Women artisans in India are making a livelihood for themselves with individual handmade items thanks to a social partnership with IKEA. Designer Sarah Fager explains why this unusual cooperation is rewarding for her too and how it gave rise to the new KRYDDAD collection.
“The thing I really love about this partnership is that we’re able to help bring about positive change in people’s lives,” explains Fager, who has designed for IKEA for a decade now. The company has been supporting selected local businesses around the world with its “Social Entrepreneurs Initiative” since 2012, including social enterprises in India that employ women from rural areas. As part of this initiative, the KRYDDAD collection is now bringing handmade Indian items onto the Swiss market.
Sharing ideas locally
The furniture designer developed the KRYDDAD collection together with artisans from the social enterprises Rangsutra and Industree Producer Transform. The partnership with IKEA gives the businesses access to the global market, allowing them to expand their activities and, ultimately, to drive social change. This enables them to guarantee a regular income and stable livelihood for the women artisans they employ. The project is a very special undertaking for Fager too: by directly engaging with the Indian craftswomen in their local setting, she was not only able to share her own experiences but also to learn from them.
“They have some very unique skills and have mastered a craft of their own, which is something we want to encourage further.” As an IKEA designer, Fager is used to developing models for the mass market, having already designed an astonishing 200 products for the company in all. “That’s why I’m so inspired by creating things that are only intended for small-scale production,” she explains. The designer came up with a range based on various shades of grey, ultimately bringing to life the KRYDDAD collection, which weaves together her own ideas with the craftswomen’s unique expertise.
Opening up new prospects
Fager’s passion for natural fabrics is the perfect fit for the collection, which thus includes a selection of products that each embody India’s sunny soul, whether it’s cushion covers, bags or bowls made from braided banana fibres. “It was a fantastic experience for me to work in a country like India and to get to know the people personally,” concludes Fager enthusiastically. The fact that she is also able to open up new prospects for the women of India brings her real joy: “It means I can help these people towards a brighter future. The only way out of poverty is to be armed with a decent job and I’m really proud to be a part of this project.”
Does Indian spirit sound good to you? KYRDDAD is available from all IKEA stores.