Editor’s Note: These are uncertain times, and every aspect of our lives – social, emotional, financial – has been hit. While LSA is endeavouring to address the first two with feel-good content, we wish to help with the third as well. Now more than ever, homegrown businesses and the people associated with them need your support to bounce back from this economic setback. Through our social media, we will be disseminating news about promising Indian brands and people we have worked with, who are starting new initiatives to tide over the times. We want to connect them with you readers, in case you’d like to extend support.
Find below a compilation of dynamic brands that we have faith in, who have taken up different initiatives to survive/thrive and also pay it forward in these times.
(This story is WIP, and we will be adding to it as we come across more initiatives)
Known for their easy-chic womeswear and menswear featuring hand-block prints and local craft techniques, Karuna Laungani and Gauri Verma’s Jodi is a self-funded brand that has a workforce of 20 designers and craftsmen. Popular for their fun approach that’s inspired by craft, culture, and travel, the brand has a zero-waste approach, resulting in them also making accessories like notebooks, headbands, and head scarves.
Jodi is currently offering gift cards to be purchased online which can be redeemed at a later stage so that their workforce is taken care of during this quarantine. While the dispatch dates will be later than usual, the brand is also urging people to not cancel orders and continue to place new ones.
Handcrafted Indianwear, Torani’s designs evoke a sense of nostalgia and old-world charm. A young brand that burst onto the scene in 2018 and even went on to open a store in Delhi’s iconic Khan Market, the current crisis has made the brand halt operations temporarily, with the livelihood of its artisans under threat. To fulfill its workforce needs, founder-designer Karan Torani is urging patrons to contribute towards the ‘salary fund’. Any amount paid would be considered towards any future purchases at Torani—online or at their stores—and a proper acknowledgment will be sent for the same.
More information here.
An accessible luxury brand known for its handcrafted shoes for women, Oceedee makes season-specific footwear, apart from their workwear and bridal edit. Founders Neha Kumethkar and Anshul Sood have collaborated with Swarovski and designer Rahul Mishra in the past to create capsule collections; the brand was even a part of Mishra’s Paris Haute Couture week debut. Choose from mules, stilettos, flats, and even sneakers at their online store. The brand is currently issuing gift cards that will double in purchase value after May 1, 2020.
Cross Border Kitchens is a multi-brand, multi-kitchen, multi-format internet-driven food and beverage company that launched in early 2019. Focusing on Indian, Specialty, Pan-Asian and Western, CBK riders are currently doing lunch & dinner time deliveries. They are also providing special meals to anyone who might be in need, while on their food delivery runs, through the CBK Community Kitchen initiative.
Having started this on their own dime, founders Mohammad Ahsan Ali Qureshi, Ishita Sudha Yashvi, Mohit Mehta, and Mayank Singh Negi are appealing to patrons to donate food grains, lentils, or rice. If you spot/know anyone in need of a meal in the South Delhi area, you can also reach out to them through their website or write to them at email@example.com with the subject ‘For Help’.
Donate / support here.
Set up in 2015 and based out of New Delhi, Studio Metallurgy is a jewellery brand that draws inspiration from industrial design. Known for its sharp finishes and clean lines, founder Advaeita Mathur has pledged 50 percent of their online sales until the lockdown towards charities working on helping those affected by COVID-19. The remaining 50 percent will be utilised for funding their production costs and salaries.
The nine-year-old Goa-based brand is known for organic, fair-trade, and vegan clothing for men, women, and children. Apurva Kothari, founder, started COVID19-centric initiatives by first lending support for #prebuylocal, a movement to support the livelihoods of people around (the domestic help, the local vegetable vendor, the yoga trainer etc). And while No Nasties wasn’t at the centre of this, two days ago Kothari launched a more brand-forward campaign to help migrant labour in Goa. Partnering with a local NGO, Goa Outreach, No Nasties is donating 50 percent of their sales to them; Goa Outreach in turn is providing food and essentials to around 2,000 people in and around Mapusa.
Learn more and support here
Learn more about #prebuylocal here
Founded by sister duo, Dipna Daryanani and Dipti Daryanani Ahuja, Love The World Today is a four-year-old homegrown clothing label for children. Propagating the ethos of a slow and mindful childhood, LTWT’s offerings feature natural fibres and organic fabrics hand woven by artisans and weavers across the country. Their dyes are low impact on the environment, and the brand even encourages sending their clothing back once the child has outgrown, which they donate or upcycle.
As a #prebuylocal initiative, to support and tide over these times, the brand is offering a flat 30 percent discount on all their designs. All the sales that happen during this time will be diverted to the weaver communities who are working on their next collection.
Even though designer Pranay Baidya is known for his more glamorous occasionwear, menswear, and pret, the humble Tant saree has always been close to his heart, given his Bengali roots and the introduction to the ‘Tantshilpa’ (art of weaving handloom sarees) his grandmother gave him. His latest initiative is an ode to this saree, and the many weavers of the Santipur, Phulia, Nadia, and Dhanikhali districts of West Bengal, who specialise in this 15th century handloom weave.
