Why waste is the way forward

Why waste is the way forward

Changing the narrative around the culture of disposability

By 2050 landfills are estimated to have over 150 million tonnes of clothing waste if we continue on the current trajectory of production and consumption. In this environment, young designers and labels are looking to create from waste and resources which already exist. At IKKIVI Zine, we spoke with Akshit Bangar, the creative mind behind the label Urban Darzi on the brand’s journey so far, the philosophy behind their products and the pertinent need to create with waste.

Where and how did your journey with fashion and waste start?

I think I’ve always liked the idea of clothes and fashion in general, even when I was a kid. Coming back from Nottingham after graduation, my dad offered to start a denim brand from one of his trading stock lots lying in his factory and I took that up. We ran a mass market denim wear brand for about 4 years supplying to major multinational retailers like Walmart and ITC till about 2017, right around the time when demonetisation hit and the conversation around fashion industry’s implications towards climate change & global warming started coming to the fore, especially in the Indian subcontinent. Although we were using seconds and discarded fabric lots even back then, we were still guilty of contributing to the problem at large. Post which I shut that arm down and focused on building an individual custom clothing company, with the last mile fabric remnants taken from big/small retailers and even individuals who used to sell on barrows. This is where the groundwork in my brain actually started taking shape towards imagining an overarching fashion company (and subsequently the whole industry) that runs entirely on everything considered as ‘waste.’ After a lot of research, trial and errors, failed investments – I finally launched Urban Darzi, as we know it, towards the end of 2020 with the ideology of creating a circular economy, where waste is looked upon as a valuable resource/raw material and used to create everyday lifestyle products, and where a closed loop system is created to have that initial set of waste coming back to the ecosystem till it is down to the last shreds and eventually recycled into newer material.

You mention that you use ‘jugaad’ as a philosophy to repurpose all that you find laying in dumps. Could you tell us a little about how and where this philosophy finds expression in your production process?

The idea of jugaad is one we, as Indians, know very well. It is seeped into our systems from early childhood by our mothers and society at large, on how to make use of everything and how to make everything work through jugaad. It’s in our vocabulary, in our understanding, in our day to day functioning. So when we say we use ‘jugaad’ as a philosophy to repurpose all that we find laying in dumps, we aren’t doing anything out of the ordinary, we are simply applying that idea, to make use of everything, into our design process and often re-imagining design in a non-conformist way. For example, we used single use plastic bags and food and consumer packaging waste, that we picked up from roadside dumps, and put it in between the lining of a jacket — which does pose an argument of microplastics going into water stream after washing — for which we put in our conscious design principles in place and make sure we are doing that on products that you can go on wearing without washing for months, such as a jacket – how often do you wash a jacket in winters? Another example, we worked with Khamir to upcycle single use plastics found on the streets into raw material, from which we made small holdalls and totes.

It’s not just using plastics, though. We recently did a collaboration with Urban Monkey where we made a sac cover from age-old fabric folders (the ones fabric suppliers send to manufacturers/retailers for sampling and no one seems to care about). We are working on an object’s line where we use the same jugaad ideology, to make decor pieces from all kinds of waste material that we can find on the streets/dumpyards/landfills.

Do some of the conscious values at Urban Darzi seep into your way of living? What does that look like in your everyday life?

Simple things, really. Generating as little waste as possible. Being conscious and mindful of your ways in life, not just from an environmental perspective, but as a human being overall. Being grounded. Being responsible for yourself, for the things around you and extending that thought process onto as many people as possible.

A fundamental part of building a business is developing an aesthetic for your brand. How did you decide yours, and how did you know it was right with your ethos? 

I’ve been a brand fanatic all my life. I love the idea of how a brand you look at, interact with, can impact your life in more ways than what you actively see and feel. When closing in on the aesthetic for Urban Darzi , I didn’t really set anything in stone other than the fact that it had to be completely different from the clutter we had at that time. A mix of raw, honest offbeat and transparent approach to the idea of fashion and clothes in general, was the cornerstone of it all. And who doesn’t like good visual design when they see it, so the editorials, the photography, the conversational aspect of the brand just blended in all naturally.

We often talk about waste from an environmental perspective. We’d like to know more about its artistic and visual aspects. What do you see and feel when you look at it? And what is your creative process like when designing from it? 

To create from what the world seems to have discarded – is often where creative genius lies. That’s what I tell all the design team members. For me, it literally is a playground. And the best part, there is always a new variety/kind of waste to play with and figure out how to upcycle and make a new product from it. Like yesterday only I found a lot of iron mesh sheets at a construction site and I am already thinking about what and how to make something valuable and aesthetically cool out of it. Creative process? It’s just about making the best possible use of it in the most efficient and radical way possible.

A new product’s value is considered to be much higher. And waste has somehow largely had a negative connotation attached to it. The frequent perceptions around it are that it is a re-utilized byproduct or fad to work with. Can designs made from waste come to have a similar value to fresh pieces? What have your experiences been with this in your practice?

