that white canvas hanging in your living room positions you quite well within social ranks, or so we dare to think.
But back to the original art –that of the needle, the impactful original art that Alana truly appreciates... the strands of thread being interposed on one another, stitch after stitch, inherently creating meaningful impact and adding real value.
Rewind a couple years, maybe decades, and there we were, two children having to experience, first-hand, how our mothers, aunts and sisters would wake up to insert needles, pull threads and align fabric, all with no hope in sight.
So much effort. So much value. So many beautiful garments that disappeared into boxes, almost as quickly as the food that was stored in our refrigerators.
Hours in the day would vanish, orders would get bigger, fabric would run out, and seasons would fly by. The sacrifice, the effort: nowhere reflected. Change had to be made.
We understood, front and center, how difficult it was to get up every morning before the sun rose to dedicate hours, years of talent and effort to something that lacked the right support, the opportunity and the compensation. Something that only empowered shareholder pockets.
In our native Sri Lanka, there are millions of women working in these factories. Factories that manufacture garments for the world’s biggest fashion names [think of one, and they will likely have operations in the country]. Factories that shelter themselves with the right ‘branding’. And when we talk ‘branding’, we do not mean colors, seasons or outfits. The branding that we are talking about is the one in which they use slogans like “EMPOWER”, when in reality the only empowering taking place is that of owners. In fact, behind these names there is, many times, an operation that DEPOWERS opportunity, talent and growth.
But decades later
Remember the two children from the beginning? This is them now, minus the fancy corporate jobs and the realization that living what people like to call “the American dream” wasn’t enough [although enough for the pocket, not enough for the heart].
Hundreds of -job assignments, networking hours, learning opportunities, tough bosses- decisions later culminated into a spark of light.
Three founders, one dream.
Three founders. One pen, one paper and one dream. This time a dream big enough for the heart: the dream of doing something bigger than ourselves. The dream of creating [impact].
Countless of sleepless nights later, with ideas over ideas hammering into our heads, we finally found a way to educate, employ and empower women who are struggling to stay afloat day after day, women who most likely cannot even fathom a life filled with opportunity.
Each stitch with purpose
We brought together art, talent, passion, quality and transparency [in our business, NOT in our yoga pants] to create the world’s first social impact activewear, enabling change for women in need. Many of them, sexual abuse survivors in our native Sri Lanka.
To put this into perspective: 2 out of 3 women in Sri Lanka are victims of domestic violence, victims of sexual abuse. We are committed to being the helping hand for these women, humans like you and me.
We then gave each stitch a purpose, we gave each piece of cut-out fabric value. Our philosophy is true empowerment, to be the engine that transfers energy to those who truly need the boost, to those who were stripped from living a life filled with opportunities, just because.
Let’s talk literature
At the beginning, we talked about, the Louvre and the Mona Lisa, now it is only fair that we talk about the literature:
“Women empowerment is the process through which women acquire all types of tools and capabilities that enable them to assume a more prominent and active participation in society, both at a personal level, as well as political and economic.”
“Women empowerment consists of instilling greater self-confidence, security and power to make decisions, to solve problems, to be independent, to fix.”
Many of us do research about the definition of women empowerment, but the truth is that theory and facts are easy to read –the challenge starts when one decides to put things into practice.
One more quick exercise: How many companies use the word ‘EMPOWER’? How many of these companies TRULY EMPOWER? Right! That is what we are here to change.
How many companies realize that women have distinct curves? How many focus on promoting and bringing out the most important curve of them all: the smile? How many foster diversity, inclusion? How many? Not enough. The final count should be ALL.
Today, our message is to you, woman.
We are working for you to wake up every day with a dream, we are working to stripe you of responsibilities that, often times, aren’t your own, to take away the stereotypes you carry [because you were told to], and to give you a reason not to give up, because your smile can inspire a thousand more.
We do not want to just represent the core values of yoga or being active, but instead, of humanity as a whole, of right action, advocacy and ethical foundations.