Amey Alshi and his partner Amit Jain were inspired to start a brand that focuses on preserving the traditional work of Indian craftsmen and artisans after seeing the October 2015 “Fabric of India” exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. After spending ample time doing research in North India and learning about indigenous art forms and the artisans who were trying to keep these methods alive, Amey and Amit realized quickly that the artisans were struggling to make ends meet and didn’t have a way to monetize their talents through conventional means. It was here that Funky Kalakar was born.
Today, Funky Kalakar has a small hop in Notting Hill, where they partner with 5 other sustainable and ethical brands. Funky Kalakar creates leather accessories, bags, shoes, and games, which are all created by women and other male artisans in various villages across India. This set up allows the women to become self-sufficient and empowers them by providing a platform where they can actually become successful businesswomen. In addition, some of the cobblers the organization works with have been able to provide for their families due to increased work provided by the Funky Kalakar team. What’s even cooler is that all the products are made using vegetable dyes and medicinal herbs, which can even help cure medical ailments such as allergies. The chess set that the organization sells utilizes upcycling practices, as all the pieces are made from old scraps from the garment manufacturing process.
At Seams For Dreams, we applaud the Funky Kalakar team and all their efforts to empower artisans in India! We are looking forward to hearing about more about FK’s work in the future!