We’ve been conditioned to believe this. It’s only a small section of the crowd today that has opened up to the idea of upcycled products and substituting them from a regular purchase in their everyday lives. Personally, I like to believe that products made from waste should actually have more value than a regular product, owing to the simple fact that the design process is much harder ( we can be at it all day to prove how) and takes much more creative thinking whereas the production is equally and painstakingly difficult in some cases. But it requires an overarching systemic change in the way people think and interact with products and their wants/needs in general; something that only collectively can be achieved with all stakeholders actively involved.

What are some of the ways in which we, as consumers, can use or connect with ‘waste’ – our personal waste and the waste that we generate, apart from recycling it?

I am no expert and am learning on the job everyday, but I believe it’s something as simple as being mindful of the waste you create. Seeing where and what you can put back to use, what you can avoid using. Seeing where and how you can collaborate with brands and give them the waste you collect for them to use it further in making new, circular products. Just simple, small things – repeated everyday, by everyone that will eventually account for a larger, societal change.

CREDITS

How ‘Fast’ Can We ‘Slow’ Down?

How ‘Fast’ Can We ‘Slow’ Down?

A Glance Into the Problematics of Change

With slow fashion trying to change the dynamics of the fashion business, our designer Neha Kabra from our sustainable brand Maati by Neha Kabra, speaks about the contradictions the trailblazers of the ‘slow’ industry are recurrently met with in the face of the insatiable demands of fast production and consumption.

What does a fashion revolution mean to you, and how does that play a role in the way the brand keeps evolving?

A fashion revolution is where we address the real problems, the core matters, and not just use it as a fad word or keep it as a trend. It’s where we talk about the raw material problem and the landfill problem, and how to tackle it.

What are some of the problems that you’ve seen come up in these everyday processes of sustainability?

Each process has its own problems. And when we talk about slow fashion, when we talk about sustainable brands,churning four or five collections, a year is practically not possible. I mean, there’s nothing slow about it. And in fashion, I think each process, say even if the fabrics are produced, the weavers I work with, it takes nearly two months to produce 50 meters of fabric.

One loom only produces around 12 meters of fabric in one go. And that takes nearly a good one month. So there are multiple looms working to do that and if the fabric only takes two months to come and then the actual production takes place. So it has its own timeline and the constant need in fashion to have something “new” constantly has unfortunately become a cultural practice. That we see something and we want it and to produce that design immediately is something beyond my imagination as production takes such a long time. And to bring that change I think is more of a challenge at the moment. Yes, people are aware about sustainability, people are aware about the story and where it’s coming from, but still, constantly wanting something new is a very, very big challenge.

 Do you feel that that’s a change that might be coming soon? Or do you feel that it’s gonna be a really slow shift where we’re actually able to become accustomed to or understand that we need to consume more mindfully? That it’s not just that production needs to be slower, but the rate of consumption needs to be slower.

I don’t want to sound pessimistic but sometimes pessimism is what supports us to reaching toward that goal. But I do feel it’s far away for everybody right now. By the end of it, everybody looks for business. For everybody, it’s easier to produce at a larger scale  money wise. They say it’s easier to produce 50 pieces in one design than producing one of 50 new designs. And the constant need of needing new, new, new – how do you let that go completely? The culture we are living in is a very fast culture. So it’s not only fast fashion, but fast lives we are living in. With the social media impact, I’m not saying it’s all bad, always, but by now in our culture, there’s so many other brands which are even expediting fast fashion. Even if you want to reverse the phenomena, there are a lot of brands on the opposite side. So while we are actually running into the direction of slow fashion, there is also a lot of expedited fast fashion. I don’t see it happening, fast, but I’m hoping that the change will come because this is exactly like when I started – people were not aware about what sustainable fashion is. Especially in India, I think four or five years down before the word was just becoming a trend. But now I think most people, after having been affected by Covid – 19 are much, much more aware about it. People have become wiser on their spending. They’re not just buying for the sake of it. So I think change will come. It’s taking its own sweet time, but it will come, it has to.

When you’re exploring new fabrics or materials, what kind of input do you get from the artisans? Do they often already know about it or are they also exploring them with you? 

It’s both. So when there was a fabric like bamboo, there was still awareness that the fabric is being made. We get the samples, we all touch, feel, see what works for us, what doesn’t work for us. But in bamboo there are so many weaves that are coming in. And when we get those and when we all sit together that’s what amazes them and where we all explore together.

They sometimes really can’t believe that our world has so much technology that is a boon. That’s what strikes them. They feel that this is going to be for the better. And at the same time, it’s slightly worrisome for them too because they are concerned that if people will shift to different styles given the state of fast fashion. There are pros and cons of both. But you have to constantly tell them that “no, (y)our practice is completely different”. You still have to make them [artisans] believe that what you are doing is absolutely fine because they’re growing everything organically. For example, kala cotton is a wild cotton grown naturally without any pesticides and insecticides. So you have to constantly assure them that what you are doing, your process is good and it’s not going to go anywhere. But of course, they (and all of us) do have to accept some of the changes we see coming in fashion – whether for better or worse.

CREDITS

For the Love of Fabrics

For the Love of Fabrics

Telling Tales of Threads

High quality materials and craftsmanship are the cornerstone of all our brands. At IKKIVI Zine, we spoke with Aarushi Kilawat, Founder and Creative Head of The Loom Art about her deep connections to fabrics, what a revolution means for her, and how she believes we can cooperate in the face of competition.

