Welcome to the world of Full Circle, a new concept in ethically conscious design. My idea is to create products that are both inspired by – and directly support – special places and communities in the world.
The Full Circle concept does not simply raise awareness or give back as an act of charity. It inextricably links local livelihoods and inspired products to make the relationship deep, meaningful and sustainable.
For this campaign, I’m launching a collection of limited-edition scarves. Each scarf is designed to be a timeless accessory that will add sophistication, colour, style and warmth to your life.
My inspiration for these designs comes from the sights, sounds and smells of a wonderful place called Chettinad, in southern India. Chettinad is vibrant, has its own unique history, soaring architecture, inspiring arts and super spicy cuisine!
But the very arts that make Chettinad unique are under threat today as the traditional weavers and artisans face competition from mass-produced alternatives. Fortunately, organisations like M.RM.RM Cultural Foundation – who are my partner in this campaign – are pioneering a transformation in the lives of these rural artisanal communities by building a sustainable and direct route to market for their products.
Through the Full Circle concept, every scarf you buy comes packaged in a hand-woven Palmyra box specially created by the artisans of Chettinad, signed by the artisan who made it. This means you not only have an unforgettable, handmade, reusable case for your scarf but also a reminder that you have directly supported a dying art form.
The designs and their inspiration
Mosaic Kaavi Brown The beautiful mosaic tiles used in old Chettinad houses inspire this print. Many traditional patterns are driven by simple square repeats, which I have hidden behind elegant floral motifs in this version. “Kaavi” is the local name for the peculiar shade of the ubiquitous fired bricks, a result of the rich clay earth found in many parts of India.
Mosaic Kumkum Red A deceptively simple pattern dominated by the red that is seen on the dot on women’s foreheads in Chettinad, and elsewhere in India too. It reminds me of hot summer days and my mother who wears it on her forehead everyday.
Mosaic Lentil Yellow A warm and pleasing yellow inspired by the ‘toor’ lentil used in South Indian cuisine for dishes like Sāmbār or Rasam. I love to eat these spicy dishes with a bowl of Bāsmati rice. A different interpretation of the square mosaics, with a hot pink and red contrast.
Palmyra Dark Mauve The abundant palm leaves that will make the basket you receive are the inspiration for this scarf. The autumnal mauve I have chosen is reminiscent of long glittering evenings with the trees gently swaying in the breeze.
Spice Garden Green A design inspired by the spices of Chettinad: cumin, chilli, garlic, saffron, pepper, fennel, green cardamom, black cardamom, aniseed, fenugreek, cinnamon, bay leaf, star anise, clove, ginger and nutmeg. Each is drawn with loving care on a backdrop of beautiful garden green.
Bougainvillea Wistful Pink This flower, though not a native of India, is a favoured ornamental species and often found amongst the old mansions of Chettinad. The open design evokes chilly winter days, and the pink flower sits gracefully on a cream background.
Bougainvillea Chilli Red This is bouganvillea re-imagined in the colours of the Indian summer and the hot dried red chilli favoured throughout Chettinad. This scarf is designed to brighten your day, and remind you of the warm summer days to come.
Mosaic Rose Pink It is amazing how motifs and patterns are transformed by a shift in scale! The delicate line work I’ve used here allows the peculiar rose-pastel pink found in the interiors of some Chettinad houses, to really shine against the contrasting hues of blues and greens.
I began working on this idea a year ago, when I was inspired by a visit to Chettinad, a region of South India. Having experienced first-hand their fiery traditional cuisine, seen their unique basket weaving, hand-made mosaic arts and crafts, I was deeply inspired to dedicate my next project to them. This idea morphed into a collection of limited edition scarves packaged beautifully in traditional woven boxes.
I’ve been designing scarves – amongst other products such as tote bags, keepsake boxes and stationery for over 3 years now. I perfected the material palette through rigorous prototyping and arrived at crepe silk and a specially woven cashmere-modal, as the fabrics that best carry my intricate linework whilst providing excellent warmth and comfort. A number of my customers, family and friends – “my super critical testers” have given them a resounding thumbs up for design, quality, warmth and durability.
As I went on this journey I knew it would be complete only if I were to connect the product seamlessly back to its inspiration in some way. In this journey I found the M.RM.RM Cultural Foundation who provide training and support to local women artisans in Chettinad. In addition, they provide a direct route to market for their products through brick-and-mortar stores, as many of these women are the sole breadwinners for their family.
Full Circle is the first online-only project M.RM.RM Cultural Foundation have become involved with. Working with them, I am able to directly give back to the heart of my inspiration by adding value to my Chettinad inspired scarves. Each scarf is packaged in a beautiful box, handmade by a woman artisan of Chettinad using locally sourced Palmyra leaves. Working with them, I am directly able to give back to the heart of my inspiration by adding value to my Chettinad inspired scarves.
The Full Circle journey so far has been an amazing experience: new fabrics, new designs and new partners helping to support a worthy cause – all it now needs is your support to make it a reality.
Risks and challenges
Our scarves, in both materials, have been in print since 2014. We have spent hundreds of hours working on, analysing, and fine-tuning the production process. That being said, we have suppliers that need to deliver on the agreed time schedule in order for you to get your rewards by the set date.
While the scarves are printed by machines, the baskets are not! The palmyra baskets are handcrafted using locally sourced palmyra leaves. As a result there will be subtle variations in colour, texture and finish, which are the signature of the human hand.
Although we do not foresee any hold ups, if there are any delays in production we will contact you right away with an updated completion date!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)