• Shivani Gupta

Creating Social Impact with Artisanal Luxury Masks

How Hope Sews masks go above and beyond.

Behind every Hope Sews mask is a nod to traditional craftsmanship, ethical production, and women's empowerment. How does this all work? Unlike other masks, Hope Sews masks fuel a global empowerment thread, weaving together women in India, Ghana, and anyone who shops Hope Sews.

The empowerment thread ties together

1. Rich, authentic Indian fabrics

2. Ethical production and skill-building for women tailors in India

3. Financial support for seamstresses in Ghana

Let's slowly un-mask all three layers of the empowerment thread.

First Layer:

It all starts with the fabric—and the story behind each. First up—our "Threaded Vintage Oval Masks" —are repurposed chanderi sarees. Chanderi sarees are known for their light-weight cotton and sheer transparency, including embellishments in silk or zari. Chanderi sarees, also referred to as "woven air," feature traditional motifs: flowers, lotuses, peacocks, and geometric patterns. Each of its thousands of high-quality fibers, a blend of pure cotton and silk, are handwoven on looms following an ancient practice tracing back to the 13th century. Chanderi weaving is a protected handicraft that still sustains thousands of artisans and weaving communities.

Hand Printing Technique Design of Block Printing

Next, our "Blocks of Love Bandana" features Bagh printing, a traditional form of hand-block printing, or thappa chippai, from the Bagh District in Madhya Pradesh, India. This art form, now desired by designers and global customers alike, has been inherited by communities with geographic roots in Pakistan, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh. All dyes are made using natural products— fruits, flowers, and minerals—and are traditionally red and black in color. Using wood-carved blocks, the dyes are transferred onto off-white cotton or silk fabrics over a time and labor-intensive process. Fabrics are repetitively washed, dried, dyed, printed on, and boiled and tossed to mitigate color-bleeding.

Lastly, our four silk masks—Lavender Fields, Honeygold Silk, Rouge Silk, and Gemini Black—spotlight the richly woven, carefully detailed, luxury silks of India. The silky soft, metallic exterior of these masks elevates any outfit. The fabric's pale lavender color meets a textured pleated style cut.

Due to fast fashion dominance in the industry, all of these art forms are in risk of extinction—taking with them years of traditional knowledge passed down across family lineages. Hope Sews masks repurpose these textiles into a modern safeguard: fashionable and functional masks, thereby celebrating these rich art forms and bringing them to a global audience.

Second Layer:

Hope Sews founder & Master G Team in Delhi, India

For our mask collection, Hope Sews worked with impact-driven production studios in India that invest in garment creators. For our "Threaded Vintage Cotton Mask" and our "Blocks of Love Bandana," we partnered with Master G, an ethical, all-women factory with a skill-building program designed for low-income women in Delhi, India.

Over centuries of industrialization and colonialism, the Indian garment industry has had but one constant fixture: a master-ji, or a male tailor. The idea of a female tailor is incomprehensible to many. Patriarchal norms, restricting women's participation beyond the home, often bar women from acquiring trade knowledge. Master G, a play on master-ji, puts the production power back in the hands of women, proving that women can also become successful tailors.

Master G trains low-income, socially marginalized women in India to complete a 1-year garment design and pattern-making program. Over 4 years of operations, Master G has trained 420 women, with 90%