My name is Jeanette Farrier, and for almost two decades my passion has been the fabric that I am delighted to present to you on these pages. I’d like to tell you our story—the tradition that inspired this journey, the wonderful men and women who have been with me from the very beginning, the products we offer, and our pride in what we do.
HOW WE STARTED
In the early 2000s, travelling in India, I made my first visit to West Bengal and its capital, Kolkata. There, draped over balconies, I saw colourful blankets made from soft, quilted fabric that had clearly been recycled. I found out that these had been made from old cotton saris which, following a long tradition, women layered and hand-stitched together, giving the cloth a new life.
I went to the villages and watched the women work, admiring their skill, and learned that this style of stitching is known as ‘kantha’. I saw how each piece might incorporate several saris, so that every item was unique. And I marvelled at the care taken to use everything, waste nothing.
Then, browsing in markets and warehouses, I discovered how designs on Indian cotton saris map a long history of world trade in their incredible range. I saw that some had tiny prints, while others made great, bold statements. I recognised influences from Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Japan. I found the variety of patterns and colours dazzling, beautiful, almost infinite.
The West and its drab, throwaway culture could not have been further away. Very soon, I decided to leave behind a long career in costume design. Selecting some of those marvellous fabrics, I set out to create my own range of throws and shawls.
WHO WE BECAME
Over further visits to Kolkata, I gathered my brilliant team around me. Today, after fifteen years, I am proud to say that my first Indian associates are still working with me. I know their families, I have watched their children grow up. There is M. who sources the cotton saris (pure cotton is becoming harder to find), and A. who delivers it to the villages, where the cloth is stitched, and who ships the finished products back to me in London. And then there are the wonderful teams of women, who sew each object lovingly by hand.
Right at the start, we set up a health fund, giving security to our employees and providing access to healthcare for their families. Their wellbeing is our priority. Without them there would be no products, and taking care of business means taking care of their needs.
Whenever possible, I visit from London to select and match the cloth for the next collection, but between us all we have also developed a method that allows me to match cloth online, so that each piece we create sings in its own way. Quality control is rigorous, and at each stage we work together to achieve excellence.
We have all grown together, and I am proud to say that despite recent difficulties we have kept 71 families going during West Bengal’s very severe Covid lockdowns, which included blocking roads to private vehicles. We have even managed to carry on when extreme monsoon conditions, including rainfall and flooding, have affected production.
WHAT WE CREATE
Over time, we have added new lines, and our throws, baby blankets, bed and cushion covers, are all created from beautiful vintage sari fabric, and all have a story to tell. I match each one individually––uniting diverse patterns, colour-schemes, and images in a single reversible kantha piece. Every throw, sham, blanket and cover is one of a kind. Each has something remarkable to contribute to your own story.
Lightweight, durable and so comfortable, our throws and shawls make essential companions for travel. Curl up beneath one for a long flight or car ride; hang them over furniture, or wear one around your shoulders. Drape them over sofas or chairs and see how they add life wherever you spread them. An added bonus? Our cloth is easily laundered in the washing machine and can even be tumbled dried. They always emerge soft and ready to go!
On my last visit to New York City, before Covid, I launched our new line, JEANETTEFARRIER.HOME. Featuring Queen-size quilts in new cloth, these are a beautiful and practical alternative to our products created from vintage cloth, and have proved a popular choice.
Ours is a human enterprise. We believe in kindness and collaboration, beauty and excellence. Our products are sustainably sourced and ethically created. We also believe that they deserve to be celebrated, and to be seen in the best places. Our new collaboration with leading American designer John Derian is very exciting. This range of brand new cloth is based on some of the most beautiful patterns I have come across in India, alongside favourites from John’s own 18th century fabric archive. The first arrivals into the collection sold out immediately!
Finally, we would love to hear from you if you have enjoyed one of our products. Why not let us know @jeanette_farrier on Instagram? And thank you for reading our story. JEANETTE