Greenwear provides forward linkages and value addition to the cotton & silk yarns produced by rural women using Solar Charkhas (Compact spinning ring frame installed at household level which runs on solar energy) that can produce four times more yarn than a manual new model charkha. The drudgery involved is significantly lesser than the manual charkhas and the women who operate the Solar Charkha can carry on their domestic activities while spinning work goes on.
Greenwear was established in March 2019 with a close association with Bhartiya Harit Khadi Gramodaya Sansthan – a KVIC certified society which implemented the pilot project for Ministry of MSME’s flagship scheme known as “Mission Solar Charkha”. A dedicated ‘Solar Vastra Cell’ has been formed by KVIC to take care of this scheme. Greenwear plays the role of procuring the yarns by women trained and facilitated by the society and manufactures fabric and garments, thereby creating a regular source of income for women, weavers and other artisans. Greenwear’s jobholders are spread across following 4 activities:-
- Spinning: A rural woman can produce 1 kg cotton yarn in 8 hours and gets paid Rs. 200/- per kg as job work charge. One woman can easily operate two solar charkhas together. Hence, each woman is empowered to earn Rs. 6000/- to 12000/- per month. Greenwear procures these yarns from Bhartiya Harit Khadi Gramodaya Sansthan and use that for further value additions. At present, Greenwear is the sole buyer of this yarn and only company which is dealing with solar charkha yarn at scale in India. In one year Greenwear has procured 49500 kgs yarn produced by 590 rural women from Nawada (Bihar) and Varanasi (UP).
- Weaving: Greenwear distributes the solar charkha yarns to various traditional textile clusters e.g. Gaya (Bihar), Bhagalpur (Bihar), Varanasi (UP), Bijnor (UP) and Barabanki (UP) where it is woven by traditional weavers into fabrics. For plain weaving, Greenwear assigns Solar Looms and for crafted weaving, it engages handlooms. At present, weaving is also done in form of job work for Bhartiya Harit Khadi Gramodaya Sansthan as mainstream fashion brands like W and Aurelia (TCNS Clothing Co Ltd) procures Solar Vastra from the society. In one year, Greenwear has produced around 2.25 lakh meters of fabric engaging 370 weaving artisans spread across three clusters. These artisans earn average monthly income of Rs. 9000/- and learning to get familiar with Solar Sets.
- Tailoring: Greenwear has its own garment manufacturing unit in Safedabad (Barabanki, UP) where it creates garments for its own retail store and school uniforms along with Job work for W and Aurelia brands. Currently Greenwear has a manufacturing capacity to provide jobs to at least 171 people with average earning of Rs. 10000/- per month. In one year, Greenwear stitched 90,000 sets of school uniforms and 10,000 units of designer garments.
- Value Addition: Greenwear is also engaged in research and development of a range of organically dyed Solar Vastra and exploring opportunities of traditional surface ornamentation techniques on these. At present it is working with Lucknow chikan craft artisans. With indigenous ways of clothing value additions, Greenwear is working with cluster specific traditional designs which will become part of its own retail store hence, providing livelihood to traditional artisans and reviving some languishing crafts.
Greenwear has a mission to create 5000 jobs for women in rural India by 2025 and right now working with 1180 jobholders in the state of UP and Bihar. The jobholders engaged currently have valued the income and that the flexibility in working hours allows them to manage household obligations. Our observation indicates a reasonable likelihood that they were just above the extreme poverty line before getting engaged with Solar Charkha spinning and allied activities.
Greenwear also aims to reduce the pollution and carbon footprint caused by the textile industry. It believes that it can be achieved through decentralisation of textile value chain and migrating towards renewable energy resources to generate power for household based machineries. If only 5% of Indian villages become solar charkha clusters (around 30,000), it can produce 180 Cr kgs cotton yarn which is almost 50% of India’s current cotton yarn capacity and generate livelihood for 1.2 Cr people without migrating from their villages.