Gucci X I Was A Sari’s Digital Learning Programme Will Help Women Join The Workforce

The field of embroidery has been a largely male-dominated sector, but not anymore. Thanks to the homegrown label I Was A Sari and fashion giant Gucci’s empowering initiative, women can now learn the skill and be a part of the workforce. The recently launched digital embroidery training program, Now I Can, aims to equip women with necessary skills and can be accessed for free.

“Inclusion for Gucci means creating a sense of belonging, through concrete actions,” explains Antonella Centra, EVP General Counsel, Corporate Affairs & Sustainability at Gucci. “With ‘Now I Can’, craftsmanship is a tool for social emancipation and offers disadvantaged women the opportunity to find their own place in the world of work and grow professionally. Values that are a fundamental part of our campaign and which immediately brought us closer to the ‘I was a Sari’ project.”

I Was A Sari

I Was A Sari was founded and is now running on the idea of constant evolution. Whether it’s in the form of upcycling the old six yards or changing the women to men ratio in the skilled-labour field, they cover all the bases. In a detailed conversation with ELLE, founder of the label I Was A Sari, Stefano Funari talks about this virtual course, the crafts that will be covered and how Gucci played a catalyst in it all.

ELLE: Tell us more about the virtual embroidery programme?

SF: The training program that we started in 2018, which was for I was a Sari artisans only, was focussed on upskilling our artisans. It was also a social experiment, as men typically dominate the domain of hand embroidery. We saw our artisans learn the art of hand embroidery, the confidence it instils, and how it transformed their lives. We wanted this repository of knowledge to be in a public domain and accessible to anyone who wants to put it to good use. With this thought, we launched the digital version of the embroidery training program.

Now I Can, the new professional embroidery training program, was created with Gucci’s support through its Chime For Change initiative. The free online training course is available on Udemy, and is structured in two parts and 80 sections that cover both theoretical and practical learning. Export houses, social enterprises, NGOs can get access to this course for training women so that Indian women can learn an income generation skill and enter the labour market.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by I was a Sari (@i_was_a_sari)


ELLE: How will this programme help marginalised women?

SF: As women work, they become the architect of their futures, and they change for good.  We know that last year has been extremely difficult, with migrant workers being forced to go back to their villages and hometowns. And such training opportunities in the right hands can create a huge positive impact. India’s two renowned social organisations, Rangasutra and Industree, have already started using this to train their artisans and upskill them.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by I was a Sari (@i_was_a_sari)

ELLE: What are the crafts that will be taught during the programme?
SF: The course covers two main hand embroideries – zardozi and aari, and is in Hindi with English subtitles. Each session is backed with teaching notes, video tutorials, assignments, and quizzes. The course is structured, keeping in mind that it is targeted at someone with no prior experience in embroidery. It starts with the basics – from a background of embroidery in India to different needles, threads, and embroidery materials and evolves to hands-on training.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content