A Thread Runs Through It

India textile giant Welspun practices philanthropy

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate to be granted a sneak preview at the new spring products being introduced by Welspun when I visited the company’s showroom in the Textile Building with a group of bloggers to talk about corporate social responsibility (CSR). I enjoyed meeting Malene B, the president and design director of Malene B Carpets; Jessica Sophia Wong, a lifestyle blogger and social influencer; and Lynn Byrne, an interior designer and blogger. And it was great to get to say hello to Robin Baron, an interior designer and the ASID NY president; and Patrick J. Hamilton, an interior designer and influential blogger.

SPUN, Threads with a Soul

We were there to discuss Welspun’s corporate social vision with the Managing Director of Global Brands Dipali Goenka. You can see my post about their humanitarian efforts on SH, the blog. The new products the company is releasing this month include the SPUN collection, which is handmade by women in Buhj living in such a conservative society that they are not allowed to travel to existing factories in India’s manufacturing centers in order to work. Welspun is bringing the jobs to the women by opening CSR centers in the villages so that they are able to work locally and provide a supplemental income to their families.

SPUN Thread Collection from Welspun

A sampling of the Spun Collection spring 2015 offerings.

The SPUN collection holds a vibrant array of one-of-a-kind textiles, including quilts, decorative pillows, bedding accessories and rag rugs. The collection’s personality stems from traditional crafts of India, which include block printing, local mirror work, Kantha embroidery and appliqué. Some of the products are made from Kala cotton, which is indigenous to Kachchh and is organic due to the fact that no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers are used and the crops are rain fed. The use of this cotton had all but died out until Welspun saw the positivity in bringing it back.

But these humanitarian and sustainable subjects are a mere bonus given how attractive the products are. One of the design notes I like so much about this collection is that it has a broad stylistic span that makes it fitting for nearly every room in the home, including both boy’s and girl’s rooms.

HygroSoft

HygroSoft towel set by Welspun

The HygroSoft towel set, a six-piece ensemble in glacier.

Considering that every seventh towel sold in America is a Welspun towel—offered by retailers from Macy’s and Walmart to J.C. Penney and Kohl’s—the company is widely known for these staples of the bath. But a new collection during textile market last month is bringing an even cushier touch to their offerings due to a new manufacturing technique they developed. Their HygroSoft towels, rugs and sheets have an enhanced softness that results from HygroCotton® technology, which makes he hollow core yarns made of 100% cotton “bloom” each time the products are washed to create a downier feel over time. I was given a towel set during my visit to the showroom and I can happily confirm the claim is true.

Amy Butler at Bed, Bath and Beyond

The Sari Bloom frame pillow

Amy Butler’s Sari Bloom Frame decorative pillow, designed for Welspun.

A new collaboration with American designer Amy Butler introduces two colorful new collections this spring called Sari Bloom and Kyoto, both of which are designed to be layered print-on-print, turning the focal point of the bedroom into a lively composition. The Sari Bloom Collection is an intermingling of pert turquoise, coral, sky blue and summery green hues, while the Kyoto Collection is awash in royal blues and olive green with hints of lighter blue and green, and touches of bright coral. These floral bedding and drapery ensembles, made of organic cotton, will be available beginning May 1st through the Welspun Comforts e-commerce site or through the Bed, Bath and Beyond portal.

Amy Butler's Kyoto pattern for Welspun

Amy Butler’s Kyoto PomPom decorative pillow, designed for Welspun.

I’ll leave you with a video about some of this company’s CSR initiatives (below) and end on this note: as I was listening to to Dipali the day I visited their showroom, I realized the textiles industry is the most “on the ball” where social responsibility is concerned because I’ve known about the initiatives that organizations like GoodWeave are doing before hearing about Welspun’s efforts. I asked her why she thinks this is the case, and she answered, “Where most factories in other sectors employ 1,000 people, textiles companies employ as many as 18,000 people so we must take it seriously due to the fact we can make so much more of an impact by the sheer numbers alone.” I salute this type of thinking and hope we will see more of it in the future. I commit to being one of the world’s #AgentsOfChange. Will you join me?

Text of A Thread Runs Through It © Saxon Henry, all rights reserved. Saxon Henry is an author, poet and journalist based in New York City. Books include Anywhere But Here and Stranded on the Road to Promise. Saxon is also the co-founder of Sharktooth Press. She also produces The Diary of an Improvateur and is a columnist on Architizer.