What does a fashion revolution mean for you and The Loom Art?

A fashion revolution is a larger word with a lot of weight. From when we started to where we are now, we have mellowed down with the word and how we use it – sometimes a revolution doesn’t have to be put out in such big letters. As people, our own journey with a fashion revolution is one where we are trying to understand what it means in which context. But for us at The Loom Art, what a fashion revolution really means is that we need to keep re-doing ourselves and the ideologies we have been working on. What we see is that post the pandemic, people are more aware of slow fashion and slow living, and how we can sustain ourselves with bare necessities. Our challenge now is to see how long we can sustain that lifestyle.

None of us can always do the right thing in every direction, and so with a fashion revolution, it’s important for us to find our own direction. For The Loom Art it’s about people who work with us. I am someone who loves being involved with my people, not just professionally but also emotionally. The whole essence of people who work at the ground level – our artisans – are our backbone. It’s about being able to offer them a livelihood, and encourage their younger generations and communities to pursue careers and be part of this craft.

Have you been working with the same artisans for the last 5 years?

Yes, the team I started with is still with me. We’ve grown ofcourse. And we’ve all been very emotionally involved in the growth of the team. There’s a different high to that altogether – we’ve gone from a team of 3 to 25 now. And all of them know what we (The Loom Art) are about, even though they weren’t all from the same background when we started.

What are the fabrics you work with and why do you choose them?

Until 3 years ago, we primarily used only khadi as it is a fabric that can last a lifetime. Now we’ve expanded our range, but only to include other handwoven fabrics. Along with khadi, we now do a variety of silks and linen. I love to hold and smell the fabric and I love how India is so rich in craft. Each of these fabrics has a tremendous amount of potential to be made into different silhouettes, and with each, the pieces would still be gorgeous.The fall, the texture, everything comes through with these fabrics. I also choose to work with them as the garments made from these fabrics are exceptionally durable and each piece of clothing can be passed on from generation to generation. I like the feeling that it travels a journey and passes on to another person, to have another story.

There is a general notion that sustainable businesses should stay or be small; that when they scale up too much it becomes harder to maintain sustainable practices. Do you think there is some truth to this idea?

Yes, but not completely. You need to be able to follow certain practices and maintain quality over and above everything. You never want to lose our essence due to the pressures of quantity, and if you get too wrapped up with the numbers game, you might lose your ground. The middle ground is always there where you can do your thing, offer it to others at a growing scale domestically and internationally, and still stay sustainable. That middle ground is key.

Customers and consumers were limited to shopping online during the pandemic. We consequently see a lot of competition for attention in the digital space for lower price points from customers over what may be sustainable. Does this ever have an impact on your work?

Yes, sometimes there is a fight for attention. But what we are trying to do is create a conscious community, not force anyone to do something. Keeping up with trends works for some people, and that’s okay. There are people who love what we do at The Loom Art as well as in sustainable fashion, and want to know more. Those are the people we want to work for and are working for. People have lost the idea of touching and feeling and knowing the garment and understanding why it costs what it costs, especially when made ethically. It becomes a challenge and I have also struggled with it. But we have been able to create a valuable section of consumers who know what we are, see our brand value and support our work. For them and for us, it’s not just about sales. It is about having  a conversation and narrating your story, as well as building a community through physical interaction. What I think is most important to understand is what you do and why you do it.

CREDITS

Changing the Ways in Which we Work

Changing the Ways in Which we Work

Tracing New Trajectories in Fashion

Cultivating change and correcting large scale issues at the systemic level in the fashion industry is often thought to hold more power and potential to make a real difference in how the fashion system works. While this may be a truth true in its own right, we want to share with you how we’re inspired by our brand Em and Shi and their founder Mansi Bhatia about the qualitative change working differently and more mindfully can bring to a brand’s artisans, people and the environment – making change just as potent at the micro level as at the macro.

What does a fashion revolution mean for you? What are the ways in which it has taken shape through your brand?

For us, the revolution would kind of mean in the smaller steps because, if you talk about things at large or if we really require things to change, they kind of have to change at a much more macro level, such as in terms of regulations and certifications. For us at Em and Shi, what it means is to do the best for everyone. To create our processes in a way where it is the most sustainable, and by sustainable I mean, it’s good for the people who are working for us, it’s good for the people who are gonna be wearing the garment, it’s good for everyone involved at every stage. Often when we try to achieve that sort of perfection in terms of what we’re trying to do. It’s like, if today I was supposed to shut everybody who’s working in fast fashion, we would have so many unemployed people and they would in turn, go somewhere else, you know? So I feel like a revolution kind of has to come from smaller steps. And what we do is to kind of make our processes easier on everybody, including the environment and the people whom we can take care of on our level.

I think I learnt that only because when I started, I came in with this whole revolutionary mindset to “do this and do that.” And what I found is that most of it is not possible because either it would be beyond our means as a growing business or it wouldn’t make sense for the people who are working for you. So when we came in, we kind of wanted this sort of approach where everything is super systematic, but what I’ve realized and found helpful is that we mold our structure according to the people that are working for our brand – to kind of change what we are doing to suit them more.

Does it feel like it has made a difference for your artisans and team, and for the brand?

