The principles of feminism and gender equality are slowly but surely taking root in Indian society. What young Indians are learning is that one can endorse progressive views celebrating female empowerment in the simplest of ways, whether its liking a Facebook post outing a sexual harasser, retweeting images that say #FreeTheNipple, or owning a “Matriarchy Now!” product.
17-year-old Chiara Hardy created “Matriarchy Now!” after dealing with hardships of her own. She was homeschooled in Bali from 2003 to 2006 and lived there until 2011 when she moved to New York City, where everything changed. “The community of women and especially women of color who were fighting against the administration in her high school for days on end made a difference. They are the Matriarchy. We are the Matriarchy,” she writers on her website. So, Chiara decided to create a movement that would extend support to and stand in solidarity with those around her.
The company’s mission is empowerment through narratives and its Instagram account regularly posts photographs, illustrated quotes or artwork with feminist captions. But, Chiara’s activism doesn’t stop there–– her garments are manufactured in a factory in Tiruppur, a city in Tamil Nadu’s Kongu Nadu region. This city is a huge hub of textile and knit production, industries that naturally employ lakhs of people.
On her trip to the factory in Tiruppur making her designs, Chiara said on Instagram, “It has been so interesting to see every step, from weaving, to dying, patterning, cutting, adding elastic, and finally sewing, that goes into every piece. It has given me a greater appreciation for the work and detail that goes into every garment.” Chiara has also pledged to donate 10% of her company’s profits to local organisations attempting to do their part for societal equality. Her altruism even extends to sustainability. The organic cotton her garments are made with are sourced from farmers who believe in GMO-free practices.
Chiara tells Sebastian Matthew of Milk that she has big plans for her label. “Ultimately as the brand grows, I will create a grant program with a percentage of the profits that will be awarded to young entrepreneurs to help them get off their feet.” Matriarchy Now is teaching us that change can be sparked by just one person and built into a movement that spans across the world–– from New York City to Tiruppur.
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