French luxury conglomerate, Kering will be opening an embroidery atelier in India to incorporate a sizeable part of the embroidery work handmade in India by some of its sub-contractors.
The move marks the luxury group’s commitment to sustainability, whose portfolio includes among others Gucci, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Bottega Veneta. The aim of the new atelier is to cater to the growing needs of Kering’s labels, increase the group’s expertise in the field of embroidery and also improve working conditions among Indian craftsman.
In an internal memo, Kering stated: “India is a centre of excellence for handmade embroidery, with an age-old tradition in this technique and scores of highly qualified craftsmen. The majority of the world’s luxury labels rely on Indian expertise for handmade embroidery.” The luxury group further highlighted how this activity is currently controlled “by exporters with links to small local sub-contractors,” whose “working conditions are very poor, especially owing to low wages and inadequate health and safety policies.”
A number of luxury fashion groups have made similar efforts, however according to Kering, progress has been significant but too slow and as a result the company has decided to take more strategic action. Kering did not disclose any further details about the project, its location or the people involved. Although the business said it wants to set up its own operations in India, in order to “better control working conditions, wages, health and safety.”
“We do not aim to cover 100% of the handmade embroidery work required by the group’s labels, but rather to acquire first-hand, practical knowledge of this activity – both commercially and technically – so as to be able to collaborate more effectively with external suppliers, especially in terms of working conditions, wages, prices and contractual obligations.”
Kering has reached 88% of traceability for “key” raw materials and aims to increase the share to 100% by 2025. The group has also lowered its environmental impact by 14% between 2015 and 2018.