I believe so, yes, because we still have the same people that started working with us from the beginning. Our pattern making hasn’t changed at all. Not even one of them has left or gone away. The fact that they haven’t felt like they need to step out and look for anything else, or even when they are trying to voice their voice, or if there’s anything that’s not working for our and their system – a few minor things obviously – they come to us and we accommodate that. And we really want to.

Could you share with us an instance where molding your ways of working to suit the needs of the artisans hold an impact on their everyday life, and consequently, beyond?

In the villages and spaces, anywhere where the women are working, their kids are hanging out in that area and they are often playing there too. Sometimes if they feel like blocking a piece of cloth, they are blocking it as well. I can’t stop it. The children are by no means involved in the production process, but rarely if they want to do it for play, I don’t discourage it. At the same time that’s their community. That’s literally the name of their community. They’re “printers”. We too have gotten a little more comfortable with them doing it as a community and not having to hide the fact that their children also hang out at their workplace. This is the reality, and we don’t have to modify it to show a different picture to someone, for the very reason that this is the way they work and people need to understand it. It also helps them to have their children around as there’s no one to take care of or be with them at home, and they are too young to be alone.

CREDITS

25 Zero BUDGET THINGS YOU’D LOVE TO DO

25 Zero Budget Things You’d Love To Do

The Joy of Shared Experiences

There are many meaningful experiences we can partake in through the exchange of currency, but today we’d like to share with you some simple and beautiful zero budget activities that can bring us all a lot of joy and allow us to do more with our loved ones. 

1. Have a picnic

Picnics are always such fun – whether in our balconies under the sun or in the park amidst the lush greens. You’d love having all your favorite snacks and home cooked treats in a basket and sharing them with your friends!

2. Reorganize or clean your cabinets

What can look like a chore may quickly feel enjoyable to you when you look at and touch all your precious belongings and rearrange them by color, category, style or purpose.

3. Look for free city tours

This is one you’d especially like doing with your friends. Not knowing what you’d discover, going for free tours with them is like a scavenger hunt.

4. Window shop 

Window shopping lights up our creativity and imagination, where you’re able to look at things and just appreciate them for their beauty. What adds to the fun is seeing how people are trying to innovate with different designs and ideas every now and then.

5. Try new recipes

We don’t know what your style is but you can have a great time following the instructions of a new recipe and preparing a dish you’ve never tried before. It’s like a science experiment that ends with you having a delicious meal!

6. Soak in the warmth of the sun

Don’t you love how healing the morning sun feels when it touches your skin?

7. Create a book club with your friends

It’s a whole new experience to read great books with friends and think about the many interpretations everyone has of the same one!

8. Have a music night

A happy, messy gala night with everyone around. We wonder what your favorite karaoke song to sing will be!

9. Play in the rain.

From jumping in the puddles to letting yourself get wet in the rain, this would take us all back to our childhood selves.

10. Go to the public library

We’ve put this on the list even for our friends who aren’t book lovers! Public and local libraries have so much to offer – beautiful and quaint architecture, stories of the past, and books with unheard names and pencil marks.

11. Explore something that has always intrigued you

If a sport, subject, place or instrument (or anything else) that you’ve always felt interested in is something you can explore right now, why not try it and see what it makes you feel?

12. Call your loved ones

Staying connected with the people you love can always make your heart soar.

13. Host a potluck dinner with your friends and family

Potlucks are so exciting because you get to share meals you’ve cooked for each other, relish different flavors, and spend time together.

14. Go for a Walk

It can be so refreshing to feel all the sounds, sights and smells around you.

 

15. Watch a new movie

A popcorn party in your pyjamas can make you enjoy even the strangest of films!

16. Make paper planes or origami

Some of us might need to watch a video tutorial for this, but it’s so much fun once we get to doing it. Added joy: It looks sweet when we hang it by our bed with strings!

17. Go to the beach

Nothing can soothe you more than taking a swim or walk at the beach, watching the waves and building sandcastles.

18. Have a sleepover

You’d love the idea of a long night of conversations, snacks, and video games with a loved one!

19. Stargazing 

The glimmering stars have never failed to take one’s breath away. We’d always recommend going to a nearby viewpoint or laying on the grass to see their magnificence.

20. Make a camp or fort in the living room

For us indoor cats, camping at home can be so fascinating. A few bedsheets, books, fairy lights, and a couch or floor mattress can make such a playful fort. Don’t forget to switch off the lights to give it that outdoor feel!

21. Family game night

A great way to bond and catch each other cheating, would you like to see how far everyone will go to win?

22. Make a new meal from already stocked items at home

You’d find this as innovative as it is challenging. To make something from ingredients that you didn’t think of putting together before? We foresee a blend of interesting flavors or a tragedy of taste, but neither without their fun.

23. Draw something and admire its uniqueness

It doesn’t matter if you’re an artist or can only get yourself to do some stick drawing. Play with shapes and see what funny things you make!

24. Go through your baby pictures 

How long has it been since you saw your adorable baby pictures?

25. Mindful coloring

Relaxing and inspiring creativity at the same time, mindful coloring books can be a sweet way of adding some color to our day. PS – If, like us, you feel a little overwhelmed with books that have very intricate patterns, we encourage you to look for ones that have simpler designs.

