Travels to Nepal

The Red Sari launches tour groups for retail partners and a new line of holiday ornaments

For the past five years, Julie West, owner and designer of The Red Sari, has followed a mission to preserve handcraft processes that marry traditional, culture-based techniques with 21st century design. West also strives to create “green” saris that re-use textiles in the most gorgeous ways.  

The Red Sari’s most popular collection consists of scarves created from delicate pieces of repurposed silk saris which are needle-felted by hand with wool fibers. West’s innovative recycling results in standout accessories that can go with you to the grocery store or to an fancy evening out.

In late 2013, West launched an ambitious new project: Red Sari Tours. During 10 to 14 day trips to Nepal, retail partners and buyers visited production groups for Red Sari products, Fair Trade Group Nepal members and other Nepalese artisan groups. “These buyers understand the current market for authentic, artisanal products made in a sustainable way and want to connect more deeply with the artists and their stories. This allows them to share these stories with their retail customers when they return to their stores in the U.S.,” explained West. 

The group visited several enterprises the company works with including a women's felting group, a Himalayan paper factory and Women's Skills Development Organization in Pokhara, Nepal, which makes hand-loomed cotton handbags and home accessories. “A highlight of the trip was a visit to one of READ Nepal's Community Learning Centers where women's self-help groups meet for training, organizing and support. Profits from the sale of The Red Sari designs support women's programs at these libraries,” West added.

During West’s most recent trip, she and her team created a line of holiday decorations including ornaments, wreaths, bright and colorful felt angel ornaments and garlands. These popular items will debut at Artisan Resource at NY NOW™ from February 1-4, 2014. 

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