Vidya is a storyteller, activist and curator of good vibes. You might know her as the girl behind the blog 'I Know You Think About Me' during 2012-17. She believes that the purpose of life is awareness or mindfulness. Her every day involves a little action and reflection to work towards discovering the highest self. She encourages people to be aware of their role as a consumer. She holds a special place in her heart for cats and is a grateful mommy of two kitties. She wants her manifesto to read, 'Love fiercely. Be kind.'
Here is her beautiful story of awareness, growth and creating a profitable business that benefits all.
As a teenager, I‘d casually talk to my friends about having my ‘own line’ someday. I did not take myself quite seriously, because in college I chose to take computer science as my major.
I strongly believe in the law of attraction. I would often lucid dream about things I wanted and they would happen to me.
I hadn’t quite thought that my ‘own line’ will be around fashion, but I had faint visuals of it being about creating experiences. To me, fashion is like writing a book and passing on the story to the readers for their individual interpretation. Fashion is about creating an experience.
Unfortunately, being privileged meant quite the contrary to me in my early twenties. Fashion was about brands, fashion was fast, fashion was a new outfit for every party, fashion was having a hundred outfits in my wardrobe and having nothing to wear. I remember having countless new outfits that I never even wore once. In the journey of self-expression, I too had become a product of capitalism.
If there is one attribute that has been a part of my existence, it’s to question, to rebel. I have been an activist all my life. I invest a lot of energy into personal transformation. The issue of climate change and global warming has been one of the key areas I have been working around and educating people over the last one and a half year. The fact that Fashion is the second most polluting industry came as a shock to me during this process. I despised that I never questioned; never asked who made my clothes or where all the unsold pieces go. Now I know. They end up in landfills as non-decomposable waste.
Earlier this year, I moved from Bombay to Goa with my partner and our cats. The environment at Goa was exactly what I needed to break away from city life obligations. Before the move, I had already started thinking entrepreneurship. I knew I was going to have my own clothing brand. I was assessing various options that would be workable at Goa, until we were there. The one thing I was sure about was the fact that I was never going to be a fast producer and would work around techniques that are the least detrimental to our environment.
That’s how MAIKAI was born. Maikai means ‘goodness’ in Hawaiian. That’s our mantra- to be good to each other, to be good to the environment. Maikai celebrates the feminine energy; the energy of creation. It celebrates diversity in colour and shapes.
The most important thing I learnt about sustainable fashion is that ‘The most sustainable fashion, is the one in your wardrobe’. After moving to Goa, I gave up on fast fashion. I do not buy from fast fashion brands anymore. I also buy only what I REALLY love. Maikai’s brand identity revolves a lot around these choices. The way to lead a sustainable life is being aware of our role as consumers.
Slow Fashion is the movement of designing, creating, and buying garments for quality and longevity. It encourages slower production schedules, fair wages, lower carbon footprints, and (ideally) zero waste. It advocates for principles similar to the principles of slow food, such as good quality, clean environment, and fairness for both consumers and producers.
When you’re buying a 2$ shirt from Primark or Zara, have you ever wondered how you’re getting a complete product for such a low rate? Where did the fabrics come from? What kind of wages have been paid to the person who made those? With fast fashion, you’re encouraging poor quality and environment damaging clothing which is neither good for you as a buyer and is neither good for the worker that’s being treated as a commodity.
If you’d like to change that in your life, support local and made to order fashion brands. Support them by liking and sharing on social media. Since their sales are slower, word of mouth does wonders in helping these brands to grow organically. Use your privilege to help them sustain their businesses. I only buy from local slow produced brands now and often give them a shout out, since I feel that people who know me might like to know about them too.
Add the three Rs to your lifestyle.
Reduce- Buy what you really love
Reuse- Invest in pieces that reflect quality and craftsmanship and will last longer to be styled in various ways
Recycle- Exchange clothing with friends and family. Buy vintage. Upcycle your outfits with a local tailor.
Be aware of what you bring into your life, including the food you eat and the clothes you wear. Everything has energy. Consume slowly, live gently.
If you are ready to impact the global market, remember your power as a consumer. Choose well.
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VIDYA SETHI – Sustainable Fashion Designer
She has been on the management team of Vinati Organics Limited since 2006 and balances the technical/manufacturing execution with her marketing abilities combined with new age aggression.