Give us a brief about your background.
I grew up in Bangalore and have lived here for most of my life. A keen interest in fashion led me to study Fashion Merchandising in New York at the Fashion Institute of Technology. After school and an internship at Steve Madden, I understood better the problem of overstock and wanted to do something about it. So I started a fashion data analytics platform partnering with a tech company to allow designers to test their products directly with their customers prior to manufacturing so as to make more efficient production decisions. An exciting and intense year and a half later in the fashion tech capital, I wanted to move back home to India. I started to research heavily on emerging fashion designers in India that eventually led to a friend and I starting IKKIVI.
IKKIVI has come a long way. Is this what you had in mind when you started or has the brand evolved into something new?
Our focus when we started was to create a global platform for the immense talent of emerging fashion designers. Now, we not only support emerging talent but talent that stands for strong sustainable and ethical values. We are also in the process of expanding our categories to feature more designers who bring together beauty and conscious values. Apart from our online shop, we recently launched an online magazine, a space for mindful reading and immersive viewing.
What have you learnt from your brands that you would like to share with us?
One of the many things I have had the opportunity to learn further about is the complexity of the supply chain and its various aspects.
There is a common misconception about buying more of conscious clothing just because it’s not harmful to the earth. How can people understand mindful buying better?
I think we have got to this point of over consumption by subtle hints created in society over an extended period of time. For us to be more mindful in our purchasing decisions requires pausing, thought, deliberation and then a decision. Ultimately this requires time and effort, requires us to slow down and give time to all activities in our lives. With all that is happening in the world there are more conversations globally on living a more intentional and mindful life. So it is a larger concept that I am optimistic about. These important conversations need to be had more to create awareness and therefore make a difference.
You have built a slow living community over time with IKKIVI. What has kept you going?
The need to bring about more awareness is definitely something that has kept me going.
What does a day in your life look like?
I start my day with the newspaper and freshly brewed filter coffee. Yes, the newspapers have their own biases but it’s been a habit that I enjoy. After I shower and get ready, I do a ten minute meditation practice on the Calm app, something that has only in the past year been a part of my routine and given me some form of solace and grounding. I eat a light breakfast and head to the office till about 6pm. Everyday is different at work as we are a small team with varied responsibilities and tasks. I still struggle with schedules and yet to find the best method for myself (trying the pomodoro technique as I answer this interview). After work, I go to the gym to do some form of exercise, either cardio or strength training. I then get home, spend some time alone, shower, listen to some music and light some heart warming candles/essential oils. By now it’s about 8pm. I then spend time with my family, eat dinner (maybe a wind down drink or two) and head to bed where I read or watch something before I call it a night at about 10 30pm.
When was the last time you made a switch from something unsustainable to sustainable?
About six months ago I made the switch to a menstrual cup with the support of a dear friend. It’s been amazing and funnily liberating.
Tell us about the IKKIVI Dialogues and the conversations they’re stirring?
IKKIVI Dialogues is a new property we started this year, which began as a way to gather and discuss topics that matter, make a difference and empower us all to do and act better. We’ve had two so far and currently planning our third, you can watch them on our youtube channel.
What does the future of fashion look like after the pandemic?
It is not going to be what it was. World over, the fashion industry has been shaken up, things are changing at a faster rate. The industry was on a treadmill, with the speed only increasing over the years. The pandemic has forced a complete pause, allowing time for evaluation and innovation. I think we are headed in the direction of more awareness that will in turn allow for more conscious purchasing decisions. For businesses, sustainable and ethical practices as well as profitability (and not just top line) will most likely play a major role in the forefront of decisions.