We hope these 25 zero budget activities can add a little more pleasure and relaxation to your time, and that you add more to your list as you go on trying these!

CREDITS

Inviting Change in our Everyday Life

Inviting Change in our Everyday Life

Learning to Connect Deeply with the Ephemeral

2021 was a year that carried a lot of change for me. I changed fields and left a discipline that was a part of me for over ten years, lost one of my professors – a mentor, who in no short terms, (has) made me who I am, and moved to a city I knew nothing about barring its tales of traffic. Acclimatizing to a new pace of life, both at work and at home, and moving with the complexities of Covid-19 as it surged in India, there was so much change afoot that on most days it felt that I didn’t have my feet on the ground.

To need to “adapt” to change is a concept I found strange, more so elusive and imposed, since I was but a child, for there was nothing I found that would ground me through its course – not even its own unchanging consistency. Being here at IKKIVI, my colleague and now dear friend, Ms. Esha’s exploratory nature made me realise how poignantly I dislike change. I believe I have always resented it, sometimes even in the moments where making changes or changing itself held a lot of goodness and meaning. No matter how much we may accept Remy’s profound truth from Ratatouille that “change is nature”, change feels harsh to me – not necessarily because it makes our days and journey unpredictable or discomforting, but due to the constant movement and little rest its unfolding can involve.

Contemplating the beauty, value and near necessity of a slow and mindful approach to life that underlies the foundation of our work over the last several months, has nudged me into reflecting on my relationship with change. I have had the fortune to meet the shadows of my ‘self’ and soak in confusions to ask some critical questions about the pains of change and the ways in which I want to, or more so need to live, to be in harmony with who I am (becoming). Stemming from my own predispositions, my pursuits in philosophy have largely kept me engaged in inquiring about the metaphysics of our existence, but never so much in the subjectivities of our experiences and needs. Unsurprisingly – yet, to my joy – after years of detesting myself for being distinctly slow to “adapt” to the new, let go of the old, and to merge with the ebbs and flows of life seamlessly, when I looked into some particularities of my personality I recognised that I do not want to adapt to change, but invite it into my everyday practices. A minute play of language while it can seem to be in the beginning, as I went into the profundity of the real variances between the ideas and propositions of the two words, I saw that one softened me, opened my shell and offered me something, and the other unconsciously divorced me from the wisdom, sorrows as well as playfulness of change. But what would it mean to invite change? And does something that perpetually befolds naturally even be invited in the strictest of terms?

In as much as change signifies an alteration, reorientation, remoulding, reworking modifying or modification, renewal, evolution, or any kind of difference to specific forms, I believe it can. Change requires time, and does not frequently transpire at the accelerated rate that contemporary or modern living can mistake us into believing. The inhumane velocity of action that many of us unwittingly experience and become subjected to in such a domain I suspect plays a significant role in deterring us from being able to feel or fuse with the naturalness of change. What I have been discovering now through my experience and examinations is my intrinsic attunement to slow(er) living, and that slowing down from a metropolitan pace of life does not soften the harshness of change but enables me (and I hope ‘us’) to see that there is inherent softness in change itself – that the slower I move, the more tempered, correct and truthful change can feel; that we may not need to “adapt” to change when we are able to feel its naturalness (as much as possible).

Inviting such change has meant to consciously allow myself to differ from the ways I (have) know(n) myself to be, and appreciate the differences and movements around me. In practice this has taken the shape of keeping with a few everyday rituals at home, cultivating slow work values, learning from colleagues and friends, steadily letting go of what feels inauthentic or hurried, practicing being comfortable with taking more time to do things, and carving an intention each morning. Being able to feel the naturalness of change has encouraged me to integrate with two (among many other) of its essential elements – genuinity and beauty – in a way that I always hoped for: to experience and perceive lesser loss and pronounced unity in its meetings. I’d like to ask you what about ‘change’ disturbs or disrupts for and in you; what, if at all, you’d like to invite through it and what you’d like for it to give to you; what you’d like for it to mean and what you’d like to feel in its presence. These questions are stepping stones that can hold a space and bind us with the fluidity of our being, making it safer and more enlivening for us to explore the world and our place in it – and I’d love to know what that place looks like for you 🙂

CREDITS

With Team IKKIVI

With Team IKKIVI

Conversations on Who We are Becoming Together

This last year we’ve been pleasantly surprised to see how alike yet different we all are at IKKIVI. Not only through our commitment to making fashion more sustainable and living intentionally but also in exploring what a conscious lifestyle means and looks for us, eating together and discussing the dynamics of the human condition, we’ve become a close knit family. This week, we sat with each other to understand the impact working at a slow business has had on us, the personal values that mould the way we want to work, share some funnies, and learn about where we are heading as a team.

NIVI MURTHY

1. Has this been your first time being with a small business? What about this experience has been distinctive for you?

Prior to IKKIVI, I had started a fashion data analytics platform to support designers with data to help them with the problem of overstock. We are now slowly integrating the ideas we had in the previous business with IKKIVI in order to further support the 50+ designers we have on board at IKKIVI. Building and growing a passionate team has been very rewarding and I am excited for all that we plan on doing together.