Understandably, the weaving communities have suffered losses right now — as an economic trade and industrial activity, the ‘Tantshilpa’ occupies a place second only to agriculture in the above mentioned areas. The collection of sarees starting for little as Rs 1,000, and yardage of Rs 250, are waiting to be wearhoused and catalogued in Kolkata, and will eventually be available for retail through leading multi-designer stores across the country, and supported by a nationwide calendar of experiential pop-ups and e-commerce sites. The funds will go back directly to the weavers. Tant is a versatile fabric, much like other design-forward handlooms like nilambari, baluchari, and muslin by Bengali weavers, and can find use in several product categories including soft furnishings and home linen.
Though not available for purchase right away, keep a tab on how you can get your hands on these sarees and help weavers here.
Studio Wood is a Delhi-based design collective that believes in transforming perspectives via interiors and architecture. Headed by four creative directors from four different fields (an architect, an interior designer, a graphic designer, and an accessory designer), this design collective is popular among millennials for its original and unique redecorating techniques.
Studio Wood has come a long way since 2016, and during these testing times, have launched a ‘Pay as you can’ initiative. With their PAYC service, you can quote a fee you are comfortable paying for each chosen service. Their services include the following: Mood boarding to guide you through colours, patterns, and textiles that communicate your style; spatial styling that offers an extensive directory of furniture, product lighting, and soft accessories; redesigning existing furniture; restyling furniture layouts. The minimum ticket size is Rs 10,000/- (plus taxes).
While you cannot consult them physically at this point, the consultations would happen via 3D prints and sketches of how your revamped space will look.
Fill the PAYC form here.
Spearheaded by entrepreneurs and designers Mia Morikawa and Shani Himanshu, 11.11 is a brand that is focused on sustainability, and has a stand-alone store in Delhi, a concept store in Tokyo, and retails from multi-brand locations in India, USA, Canada, Korea, and Japan. Rooted in ethical values, the pret label collaborates with farmers, weavers, vegetable dyers, and block printing traditions to manufacture 100 percent sustainable products that include menswear, womenswear, and accessories.
The 11.11/Eleven Eleven Relief Fund from the brand seeks to financially support its staff of 360 people, of which 300 are rural artisans. With a target of US$56,000, watch the 11.11 Relief Fund video here.
You can donate here.
With a design-centric approach, designer Vaishali Shadangule’s eponymous lifestyle label is all about textiles and handloom weaves that are from several different states of India. Working with over 900 weavers since 2001, building a strong space for them in Indian fashion, the designer combines traditional handwoven textiles and craftsmanship to produce unique, sustainable, and contemporary products for global consumers.
In collaboration with Save the Weave, Vaishali S will be helping the craftsmen who worked on her ‘Madanottsava’ collection, by doubling their salary as they work from home in quarantine, while also giving them partial advance for the same. The brand has already run an auction on their Instagram page, the proceeds of which have been directed towards weavers. Any future purchase on the collection (available at Ogaan and Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop) will also go to the weavers.
The all-women, Bengaluru-based label Kaiyare (meaning handmade in Kannada) works with artisan collectives in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh to create a range of clothes and bags that has sustainability and craft traditions at its heart.
To safeguard their artisans, the brand has started the Artisans Collective fund, through which anyone can contribute towards their monthly income. In exchange, the doner will get a voucher worth the exact value of their contribution, which can be redeemed at Go Native outlets in B’lore or online at Kaiyare. One can purchase apparel, personal care, packaged food, or home decor, as well as, healthy and nutritious dishes.
You can donate here
Papa Don’t Preach
A joint initiative by labels Papa Don’t Preach and Kresha Bajaj, CareForKarigars aims to help sustain the livelihoods of craftsmen affected by the ongoing pandemic. As part of the initiative, designer Kresha Bajaj has created a limited edition cape and her iconic belt and designer Shubhika Davda os Papa Don’t Preach is offering an embroidered belt bag, each priced at Rs 5,000. All proceeds from the sale of these items will be donated to craftsmen. As of today, Rs 32 lakhs has been collected under the #CareForKarigars initiative since it was launched on 1st May 2020.
Mumbai-based Argentum Jewels specialise in distinct, semi-precious, couture jewellery. The brand’s rich heritage sparkles through under the guidance of Sunderdas & Sons since 1947, which work in fine jewellery. The 10-year-old jewellery brand started with the belief that fine jewellery needs a more redefined approach, one that is inclusive while adhering to its superlative quality and unmatched authenticity. Argentum jewels, handcrafted in silver, fuse semi-precious coloured stones, freshwater pearls, and simulated Swarovski diamonds.
Their core clientele covers young, aspirational women who seek trendy and affordable jewellery. They have also managed to slip under Bollywood’s radar as they count Madhuri Dixit, Shilpa Shetty, Parineeti Chopra, Mandira Bedi, Lisa Hayden, Sonam Kapoor, and others their exclusive clients.
The 40 in-house karigars keeps the brand at the forefront with design intricacy, innovation, and unparalleled craftsmanship. To help support their karigars, who live on daily wages, Argentum introduces the Super Solitaire Studs collection. It’s available in five shapes – round brilliant, princess, cushion, pear, and emerald – and is priced at flat Rs 2,999 for any carat size. Though the original pricing for these studs ranges between Rs 4,999 – Rs 11,990. To make a purchase, you can DM here.
All images: Courtesy Instagram (wherever not specified); Argentum Jewels: Courtesy Shutterstock