handcrafted In INDIA
Our sleepwear radiates positive energy thanks to the materials they’re made from and the process that shapes them. Reviving traditional handcrafts through modern design, Patricia Schmidt is a fashion label whose products you can feel good about wearing and gifting: our clothes and accessories are made sustainably with the help and know-how of people whose jobs are dying out due to industrialised and fast fashion. These skilled craftsmen makeup the wonderful people across different parts of India that collaborate to make Patricia Schmidt’s bespoke sleepwear come to life.
Materials from Assam meet the Manufacturing Techniques of Bharuch and Mumbai
MATERIALS: ERI SILK & NATURAL DYES
Eri silk, the primary material for our sleepwear, dream masks and accessories, is known as the fabric of peace, and is a perfect embodiment of the values of our label. A domesticated silkworm, the eri silkworm produces an “open-mouthed” cocoon, which allows the moth to escape unhindered once it has gone through metamorphosis, unlike other silks that require the moth be killed in order to extract the fibre. The moths are then paired to produce new larvae, which in turn become silkworm, thus creating a natural, sustainable cycle.
The result is a silk that has a lovely uneven texture, and which is stronger, more durable and elastic than other types of silk. Its unique properties makes it cooling in the summer and warming in the winter so that it is suitable all year round. Because its heavier than other silks, it also doesn’t crinkle––a dream for items meant to be bunched up between sheets. Lastly, the integrity of the eri silk is maintained using natural dyes.
Our eri silk is sourced from Assam in the North East of India, from a community that is fighting to support women empowerment and ecological sustainability. In a part of the world where financial opportunities rely heavily on deforestation, this community is promoting non-forest based opportunities in their villages. Farming and producing eri silk is one way by which villages can create opportunities by integrating their traditional knowledge and craftsmanship into the global ethical fashion market. Creating a market for this expertise, one that is primarily female, helps create financial independence for women and promotes the sustainable use of natural resources, helping conserve the rich biodiversity of the area.
Process: Sujni of Bharuch
The handcraft used to make our sleepwear and accessories comes from the city of Bharuch in Western India. It is a 150-year-old weaving technique that was traditionally used to make the famous Bharuch Sujni, a beautiful handmade quilt. Today, there are only three surviving families able to keep this highly complicated skill alive.
What makes our designs one-of-a-kind is that we employ the traditional weaving technique of the Bharuch Sujni on eri silk from Assam, cross-pollinating different parts and traditions of India to create unique, modern and dreamy pieces.
The complex weaving mechanism of the centuries-old loom used for the Sujni method gives the fabric its signature padded look. This is achieved when two layers of fabric are interwoven, creating little pockets. For accessories such as blankets and pillows, these pockets are filled to give the fabric more volume. Since all the stitches that create these pockets are made using the loom rather than by hand or machine, the fabric is especially resilient: if one pocket gets damaged, the others will remain unaffected. Another wonderful attribute of the Sujni method is the harmonious look it gives the fabric, which becomes identical from both sides. Layering is therefore unnecessary for our sleepwear or blankets. For our sleepwear, we also leave the pockets unfilled, which gives the fabric a beautiful and unique texture.
As industrial weaving is driving this wonderful craft to extinction, Patricia Schmidt is proud to incorporate it into her manufacturing process.