2. During the pandemic, we were all working from home for over a quarter of the year. In what ways did this change re-shape your style of working? 

Working from home initially was a challenge for me along with the uncertainty of the situation we were all in. Other than the initial few weeks, I don’t think it really changed my style of working. With a family and a dog living in close quarters of each other it sometimes was a challenge to set boundaries between personal and professional time but as time progressed and we were expected to do it for longer I was able to get into some sort of a rhythm.

3. What is an advice you received about work ethic that has stayed with you?

Timeliness.

4. What do you love to do together with the team?

We’re all at different ages in our lives with different experiences and perspectives and I love having conversations with each one to understand how they think and where they’re coming from.

5. A personal value that informs your work at IKKIVI?

Kindness. A value that truly describes what we do at IKKIVI, encouraging kindness to the environment and its people. It is also a value that is part of the culture at IKKIVI, in interaction within our team and stakeholders.

6. The silliest person in the team, in your view?

Malini 🙂 Her personality and perspective never fails to amuse us all!

7. What are some skills or values you have learnt from each other that are now important to you?

The biggest learning I have had is to give ideas time, sit with it and then make a plan to achieve it. There always seems to be a million ideas but the key is to really focus on prioritizing, planning and executing to actually move forward.

8. Can you tell us about a project you are excited to work on over the next few months?

I am excited for us to start offline pop ups again in 2022! I am also thrilled with the response we’ve had with our Podcast on mindful living and excited to make a larger impact with it over the next months and years.

RHEA GUPTE

1. Has this been your first time being with a small business? What about this experience has been distinctive for you?

Over time I have worked with several different small businesses in varying capacities but IKKIVI is the one I have worked on for the longest duration (almost four years!) It has shown me the importance of long term commitment and the impact it can have in affecting change. When we began, slow fashion was something very few people knew of. With time, our audience has grown with us in numbers and well as in information, which allows us to delve deeper into addressing issues of consumerism and the systemic problems in the fashion industry.

2. During the pandemic, we were all working from home for over a quarter of the year. In what ways did this change re-shape your style of working? 

Being a freelancer all my life, I have always worked from home, so it didn’t impact my work habits-wise. However, the political climate in India before and during the pandemic has been heartbreaking to deal with and taught me to fortify myself, get involved in things I could be a part of and trust the power of community.

3. What is an advice you received about work ethic that has stayed with you?

This is something I have cultivated on my own and swear by, be honest about deadlines and have clear, honest communication with the people you work with.

4. What do you love to do together with the team?

Since we put the team together during the pandemic, I have been staying in touch over video calls, which have already allowed me to get to know everybody a little bit. But, I’d love to meet everybody on the team in person in the near future.

5. A personal value that informs your work at IKKIVI?

Our commitment to re-imagining a future for fashion and consumption which is rooted in supporting small business, ethical practices and a mindful, reflective way of living.

6. The silliest person in the team, in your view?

I know Nivi the best in the team since we have worked together for so long, so I feel honoured to have developed a genuine friendship to the point that we are both extremely comfortable being silly in each other’s company.

7. What are some skills or values you have learnt from each other that are now important to you?

Having worked with a few different startups and in a bunch of team structures, I have learnt how to give productive and clear feedback, how to think of the growth of the people I work with and how to creatively problem solve and at times accept limitations that come with a small team.

8. Can you tell us about a project you are excited to work on over the next few months?

I am excited to put together our invitations and press packages for our upcoming pop ups, it is going to be very ‘IKKIVI’ in its essence, slow and mindful, and I hope people enjoy them as much as we are enjoying planning them.

VEDHIKA HV

1. Has this been your first time being with a small business? What about this experience has been distinctive for you?

I have worked with startups before but my experience with IKKIVI has been unparalleled. I love the environment and work ethic. I appreciate that we plan things well in advance and are able to be flexible with our schedule as long as our work gets done within the planned timelines. We are clear about our responsibilities and able to collaborate with ease.

2. During the pandemic, we were all working from home for over a quarter of the year. In what ways did this change re-shape your style of working? 

Since I worked as a freelancer for a while before I joined IKKIVI, I was quite accustomed to the idea of working from home. I had a separate room, at home, as a dedicated work space which helped a lot. In fact, I had gotten so used to working from home that the idea of coming back to the office was terrifying and took me a while to figure out. Now that I have found my rhythm with it I enjoy working from the office and having my work and rest spaces be completely separate.

3. What is an advice you received about work ethic that has stayed with you?

A piece of advice that I received from my father has always stayed with me – He said that no amount of talent, skill or intelligence would matter if I couldn’t be a loyal, dedicated and reliable worker. People work with people they can trust so being honest would take me a long way and that has helped me along my journey.

4. What do you love to do together with the team?

Since it’s only been a few months of us coming together as a team it’s always fun to talk and get to know each other better  . We share stories and our different perspectives on topics and we always end up having a good laugh.

5. A personal value that informs your work at IKKIVI?

Honesty. It is one of my core values and it informs almost all of my choices. I try my best to be true to myself and honest with the work that I do. The environment also plays a big part in helping me stay aligned with this value. My colleagues support my honest expression and I’m very grateful for it.

