How you change the world by buying ‘I was a Sari’

How you change the world by buying ‘I was a Sari’

Shopping from us, since we started in 2013 has had the following impact:

  • stopped 1.4 million square meters of saris go to waste. That’s the equivalent of 1,000 Olympic sized swimming pools.
  • given regular income to 650 female artisans and their families in India, paying them for 1 million hours of work.

Most companies measure success by their sales. These are important, but we also value how much we can lower waste and transform the lives of the people we employ.

We believe saris are way too beautiful to become waste, and so give them a second life – turning them into clothing and accessories instead. So they become part of you, our customers', lives.

We started off by employing 64 females in 2017, this has risen to 250 in 2023. 

We gave them second chances, by giving them their first jobs.


We measure the impact of being given a second chance. Not everyone gets it right first time.
Think back to when you were given a second chance. Perhaps it was at school, work or in a relationship.
At I was a Sari, we get the importance of being given another go, so we’ve put it in our DNA.

We measure how many of our artisans can look their managers in the eye.

Because they have new purpose.

“So live as if you were living already for the second time”- Viktor Frankl

When our artisans join us, they typically hold their head and eyes low, reflecting their low self confidence. They’re shy and can’t look us in the eye.  They haven’t necessarily had the best start in life and have often felt that they’re not capable of much. As they work for us we see how they change.

As we work together we hear from our artisans that

“Now I ….

feel more equal

am saving up for my child’s education

have a skill that I get paid for

finally feel I’m moving upwards…..”

“It feels so different having a regular paycheck and a new skill. Being part of a team, building something.”

“Now I can look you in the eye”.


Some of our artisans went on a plane for the first time, to Rome where we worked with Gucci designers to reimagine the Indian sari. We went up on stage at a prestigious Sustainable Fashion awards ceremony in Milan (The Green arpet Awards) to collect a global prize for their work.

Another project with Gucci Equilibrium meant our artisans learnt embroidery techniques – a craft that is usually just for men in India. So they smashed through that ceiling too.

This year’s International Women’s Day was about gender equality and the environment.
The theme was breaking the biases people have, which stops women from reaching their potential. Reducing the blocks that get in the way.

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