When did you decide that you wanted to start your brand?
It all started by a chance encounter at Chor Bazaar, an old flea market in Mumbai and I stumbled across a bundle of vivid saris. At that time I was working with NGO’s with the goal to create women empowerment through sustainable income opportunities and I realised there are NGO’s training women, who are a wasted talent and what better way to get a steady source of raw materials at low cost than these beautiful saris.
With these focuses, the fashion label’s identity became integral to supporting the cause of women empowerment.
What was one of the biggest challenges to get the brand where it is today?
Often ethical brands or brands related to social causes are considered to be for charity and because of this perception, everybody - including the women artisans who are working on it - feel that they don’t really need to focus on quality and aesthetics.
Running an eco-ethical brand with the professionalism of a mainstream brand and convincing all stakeholders involved that we deserve every dollar of our turnover has been the biggest challenge.
Who makes and designs for I Was a Sari?
We do not have an in-house design team. Since our first collection, we have been a design collective, working with designers across the globe. Our first collection was in collaboration with Fashion in Process (FIP), a research collective within the Design Department of Politecnico di Milano University. Since then we have worked in collaboration with various designers and brands to constantly give I Was A Sari a new identity.