6. The silliest person in the team, in your view?

I’m afraid I might be the silliest one in the team!! But, if I had to pick another person it would be Esha. She has the funniest stories and the most bizarre experiences to share with us.

7. What are some skills or values you have learnt from each other that are now important to you?

There is so much that I am learning, consciously and subconsciously from everyone on the team but one thing that I’m actively learning and practicing is managing my time and organizing my tasks better. Other than that, I’m also learning not to dwell on things that don’t work out the way we envisioned them to. I’m able to move on more swiftly to making improvements or to testing out new ideas.

8. Can you tell us about a project you are excited to work on over the next few months?

We are approaching the new year with so many new ideas and truly, I am excited about all of them but if I had to pick one it would be the monthly shops that will be curated by different influencers on our website. I’m really excited to work with different creators and see what they put together!

ESHA VISHNOI

1. Has this been your first time being with a small business? What about this experience has been distinctive for you?

Yes, this is my first time working with a small business and I truly enjoy how inclusive the environment is. We have the freedom to ideate, tweak things based on our instincts, there is room to make mistakes and learn at every step while we move forward with the business.

2. During the pandemic, we were all working from home for over a quarter of the year. In what ways did this change re-shape your style of working? 

It was my first time working from home and although work from home comes with its comfort and advantage, I really enjoy working in the office. There are innumerable miscellaneous tasks that get completed while we are in the office which adds a lot of value to the business overall and I feel this would not have been possible otherwise.

3. What is an advice you received about work ethic that has stayed with you?

One thing I’ve picked up myself by observing the people I look up to is, always communicating!! Communication goes a long way.

4. What do you love to do together with the team?

The first thing which comes to my mind, to my surprise, is our monthly meetings. I guess I love our meetings because we come together and help each other plan and organise our tasks. For me it’s fun to know how each one of us is so different with respect to the style of working but at the end our goals align perfectly.

5. A personal value that informs your work at IKKIVI?

Integrity.

6. The silliest person in the team, in your view?

Malini & Vedhika. :p I honestly don’t have a specific reason to support my answer because I just enjoy my time at work when I’m around these two. Just a small conversation lights up my mood and we always end up having a fun time together. 🙂

7. What are some skills or values you have learnt from each other that are now important to you?

One thing I’ve learned from everyone in the team is how to organize my work to have a good work – life balance. This is one thing I’ve always struggled with for the longest time but I feel I’m getting better by the day and I have no one to thank for it but my team.

8. Can you tell us about a project you are excited to work on over the next few months?

I am super excited about our Pop-Up!! This would be my first time handling an offline event which makes it even more special for me. We would love to see you guys at our Pop-Up so please do drop by and say Hi to us.

MALINI MATHUR

1. Has this been your first time being with a small business? What about this experience has been distinctive for you?

Yes, this is my first time working with a small business. Something that has been distinctive for me about this experience is working with a close knit team and multiple people on a single project and the collaborative ethos that we have here. I’ve mostly worked independently before, and I love being able to see the range of beautiful things we can create when working together.

2. During the pandemic, we were all working from home for over a quarter of the year. In what ways did this change re-shape your style of working? 

I really struggled with time management, for months on end. A couple of weeks into working together, we all had to work from home. I was still trying to understand the nature of the work as well as know my colleagues a bit and everything felt a little scary as I didn’t know where to start. After rushing to meet timelines multiple times (and failing frequently) at the start, things (organically) began to synthesise and I was able to visualise how I can work in a way that feels enjoyable and cohesive for me. Over the course what I discovered (and am still fine tuning with each month) was that I love working with fluid schedules – so that I have my work charted out, but am not bound by any rigidity with it. I’m also really excited to see how this develops in the long run as we experiment with different verticals at IKKIVI!

3. What is an advice you received about work ethic that has stayed with you?

From my Sociology professor – “Don’t be in a hurry to ace anything. Commit to the process of  learning each thing properly and spend your time exploring things you’re least likely to do.”

4. What do you love to do together with the team?

I feel that language is all I have (and am!), so I really love talking to them, about everything – work, our fears, our experiences, our peculiarities. And ofcourse, stealing food from each other’s lunch boxes!

5. A personal value that informs your work at IKKIVI?

I wouldn’t want to necessarily ‘claim’ it as a value, but I think sincerity – about projects that I love a little less than others, things that feel scary, some days that feel really exciting and some disorienting. I try to work with that flow and knowing, because that helps me build myself from a space of being human. And I honestly feel that it’s the primary attribute that is helping me grow and open up to doing new things.

6. The silliest person in the team, in your view?

Ms. Vedhika! She can be so witty even without trying. And I love how she can switch so smoothly between different kinds of conversations. Also her sweet laugh cracks us all up 🙂

7. What are some skills or values you have learnt from each other that are now important to you?

Over the months, I think, I’ve learnt different things from everyone in our team. But I’d describe them more as values than skills. I’m just listing them below because that’s how my mind works 🙂

Ms. Nivi – the value of progress (and completion) over perfection

Rhea – the importance of revision and discipline

Ms. Vedhika – honest dialogue about any conflict that may arise when working with each other

Ms. Esha – opening up to try new things, even at the risk of them feeling scary

8. Can you tell us about a project you are excited to work on over the next few months?

Our Podcast! We’ve been running it for half a year now, but the conversations we get to have with people are so valuable that I’m excited to see what we’re going to do in the coming months with it. Ohh, and the IKKIVI pop up that we are having in February.

