“Everytime I would buy something, I questioned the product’s origin. No one answered these questions since there is hardly any transparency in the market. After working with a few smaller brands, I realised that these people did not have a platform [to showcase their work]. So, in 2017, I created one for them,” says Devyani Kapoor, the 30-year-old founder of Shuffling Suitcases, a slow fashion community that organises travelling pop-ups and also has a website dedicated to ethical fashion. With the motto ‘Taking the makers to the takers’, Kapoor mentions that her company is a 360degree sustainable platform, which educates consumers on sustainable products as well as offers an alternative to fast fashion.
After organising several pop-ups around the country and in Singapore, Kapoor is back to her home base in Gurugram to host their 25th edition along with a number of brands adopting a sustainable approach. The two-day exhibition commences today at Cafe Reed, The Quorum from 11am. Kapoor has given this milestone edition a special spin. Talking about ‘The Purposeful Edition’, she mentions, “I wanted to give the customers a purpose to come and shop ethically.” With every purchase made, the Shuffling Suitcases will plant a tree—mango tree whose fruits can be later sold by farmers later-—in the customer’s name. The customer will be provided the tree’s geolocation, and also receive its photographs every quarter. “There is no profit here. This is a little act of kindness towards the planet,” Kapoor says.
Taking an ethical route
The pop-up will be hosting 18 homegrown brands that craft a range of products including clothing, bags, handmade jewellery, sustainable Diwali décor and gifting, among others. “The Diwali gift hampers are made out of banana leaves,” Kapoor points out.
Of the brands displayed here, you’ll find Delhi’s Dressfolk that makes a strong case for traditional Indian crafts and textiles in contemporary silhouettes. With a range including both traditional clothing such as sarees as well as Western casuals, the fabrics used by them are either handwoven or certified organic textiles. “We are currently working with artisans from weaving clusters in West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, and Nagaland,” says Nitin Mehrotra, Dressfolk founder. Similarly, Parama Ghosh from Kolkata is also a part of this pop-up with her six-year-old label Parama. Working with weavers from various parts of West Bengal (WB), Ghosh’s label has a mix of handwoven sarees and embroidered blouses. Drawing inspiration from the City of Joy, Ghosh mentions, “My label sells stories on fabric; my design aesthetics are woven directly into the fabric. For the Shantipuri weave [from Shantipur in WB], Bengali poetry is woven on textiles.”
Along with Kavya Singh Kundu’s label, which features products created by embracing sustainable practises, other seasoned ethical brands that are displayed here include sartorial ones like Khara Khapas, Aarjavee, Alternative; jewellery labels like De’anma, Mirakin; clean beauty labels Ruby’s Organics, Soap Square, among others. In a way, this pop-up is the perfect opportunity for fashion consumers to take a plunge into the world of ethical fashion, while giving artisans a chance to be part of the mainstream fashion industry.