Oshadi is a contemporary womenswear brand seeking to revive and sustain India’s textile heritage of hand weaving and natural dyeing, now perishing due to industrialisation.
Oshadi integrates the tradition of excellent craftsmanship with simple, functional and architectural designs that relate to the modern lifestyle. Environmentally friendly practices are used throughout, using handwoven and natural dyed organic cotton, peace silk and linen, which minimises energy consumption and facilitates environmental preservation. As a sign of Oshadi’s commitment to an enriching, sustainable textile heritage and for the brand’s inspired drive for unique craftsmanship, the prestigious brand has been awarded the Butterfly Mark.
Founder Nishanth Chopra took a moment to speak with Positive Luxury to reinforce the importance of sustainable fashion and being a brand to trust.
Please tell us about how Oshadi began
I discovered traditional crafts and techniques (handlooms and natural dyeing) on a holiday around North Western India last year. I liked the idea that all these crafts had an aspect of sustainability interconnected with them. Also, the crafts were so beautiful and enticing, and it takes some serious skills and knowledge to hand weave fabrics or to dye them with flowers and leaves. However, by talking to many artisan communities, I also realised that these crafts were rapidly perishing due to industrialisation and lack of modernity and awareness.
But there is a great appreciation for things that are ‘made by hand’ around the world. I came across a handloom in the UK called Romney Tweed which has such respect and reputation for the work they do. I would say there are multiple Romney Tweeds in each state in India and there are thousands of similar artisan communities in India who have invaluable skills which are left unnoticed. They need a bridge to connect them with the right people who have a sincere appreciation for their skills and hard work. With this thought and realisation, the company was founded when I got back from the holiday last year, and the brand was launched in March 2016.
You are the third generation of men in your family to be working in the textile industry. How has this heritage influenced the brand and the products?
Textiles were always around me as I grew up. I still remember; as a child, when I came home from school and during vacations, I used to go to my father’s warehouse and loved jumping on piles of fabrics from heights and sometimes even fell asleep on them when they were soft and comfy. But I noticed its value and global potential when I was doing my degree in the UK. My mother’s love for nature and crafts- along with my coherent interest in sustainability also had an influence, and when I came back from university, the thoughts evolved from my family’s domestic, machine-oriented textile business into ideas for developing contemporary and sustainable products.
What is the main thing that you want to see improve in the fashion industry?
I live in South India, one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of textiles. In the process of becoming the largest, I have witnessed textiles industries destroying rivers, agricultural lands and exposing humans to many toxic chemicals. We should not forget that we have an intimate connection with nature, and I think protecting it should be a collective thinking of all industries and everyone; whether it be fashion or non-fashion.
What is your favourite Oshadi piece?
Our dresses are incredibly flattering for all ages, but also our staple coats and trousers work beautifully for every day and are easy to dress up for more formal occasions. We really try to create clothing that can transcend day and evening wear and inevitably make the wearer feel comfortable and confident
Find out about Oshadi as a brand to trust here