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The Hands Who Make

Image: Common Good, Kolkata

Four years ago, we stumbled across Freeset. This came about through our search for the blank canvas from which we would develop our range - the organic cotton t-shirts that have since showcased the artwork of many guest artists. 

Many of us don't think about who made the clothes on our backs, or the effects our purchases make. Sadly, much of our clothing in the Western World is made by people who are over-worked and severely underpaid. Some, however, supports projects, communities and the empowerment of the hands who made them. Freeset is one of the good guys.

Freeset, India

Image: Freeset, Kolkata

Freeset was established in 1999 when Kiwis, Kerry & Annie Hilton moved with their four kids to Kolkata, India. Their goal was to work with their neighbours, whoever they might be. When they signed up for an apartment in daylight, the Hilton's were surprised to discover that they had unknowingly moved into one of Asia’s largest red-light areas, Sonagachi. They wanted to make a difference to the women around them - to build a business for freedom. Through founding Freeset, Kerry & Annie have provided fair and supported employment to women from communities marked by extreme hardship, poverty and vulnerability. 

Our customers (you!) have helped us to support Freeset over the last four years and recently, we sat down to work out exactly what that has meant for the women who make our shirts. As at November 30th, 2017, we have purchased 8910 tshirts. This equates to a total of 1414 days of employment for the women of Freeset. Based on 5 day work week, this equates to 5.9 years of employment for one woman. We think that's pretty neat! Thank you for your support over the last four years. We wouldn't be here without you.

Kolkata, Freeset

Through our work with Freeset, we met the wonderful Ant, Jared & Jeff who now form a business called Common Good. These guys seek to make good a little more common in another Indian neighbourhood. They are working with us to produce our new t-shirt shapes, helping more people in the process. Watch the space for our new t-shirt cuts, fresh from Common Good.

Once the t-shirt art has been screen-printed in our garage, our t-shirts go out to meet the world. Every new t-shirt artwork is specifically commissioned to pair with a social or conservation based ‘Cause’ for which we help raise awareness and funds. We work with a number of talented artists to create high-quality products which each have stories of their own. More on this? Check out the Cause Phenomenon.

The Paper Rain Project, Freeset, Fair Trade, Organic

Image: Jo Currie Photography

Where else can I support fair trade? New Zealand has a growing number of brands that help to support fair trade - we love Kowtow, Little Yellow Bird, The Loyal Workshop and OKI for all (kids).

We head to India to meet these wonderful women - & the team from The Loyal Workshop - in February/March 2018.

Freeset, IndiaImage: Freeset, Kolkata

The Loyal Workshop, Freeset & The Paper Rain Project

Image: Jake Thomas Photography (including Freeset sewn Paper Rain tees & The Loyal Workshop fair trade satchels)

Common Good, Fair Trade Organic, New Zealand Clothing

 Image: Common Good

Cause, Social Enterprise, Fair Trade Organic T-shirts from The Paper Rain ProjectImage: Jo Currie Photography (featuring designs from our Cause Range)