BEHNO - HIGH FASHION WITH A CONSCIENCE
Posted on August 11 2017
Whenever we see a fashion brand combining exquisitely made garments with a passion for social change, we immediately want to work out a deal so we can offer their items to our members. behno is the perfect example of those ideals. In addition to being a celebrity favorite and having clean modern classic design, they have created a strict set of principles to abide by during the manufacturing process. And they strive to redefine and bring awareness to the enormous skill and talent of craftspeople in India.
During a trip to India in 2012, Shivam Punjya, behno's founder, was in India to complete his research on women's health when his visit took a turn. He discovered some of India's most beautiful hand made textiles and the women who created the pieces. After learning up to 90% of India's garment factories are staffed with women, many who are making less than a dollar a day to produce beautiful handwoven fabrics, he vowed to make a difference.
The April 24th, 2013 collapse of a major garment factory in neighboring Bangladesh further cemented his resolve. When the full details of the incident were revealed; 1100 garment workers were killed, many of them women. Not wanting to have a repeat incident in India, he created the behno brand.
From the behno website:
behno has partnered with a large nonprofit in India to create and build a new model of a garment factory in rural Gujarat. The factory will revolutionize the way garment workers are treated, viewed and employed. Along with adhering to international factory standards, the factory will strive to empower female garment workers by executing “The behno Standard”. The behno Standard focuses on ethical garmenting by implementing various programming, ranging from fair wages to garment worker health to eco-consciousness. behno is committed to raising awareness to the craft and character of “made in India” by also working with other factories in India that focus on high-quality, luxurious and tailored production whilst providing its garment workers with empowering and safe working conditions.
GARMENT WORKER PROJECT
The Garment Worker Project, which debuted in July 2016 at Sotheby's in New York City, focuses on MSA Ethos, a garment factory in rural Gujarat, India. Created out of a collaboration between nonprofit organization Muni Seva Ashram (MSA), veterans of the garment industry, and supporters behind behno, MSA Ethos implements “The behno Standard”.
The factory was set up to be an ethical workplace implementing the “The behno Standard” which aims to revolutionize the way garment workers are viewed, employed and treated by incrementally implementing a variety of social programs.
behno’s founder, Shivam Punjya, invited fashion photographer Dan Smith and documentary filmmaker Kent Mathews to MSA Ethos to explore the less visible side of fashion. Smith captured the unique individuals of MSA Ethos through an emotional series of intimate portraits while Mathews documented their personal stories and the unique infrastructure of the factory through documentary film.
Ultimately, the project aims to demonstrate that garment workers are not a commodity and that garment production in the multibillion-dollar fashion industry does not need to be based on the exploitation of labor.