Etsy Shop LabelRaasleela by Sonali Rastogi (New Delhi)
Sonali started out by getting outfits made by her local tailors. The motivation behind doing this was simple – she wanted cotton dresses for herself, with soft, flowy cotton made with soothing hues. Much to her disappointment, there was a dearth of such dresses in the market, as polyester and other synthetic fabrics had taken over the market. She realised that people wanted easy to wear and wash garments that were light on the pocket, and that’s all what the big retailers had to offer.
This led Sonali to design and create clothes for herself. Once she started wearing them, her relatives, friends, and extended social circle wanted the same designs. They couldn’t imagine a dress made of a traditional ikat or block print material, and were pleasantly surprised to see those on someone as young as Sonali, which looked beautiful! This led Sonali to launch LabelRaasleela in 2013, out of her mother’s basement. She slowly started selling to friends and family and, after setting up her shop on Etsy, Label Raasleela started to sell globally as well.
As a brand, LabelRaasleela’s prime focus in every new collection is to use Indian fabrics and crafts in each and every product. Through her Etsy shop, Sonali aims to provide natural handmade clothes, while empowering rural artisans from all over India. Presently she works with hand block printers, hand-dryers from Jaipur and hand-weavers of ikat from Andhra Pradesh. Sonali aims to find a global audience with the same values of slow fashion, and ‘less is more’. Label Raasleela is a team of dog lovers, and 25% of the revenue goes into rescuing, rehabilitating, and feeding dogs.
Etsy Shop NiraaIndia by Jyoti Jain (New Delhi)
Jyoti is a fashion designer and stylist, as well as the creative head of Niraa. She has always had a keen interest in fashion and styling. During the first three years of college, Jyoti was encouraged to learn about the crafts of India and do projects on them. This is what led her to develop an admiration towards Indian handloom and craftsmanship. It was during her graduation project collection when she realised her love for weaving, after which her passion and desire to work in the Indian handloom, weaving, and craft designing became even more ardent. During her final semester, she presented her project called SOUL which focused on draping and its techniques. The mere admiration towards this project finally branched out in the form of Niraa.
Niraa is a sustainable contemporary-wear label whose garments mirror the (qualities borne by our Mother Earth) luscious pastel tones of blooming flowers and sparkling waters. Handcrafted and hand-woven, Niraa aspires to stay true to its rich Indian heritage along with unveiling its subtly well designed and timeless attire. Jyoti aspires to stay true to the rich heritage of India while unveiling minimal yet timeless designs. Chosen from a variety of ambient hues, these garments are an ultimate personification of relevance and utility, be it in our day dresses, tops, palazzos, jumpsuits or even capes. Not only do these garments radiate exuberance, but have also been crafted in a sustainable environment, ensuring to revive the Indian handloom and various textiles of India.
Etsy Shop LOVExLINENCO by Rupa Amna (Bangalore)
Etsy seller Rupa Amna quit her 9-to-5 job to focus on her passion of creating garments where purpose & social good are woven into thoughtful design. LOVExLINENCO uses all natural fibres – linen, cottons, and khadi, which are hand woven into unique, expressive fabrics using centuries-old traditional methods of handloom weaving. Rupa’s aim is to create versatile, season-less pieces that serve more than just one function in a conscious closet. All products are designed, cut, and sewn by Rupa at her home studio based in Bengaluru. She realises that weaves, natural fabrics, and classic garments have all been done before, but is ardently motivated by her ability to talk through cloth.
Etsy Shop TheKaithariProject by Rasmi Poduval (Kerala)
Rasmi Poduval, a graduate of IIM Bangalore, had worked with Coca-Cola and Saregama. However, over the years, observing and assisting her now late mother-in-law, Vimala Viswambharan, weaving and pattern making, she joined the family business full time. Vimala was a seamstress with over 30 years of experience in bespoke tailoring. She started her first unit in the 80’s called Ideal Cholis. Thereafter, she went on to establish units in Udupi, Trivandrum, and in Thrissur. Rasmi now works with weavers and craftsmen from all over the country, reviving ancient weaves and crafts. She is currently working with weavers across Kerala, designing and adapting age old weaving techniques to create new textile forms.
Rasmi describes TheKaithariProject as a richly rewarding experience and journey of discovery and learning, which is an ode to the rich weaving heritage of Kerala. ‘Kaithari’ is a word derived from Malayalam language meaning ‘handwoven’. Through this project, Rasmi has travelled the length of the state visiting weaving cooperatives and distinct weaving techniques of each region, creating textile designs that bring out unique traditions specific to each geographical region. While one is accustomed to associating Kerala handlooms with the kora (white) and gold, TheKaithariProject has attempted to infuse a riot of colours and textures, inspired by the lush vibrance of Kerala.
TheKaithariProject believes in handcrafted products using the finest natural fibres such as handwoven cotton fabric, and hand spun Khadi fabric, which are sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives to machine made fabrics. The subtle variations in colour, texture, and finish is the signature of the human hand. The creation of each product is a lengthy process rooted in the craft-based traditions of hand spinning, dying, weaving, and embroidery.
Etsy Shop StudioNaach by Meenal Kaushik (Bangalore)
It was during her college years, when Meenal Kaushik found herself utterly motivated to start something of her own. Upon observation of the unethical choices being made by fast fashion, she aspired to create something that leads a path towards a sustainable lifestyle. Born out of this notion, StudioNaach, a textile jewellery brand, came into being in 2019, and since has produced unique embroidered jewellery pieces using waste fabric sourced from local boutiques. This small business is on a mission to build a community of people who admire handcrafted products and follow a more sustainable and circular approach when it comes to fashion. StudioNaach celebrates an open world, with love and expression at its core, inspired by the beautiful colours and karigari of the Lambani Community of Karnataka.
Since 2019, StudioNaach has made its place in the community of sustainability. Meenal was featured as a budding entrepreneur in Candy Magazine with the Indian actress, Ridhima Pandit, wearing StudioNaach designs in the cover story. In April 2020, the label was recognized as one of the 20 brands from across the globe, chosen by the talents of Vogue Italy for a portfolio review. StudioNaach also ran a ‘Support Your Artisan’ campaign in the summer of 2020 to help artisans survive the unprecedented times during the pandemic, where it pledged to dedicate 50% of the monthly sales to the label’s own artisans.