THE SUMMER HOUSE: ARTISAN-LED, CIRCULAR WOMENSWEAR
Updated: Apr 29
What they make: Tops, Pants, Jackets, Skirts, Co-ord sets, Dresses, Nightwear, Swimwear.
Where to buy: https://thesummerhouse.in
Founded in 2012, by Shivangini Parihar and Rekha Datla, The Summer House brings together Parihar’s memory of a much simpler and organic lifestyle from her childhood with Datla’s philosophy of ‘we are what we choose’. With a passion to build upon traditional craft techniques and textiles, The Summer House is working with rural artisans to create handmade heritage pieces that can be passed on to the future generations. They are bringing old craftsmanship back to everyone’s wardrobe, with a contemporary twist!
PRETTY FOR THE PLANET
According to the data on their website, 23.87% of their garments are made from handwoven fabrics, 37.85% from GOTS-certified organic cotton. A total of 97% of their garments are made from natural fibres. The exception to this would be Econyl, made from fishing nets and ocean waste, which they use in their swimwear, and Tencel, which is a low-impact material made from wood pulp. Besides, through their Loom to Loop initiative and their mechanically-recycled denim fabric, they are looking to further reduce their carbon footprint, acing the art of reutilization. They are recycling their fabric scraps and have tied up with NGOs to use these scraps for the manufacturing of other products or to be rewoven into new fabric.
Whatever dyes The Summer House uses are always azo-free and natural, and the dying is carried out in facilities with waste water management. However, they prefer undyed fabrics with plain white being their colour of choice.
All clothes at The Summer House are mindfully-made, and can easily be hand- or machine-washed, with no need for dry cleaning, making the laundry process planet-friendly, too. Also, to promote circularity, they have partnered with relove.in, to bring to their website technology that enables customers to resell their TSH garments as well as to buy preloved The Summer House clothing- making it a great fit for the planet. A total win!
PRETTY FOR PEOPLE
Through a heartwarming welcome video on their About page, The Summer House talks about the journey of a garment and the people who made it, giving us a direct glimpse into what goes into the making of each garment, and a sense of those who made our clothes. By partnering with local NGOs that provide assistance to vulnerable craft communities and help them move away from exploitative practices, all the clothing of the brand is made in their own well-appointed production studio, where they are able to ensure fair wages and working conditions.
Moreover, The Summer House is proud of providing training for workers to enhance their career alongside prioritizing their physical and mental health.
With ongoing partnerships with at least 17 craft clusters across India, 952 artisans and having ordered 9087 meters of artisan-made fabric, the brand is fairly transparent about all their dealings, ensuring all this data is easily accessible to anyone who goes through their website. With a specific section dedicated towards the makers, there is information available about the crafts in the form of a storytelling video as well as the craft centers where the work took place, which is both, informative and engaging.
PRETTY FOR YOU
The website is extremely user-friendly, making it an easy shopping experience. The minimal, flowy designs in pastel shades are soothing—nothing less than a summer dream… What’s not to love about that! The pieces are meant for people with a certain mindset, people who do not need their clothes to be loud while making a statement. As the pieces are handcrafted, their promise is that they will last longer making them more like an heirloom that can be passed on for generations, rather than being just a one-time buy. However, the garments all fit into a certain aesthetic, which may not be for everyone. Though we love the fact that most of their swimsuit are reversible. That’s two for the price of one, without the extra footprint!
The website also provides you with a free guide on how to care for your garments, including instructions on washing, drying, ironing and the frequency with which they should be washed. You can also browse through the laundry room on their website, which provides special care instructions for different fabrics. With relove.in, they have provided you with a platform where you can resell the brands clothes you no longer wear, encouraging you to buy and sell pre-loved clothing.
But what we love most about The Summer House is how they’re building a community of likeminded, conscious individuals through their social media channels. They’ve kept morales high through the pandemic, with their The Good News Bulletin, and have been plying their followers with green information we could all use!