DECEMBER has arrived, bringing with it a hard-to-miss nip in the air and a gloomy sky that has made the mercury nosedive. Just the kind of weather that cheers up Amritsar-based entrepreneur Vibhu Mehra. Mehra is the director of The Jacket Factory, a fashion label that offers designer coats and jackets (think woolen tweed and the likes) for both men and women. The label is an initiative of Diamond Woolen Mills that manufactures and exports textiles to various high profile fashion brands across the world such as Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Ted Baker, Banana Republic and Zara. The label launched its winter line of coats, blazers, jackets in Chandigarh at an exhibition that will be on till December 27.
“It’s the season to add colour to your winter staples,” said Mehra as he held up a jacket in flaming red. The contemporary mix of jacket and coats, including the ubiquitous Modi jackets that are the toast of the season, have been made with some help from women who are undergoing counselling drug rehabilitation centres in Punjab’s border areas. “There are around 60 women, including widows, working in our factory. We started to involve them a year ago to help them earn a living and also start afresh,” says Mehra.
The women are from areas such as Chheharta and Ajnala in Amritsar district.
“Most of them are widows who have lost their husbands and sons to drugs. There is a lot of unemployment in the area and women don’t have many job options. At the factory, we have trained them to help us with various things — be it giving finishing touches to the jackets, trimmings, adding buttons, stitching and the likes,” explains the entrepreneur who is looking to increase the strength further. “We want to promote the ‘Make in India’ campaign and are looking to expand production further and help women,” added Mehra.