Why I left fashion to be in fashion

"The journey is long, sit back and enjoy the ride."

Fashion is a space that has the power to impact, educate, entertain and shake the world. It's the voice that can change the way you see things. From a simple narrative to a visually appealing reality, fashion transforms ideas. As a designer, I have always questioned why I am interested in this field? I've realized it's because it is more than just clothes to me. It's a way of life. With fashion you can choose and design the way you wish to live, it's in the mirror when you look at yourself, it's in the office you walk into every morning, it's everywhere. Who would have thought than a piece of clothing has the power to impact a whole society.

Fashion isn't simply about putting something on every morning, it's more than that. It is about the way you identify yourself, the way you would want people to look at you. This space is so multi-faceted that every angle will give you a different impression.

When I started making clothes, it was with the intention to create less, but well. Over the years as my orders increased and my customers grew, I realized people didn't care about buying consciously, they only cared about the next occasion and a new outfit. "How often do they really wear the clothes they buy from me?" this question started playing on loop in my head as I started to see the reality. I couldn't bear to see my conscious brand turn into another fast-fashion brand. Each piece of clothing I made was with careful thought and precision, it was meant to last. And here people were, wearing it once and forgetting about it. It took months from designing to sampling to the clothes finally going live for purchase. It pained me to see how little clothes meant to people.

The reality, is that every slow fashion brand follows the template of "careful curated", "artisanally made", "timeless clothing", "handcrafted with love", "green fashion", etc. But how many customers pay attention to this? Yes, sustainability is a prerequisite but how many customers understand it or care about it? There are conscious shoppers out there, but they make a small faction of the complete market. As the battle in my head became stronger and stronger, the need to do something to change this grew with full force. I decided to put a pause to making clothes until I figured out a solution.

It has been a year since I decided to take the pause, meanwhile, I thought why not explore the slow fashion space in India while I take this break. I worked with multiple brands and individuals in the sustainable space to understand how conscious brands in India function. The question was "why didn't customers care enough about these clothes they bought and owned?" The answer may still be under progress, but the truth is, brands care a lot about their product, it's like a baby to them. But customers on the other hand, they aren't part of the process. They're simple the end receivers. They don't get to be on the journey with brands to see where the seed was planted and how it grew into a finished product. This doesn't mean that showing "behind the scene" videos is enough, or talking about transparency. Those are of importance, but there needs to be more to it. It is the journey that gives you joy and not the destination. Similarly if a customer got to see every little detail, they would feel just as attached to these clothes as the maker. There are bespoke brands who design with their customers, but it that the same? When you see a finished piece on your customer, the sheer joy you experience, does the customer feel the same?

So here I am, still looking for these answers to get to a place where I can design clothes again, with purpose for people who feel the same way about the brand. This is the beauty of fashion, it is a never ending process, one road leads you to another, and somewhere you realize that the destination might change, but the best part is, we're all here to enjoy the ride!