At THR3EFOLD we are passionate about building a fashion industry that positively impacts people and planet. So we love going behind the scenes of ethical fashion brands doing much more than just making beautiful clothes. Agaati celebrates women and their power to change the world. Their luxury designs focus on being responsible to our communities and the environment. Learn the ins and outs of building a brand with this behind the scenes look into this incredible brand!
1 | Why did you start AGAATI?
Let's rewind to a few years back. After 8 years as a marketer leading the Asia Pacific region for fast-paced companies, I realized it was time to build my own. My design career began with the launch of a bold yet wearable womenswear brand in Singapore. As the entrepreneurial life took over from the corporate one, I was fortunate to take my learnings to the next level by graduating from Parsons, New York where I specialized in couture and ready-to-wear garments. This experience was further enhanced by getting trained at my dream fashion houses such as Oscar De La Renta, Diane Von Furstenberg, Zac Posen, and Naeem Khan.
While endless days of sketching and sewing were wonderful this phase also brought a strong calling for my creative role to have a bigger purpose and impact beyond just thinking of a business for profit. While designing a zero waste capsule, all the knowledge I gained from the research opened my mind to the damage fashion industry had done. It became clear this damage to the environment and the people in it was far from over. I had to look at my role as an entrepreneur and the impact my company could have on communities and the environment in a completely different light.
Hence in 2017, the seed for sustainable clothing that narrated stories not just about beautiful clothes but of clothes with a purpose, clothes that told stories about the makers and artisans was born. AGAATI was launched and there was no other business model that made more sense. Today, AGAATI is a conscious lifestyle brand that celebrates women and connects the urban customers to the artisanal communities celebrating them both, one dress at a time. The designs are romantic, spirited and handcrafted with great attention to details.
2 | What does the name AGAATI mean?
AGAATI derived from the Sanskrit word Agati means “Origin”, arrival or arising.
For us this translated to the emergence of a passionate brand with a purpose—to power the eco-artisanal fashion movement through women who change the game!
3 | Why did you choose India to manufacture?
After managing my first company with production originating in India I was familiar with the manufacturer, the textile markets, and the way the supply chain worked. The familiarity with me being a native of the Himalayas also helped as the culture, the craftsmanship of embroidery, and the beautiful textiles were so close to my heart. Being born in India the colors, culture and decorativeness always inspired me. It was indeed the best place to being the AGAATI journey.
4 | What were some of the challenges with finding your factories, fabrics, and artisans, as you got started?
As a startup, we have great energy and big dreams. Challenges are part of the journey, and we try to find solutions all the time. Some difficult ones are finding the right manufacturing and textile partners that work with our scale of sourcing and who understand the ethical philosophy as well. I source fabrics myself, as it is an integral part of the design process, which I thoroughly enjoy. When we find exotic, one-of-a-kind fabric the challenge that comes with it is the scale at which they will be available. Hence we run as a limited edition brand with tight inventory and buy the most beautiful natural fiber fabrics and trims that don’t get wasted.
5 | What would you have done differently from the beginning knowing what you know now?
Like many start ups we began with wanting to be everything to everyone. Lesson - reduce the activities we commit to and focus on something we are best at. Fast track sometimes can be detrimental to the well being of the team and the company. We should maintain not only quality in our designs but also in our lives. So the right pace with focused priorities and patience makes it much more effective in the long run. We are learning to take less but important actions every new day!
6 | What are some things you do to be more sustainable as a brand?
1. Not using plastic at all from the company generated activities and also encouraging and providing solutions to partners we work with on not using plastic.
2. Reducing fabric waste by partnering with a non-profits where they use the fabric leftover after pattern cutting to make floor mats for schools. We also use same fabrics across several seasons so they do not remain as dead stock. Pressure for newness can be a burden which we dealt with right from the start. Using fabric waste in embroidery and design details also adds a new life.
3. Working with weavers and artisans in India and Nepal to not only preserve and glorify their heritage art, but also encourage economic empowerment, which will hopefully lead to a better social impact in time.
4. Creating beautiful designs that are handmade as alluring people with this beauty can make them desire quality over quantity, exclusivity over mass.
7 | Where do you see AGAATI going in the future?
As a brand, we focus on quality, originality and timeless pieces that shift the customers away from fast fashion. AGAATI believes that what women wear is a canvas for self-expression and our choices have a profound impact on the environment and the communities we live or work in. Glamorizing sustainable fashion with wearable art and one-of-a-kind pieces and leading eco-artisanal into the tech driven future is a key vision.
We want to celebrate women and with them empower the hand behind the hand made, one dress at a time. With this AGAATI is leading fashion into the much-needed sustainable future! Join us.
We are organizing an artisanal tour in October 2019. Please find the details
Here and we hope you will join us!
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