Women supporting women for economic empowerment

Silkinc is more than just silk. We are more than fashion and we are not only about beauty. We are here to inspire balance. We are here to innovate with natural fabrics and share our love for cultural heritage and art. We are insistent on continuously improving to see how we can be increasingly sustainable and we are female founded with more than 70% of our direct employees being women. How we operate and how we provide for the communities around us is of vital importance to us.

Silkinc are experts in silk across all parts of our vertical supply chain. One example is our embroidery craftsmanship, specifically specializing in Su embroidery. This technique originated in the city of Suzhou and neighboring towns in the Jiangsu province over 2500 years ago. Celebrated for its subtle and refined needlework, Su embroidery is praised for its use of the finest threads, balanced compositions, dense stitching and smooth finish. It can be applied to all silk and blended silk garments, whether blouses, dresses or jackets and you will see our embroidery techniques showcased on a number of unique silk garments.

Silkinc Su embroidery

A small snippet of exquisite Su embroidery
depicting a historic Chinese port and marketplace

We are continuously inspired by others and are always looking to learn and innovate with different techniques. When we heard about another form of embroidery from the Yi minority group and the women who specialize in this craft, we wanted to support keep their heritage alive, share this art globally and empower them to earn for themselves.

The Yi minority and Yi embroidery

The Yi minority group are based in the mountainous and rural regions of the province Yunnan, often carving their habitation in the sides of steep mountain slopes far from the cities of China. Opportunities for employment are limited and Yi women often lag behind men due to their history of being traditionally patrilinear. However, almost all Yi women are proficient in embroidery and this craft considered a precious art in their culture. Over the ages Yi embroidery has developed its own unique style, reflecting its environment and culture. Rich, colorful and exquisitely crafted, it is an important part of traditional Chinese folk crafts. Yi embroidery boasts a history of over one thousand years but like many traditions, it is in danger of being lost over time.

Yi folk music and dance in traditional Yi clothing

Traditional Yi dance and music showcasing Yi embroidery on clothing

The Silkinc Embroidery Empowerment Program

Silkinc set up the Yunnan Honghe Embroidery Empowerment Program to promote the integration of Su and Yi embroidery culture together. Bringing together 34 female embroiderers on the 3rd September in the city of Yunnan, a three day workshop took place to share the materials and techniques of Su embroidery. It went onto to explore how this could be intertwined with Yi embroidery. By doing so, this training provided richer and diverse skills to the Yi women whilst also providing a platform to share Yi embroidery globally with Silkinc.

Female Yi embroiderers learning Su embroidery at Silkinc workshopFemale Yi embroiderers learning Su embroidery at Silkinc workshopFemale Yi embroiderers learning Su embroidery at Silkinc workshop
Su embroidery training over the three day workshop with Yi embroiderers

The future of Yi embroidery with Silkinc

Yang Peng, founder of Silkinc, said, "This trip to Yunnan is a two-way empowerment journey. When I saw the Yi embroiderers constantly asking questions to our chief embroiderer in this training, seizing every opportunity to learn more stitches, craftsmanship and skills of Su embroidery, I was really happy and moved. Immersed in the world of embroidery, they are so confident and positive, their eyes are full of light. Next, we will not only purchase embroidery from these outstanding Yi embroiderers in the process of this training, but also invite them to our embroidery workshops in Suzhou to exchange and learn again in the future.”

She added, "Silk firmly believes that we are on the road to empowering women. We want to show them how their work is treasured globally so that that they can see and believe their craftsmanship, as an embroiderer, is a very valuable and respected profession. This trip to Yunnan also allowed our design team to learn a lot of Yi culture and draw a lot of design inspiration for our future collections.”

Look out for our collection in 2024 dedicated to the intertwining of Yi and Su embroidery, paying tribute to our traditional culture and sharing the artistic innovation of our craftswomen.  

Founder Yang Peng with Yi Embroiderer

Founder Yang Peng and Yi embroiderer at the three day workshop in Yunnan

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