Step into the plush, air-conditioned confines of Camessi’s factory in Udaipur, and you will see an army of rural women, using their agile fingers to create something wonderful.
In the wake of the Make in India week held in Mumbai, the obvious questions were raised — how would all this translate into reality? In the recent past, there have been a number of lifestyle and fashion initiatives to ‘make in India’. For instance, a number of A-list designers have pledged their commitment to using indigenous textiles, while others have designed couture collections in collaboration with village weavers. In that very same vein, I recently discovered a homegrown luxury brand, which really does embody the ‘Make in India’ adage.
The brand in question is Camessi, whose ultra-niche offering of bespoke shirts and trousers has found favour in some of India’s wealthiest gents. I discovered an interesting story behind Camessi — a band of rural women, working tirelessly to ensure some of India’s finest shirts and trousers. Unusual suspects, you would imagine, to steer a luxury brand to success. This led me to an interesting conversation with the owners of the brand, Mr. Shroff and his two sons, Rahul and Ameya.
Step into the plush, air-conditioned confines of Camessi’s factory in Udaipur, and you will see an army of rural women, using their agile fingers to create something wonderful. “We are committed to empowering the women in this village,” Rahul Shroff tells me. “Our female employees are usually the wives, daughters and sisters of the male employees in another factory that we have.”
Ameya steps in to explain, “We are very clear about one thing — we employ women who have never sewn before. We teach them a skill, thus creating a community of women who are empowered and who have a new vocation. Each woman undergoes a training of 8 to 12 months, before coming close to the fabrics, which come from the likes of Loro Piana, Carlo Barbera and Zegna.”
Once employed, these women enjoy benefits like provident fund, gratuity and maternity leave. The most important thing is that they are financially independent, bank accounts et al. “These women now have a say in their family matters,” adds Ameya. “It’s a small community doing big things.”
“In the wake of the Make in India week, everyone is talking about trillions of dollars in investment. But how this trickles down to the common man and makes a difference in people’s life remains to be seen,” he adds.
Though Camessi’s vision is global and the outlook is international, but it remains truly Indian – and local – at heart. See all the photos and watch the video that perfectly encapsulates the essence and Indian identity of the brand.
“We are committed to empowering the women in this village,” says Rahul Shroff.
“These women now have a say in their family matters,” adds Ameya. “It’s a small community doing big things.”
Once employed, these women enjoy benefits like provident fund, gratuity and maternity leave.
Riaan J. George is one of India's top men's fashion and luxury bloggers. He is also a senior luxury journalist, contributing to leading publications. Follow him on Instagram @urbaneyebyrg and Twitter @riaangeorge.