Victoria’s Secret is the improving lives of rural Indian women.

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victorias-secret-shopMay 26, Chennai: Victoria’s Secret had once been criticized for using cotton picked up by child laborers, working under horrible conditions to manufacture some specific lingerie in Burkina Faso. It is  After facing the flak, the luxury lingerie wear brand has lent a helping hand and generated jobs for women back home.

Traditionally confined to the house, spending their days doing chores, making meals, cleaning and looking after the family, an increasing number of women are said to be realising the benefits of economic freedom.

The padded “Very Sexy” push-up bra which 22-year-old Jaya sews is for American lingerie retailer Victoria’s Secret – designed to give a “boost” to buyers in hundreds of high-fashion boutiques across the United States.

But a world away in this traditional rice-growing region of southern India, these luxurious bras are – in a different way – enhancing the lives of poor rural women.

“I knew nothing but the village before,” says Jaya, sitting behind her sewing machine on the busy factory floor of textile manufacturer, Intimate Fashions, in India’s Tamil Nadu state.

“My parents never saw me as an asset, just a burden. They did not think a woman could earn money, but look at me,”

Intimate Fashions – which also produces bras for Victoria’s Secret brand “Pink” and the La Senza brand – is one of thousands of firms that have set up in Tamil Nadu’s Kanchipuram district in recent years.

Investment-friendly policies, close proximity to one of India’s largest ports and an international airport, and easy access to a large, semi-literate workforce has helped make the area one of the most industrialized in the country.

On Intimate Fashion’s massive factory floor, hundreds of women in bright pink aprons and headscarves sit in long lines bent over their machines, busily stitching red satin ribbons and lilac lace straps as Tamil pop music blares out from speakers.

“It was hard at first. My parents did not want me to come and I was scared,’ says 18-year-old Vithya, who started at the factory one month ago. “But I am getting used to it and send home money now to pay for construction of my parents’ home.”

Nestled amid coconut trees and rice paddy plantations, Mamandur village, 30 minutes drive from Intimate Fashions, provides a steady pool of young women for the factory.

Most villagers here have no land and are dependent on manual labor, working on farms for a daily wage of 100 rupees ($2). There is little financial security and if there is no work one day, even the basic evening meal is doubtful.

Girls traditionally spend their days doing household chores – collecting water from the borehole, making meals, cleaning and looking after younger siblings.

But in many households that has changed, say villagers, due to the Pudhu Vaazhvu project.

“Before I struggled to send my children to school, even food was a problem,” says Latta Gubendran, mother of three, whose 19-year-old daughter, Divya, works at Intimate Fashions and earns a monthly salary of 7,000 rupees ($130).

“Divya earns more than I thought possible. My two younger girls can go to school and we have bought a fridge, a television and even tiled our floors in our house. She is like the son I never had. She brings me and my family respect.”

News Gathered by India News

Posted by on Saturday, May 26th, 2012. Filed under About India, Business, Chennai, Famous Location, Fashion, Jobs, World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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