Agaati- Feature Story

Posted on September 6th, 2019

Agaati- Feature Story

Agaati- Feature Story

Agaati produces original and bold designs inspired by their culture and history. Agaati's collection is made in India by skilled artisans. Shop their collection, and learn more about how they provide meaningful, fair, and sustainable products.

What drove you to start your business?

My first design career began with the founding of a bold and wearable womenswear brand in Singapore. Prior to design, I had a fulfilling marketing career in fast-paced companies until one day it was time to build my own.
As the creative, 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. I specialized in couture and ready-to-wear garment design during that time. My knowledge was further enhanced by getting trained at reputed fashion houses such as Oscar De La Renta, Diane Von Furstenberg, Zac Posen, and Naeem Khan.
After seven years in the industry there came a strong calling for a new idea which had a bigger purpose and impact beyond just being a business for profit. The seed for sustainable clothing that narrated stories not just about inspirations but also of the makers and artisans was born while in Parsons, where I studied Zero waste design.
The knowledge I gained from the research and process of zero waste design opened my mind to look at the creativity, my role as a maker and the impact it has on communities and environment in a completely different light. I realized how challenging it is designing with a smaller range of eco-friendly textile, how our design thinking and implementation impacted nature and the people we work with. It is not always about money, it is about also what you give back with what you make.
In 2017, I launched AGAATI, and there was no other business model that made more sense. Today, AGAATI is a conscious lifestyle brand that brings consumers and artisanal communities closer. Offering beautiful experiences to women from all walks of life is what I breathe and live by. The designs are romantic, spirited and handcrafted with great attention to details.

Who are your employees or your artisans?

Our artisans are based mostly in India and some in Nepal. In India, we work with artisans in Delhi, Jaipur, Gujurat, and Varanasi. The expertise and heritage we get inspired by depends on what the theme is. It could be hand embroidery from waste fabric, hand painting, block-printing, hand weaved textile. India has one of the richest heritage in art and craftsmanship and we want to bring to life these as wearable art. In Nepal, there are women in non-profits who weave shawl and hand-knit sweaters enabling economic empowerment and also a change in their role in society. The other makers are the talented pattern makers, drapers, and sewers of the garments

Watch the short video on weavers of Varanasi

How did you find them?

It was through a lot of research, asking people in the industry, visiting and testing different ateliers until we found the right one. But the search is always there.

What do they mean to you?

They are an integral part of AGAATI’s journey. It is the makers and artisans who bring to life our ideas and add so much beauty to the experience of wearing something.

What made you decide to start producing ethically?
It was a very organic process once I came across all the reports on how fashion industry practices were harming both the planet and communities. There was no going back to ignoring and carrying on with decisions like it didn’t matter. Personal philosophies flowed into a business philosophy.

Watch this video as a small example of what our world is with the artisans

What impact has your business had on your community?

AGAATI was created to inspire the modern woman to look closely at what she wears, why she wears it, how it’s made, and what impact it can have on the world. We believe that while something as intimate and universal as our clothes exists in the service of our beliefs and self-expression, it also exists in the service of others.

The clothes you wear can have a profound impact on our environment, our fellow humans, and our world at large. And the brands and shoppers have the power to change the world through your purchases!

So far we have planted trees, ourselves, in India and native species in California as Park Champions. Being family funded start-up we have employed 30 artisans, 5 non-profits supported and this is just the beginning. We have also influenced our friends and family to bring a change in lifestyle through the messages we share one garment at a time. The female co-founded atelier we work with has constantly received business from us even in challenging times for their stability, so economic empowerment is something we want to keep improving for others. Working with textile weaving community and bringing their work to the mainstream audience has begun very well and we are so happy to connect them not only to the urban women but also to influencers and journalist.

What was the most difficult part of starting and running your business?

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, we have to as there is no other option. Some tough ones are finding the right manufacturing and textile partners that work with our scale of sourcing, building a strong team that is as passionate and committed as we are and of course, convincing people that slow is beautiful. We are not about trends and injecting new styles every month, forget every week.

What has been the most rewarding outcome of your business?

Creating designs that have beautiful handmade stories and being a platform to voice to the world that we can create beautiful experiences and at the same time be a responsible neighbor to nature and member to the communities we live in.

Designing and giving one-of-a-kind experience of beauty through clothes brings me peace. And when I do that without harming anyone but by giving back and creating a positive impact, that’s very fulfilling for where I am right now.

What is your company’s mission?

AGAATI aims to bring consumers and artisan communities closer and create beautiful, sustainable clothing for modern women while empowering the hand behind the hand made. We are demi-couture in our style and market ourselves as an accessible luxury.

As a brand, we focus on quality, originality and creating timeless pieces that shift the consumer 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. With this AGAATI is leading fashion into the much-needed sustainable future! Join us as after all this is the people’s movement

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