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    While studying at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2009, Colleen Clines and a classmate had to make something using textiles. Clines remembered a trip to India and the grave sex trade many women there face. That was the beginning of the Anchal Project, which hires Indian women to make quilts, scarves, bags and pillows for a living wage and health care. (“Anchal,” pronounced ahn-shawl, is Hindi for the edge of a sari used to provide comfort and protection.) “Anchal is an opportunity to make something that’s recycled, vintage, one of a kind,” says Clines, 29, who grew up in Louisville and went to Sacred Heart Academy.

    Luxuriously soft and colorful, the products are easy to make, which has allowed Anchal to hire its current team of 100 artisans and project managers in Calcutta and Jaipur. The rest of the team — four more employees, plus a board of 11, interns and volunteers — is stateside, and the company operates out of an office off Newburg Road. Last year, Clines and one of her designer friends at the clothing chain Urban Outfitters formed a partnership that turns pieces of Anchal’s quilts and scarves into a clothing line called Anchal x Urban Renewal. (The local Urban Outfitters store named Oct. 16 of last year “Anchal Day,” which will take place again this year. Anchal is also planning a pop-up shop at Whitehall in November.)

    Even with major partnerships and recognition already established — actress America Ferrera has partnered with the project, and in 2012 Clines was No. 18 on the Public Interest Design 100, a list that included Bill and Melinda Gates and Barbara Bush — Clines has new projects in mind. “India is just the beginning,” she says.

    Images courtesy of Greg Stanfield.

    This article appears in the October issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe to Louisville Magazine, click here

    Mary Chellis Nelson's picture

    About Mary Chellis Nelson

    Mary Chellis Nelson is the managing editor of Louisville Magazine.

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