CREDITS

With Nivi Murthy

With Nivi Murthy

Conversations on Exploring Diverse Business Values

Working with our Founder, Nivi Murthy, we at IKKIVI, spend a lot of time together on different themes, ideas and intentions. In the everyday hubbub of our projects, we’d been missing out on some conversations we’ve wanted to have with her for a while – conversations around the heart of her inspirations, experiences over the last couple of years, and the processes she sees entrepreneurs and ethical businesses need to be a part of. We got to meet with her this month and have a heartwarming dialogue about all this and more, and even learn about what she has planned for our newest vertical – ‘The IKKIVI Podcast’.

1. IKKIVI is now 6 years old. Does the business look different from what you had envisioned when you first started out?

The business has definitely evolved over the last 6 years into also being a voice for conscious fashion and mindful living. But what has stayed with us right from the beginning is the vision and passion to support and promote Indian contemporary designers globally by being a trusted curated online shop. We are ever evolving and constantly learning to be better and all-encompassing, but our vision is clear and we look forward to making a larger positive impact on our planet and its people.

2. What key quality has helped you sustain and build your business over the years?

Perseverance and passion.

3. What does ‘business’ mean to you? Did you ever think you’d be a business owner?

Business to me is the ability to create something new for the benefit of the people and the world we live in. I have always been passionate about solving problems and finding solutions but the first time I knew with more certainty that I wanted to create something of my own was during an internship while studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology. I was exposed to the supply chain and its inefficiencies leading to the problem of overstock and harmful impact to the environment with little being done about it. That’s when I felt the need to create and build something of my own that would have a positive impact.

4. You’ve had a full time team join you this year. But everyone had to work remotely for several months right at the start, due to the pandemic and lockdowns. What was that like for you? As a Founder and business owner, how did you navigate through all the changes and hiccups that came with that time?

I am grateful for the dedicated team we have at IKKIVI. I personally enjoy working with people and understanding them so I would say it was difficult that we had to work remotely almost immediately but we made Zoom work for us. We set up some processes right in the beginning so we could work towards our weekly and monthly objectives and tried to just put our heads down and go with what we could do considering the situation we were dealing with together.

However, now, I am more than happy that we get to work together in the office, we enjoy each other’s company, laugh more than required (haha) and are most importantly able to create so much more together in person.

5. What is a challenge you think every ethical and small business faces, and how do you think one can stay grounded and steady through it?

The idea that everything must be perfect. I think as small ethical businesses we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be perfect in all areas of the business and forget that it is a process of learning and evolving. I believe in the idea of progress over perfection and feel that one small step in the right direction is a start and those many steps over a period of time will only have a larger and larger positive impact. It is important to be kind to ourselves and commit to the idea of constantly learning and improving.

6. You launched a podcast this July and it’s been so refreshing to hear one on conscious living. What can we expect with it in the next few months?

I am so excited about our podcast! I thoroughly enjoy meeting people, having conversations and understanding the choices they make in their lives. This podcast has conversations with some very cool and interesting people on living very intentional and mindful lives. We hope through this podcast we can continue to encourage and empower our listeners to live more fully and craft the lives that they want to uniquely live. We have artists, entrepreneurs, activists and change makers lined up over the next few months and we’re really thrilled for you to be a part of this journey with us.

7. Any book or podcast recommendations on running a business that you can share with us? 

This past year I enjoyed listening to ‘The Farrynheight Podcast’.

8. A quote that you live by?

“Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force but through persistence” – Ovid

CREDITS

CHANGING THE CULTURAL NARRATIVE AROUND ACTION

CHANGING THE CULTURAL NARRATIVE AROUND ACTION

The Efficacy and Liberation of a Not-To-Do List

Today’s ‘hustle culture’ is very good at making us forget that we are mere mortals – it is about constantly being on the go, always over-performing and pushing our boundaries. From the second we wake up in the morning, we have a manual of instructions ready, a to-do list that is supposed to make us more efficient and outline our day. But more often than not, the efficacy is lost when we set ourselves up for disappointment each day with unattainable, humanly impossible goals, and we end up losing the very thing we are trying to catch – time. Every month or year is concluded with the same wonder of not knowing where it went.

A solution to this vexing catch-22 might lie in a revolution, or rather, an anti-revolution – a not-to-do list, which is based on the principle of subtraction. By eliminating tasks, it serves as the antithesis of a to-do list, questioning and classifying what is really important. It takes away the restrictions imposed by our rut every day and gives us the freedom to savour, and even, save time.

A not-to-do list may comprise of all the barriers to living a more fulfilling life – not checking your social media or work emails first thing in the morning.  Not giving so much time to screens. Not being absent in conversations, or even while carrying out the most mundane tasks. Not consuming so much processed food or alcohol. Not producing environmental waste. Not leaving our dirty dishes for later. Not buying anything for the day. Not worrying so much. Not staying up late or losing sleep. Not forcing feelings or motivation.

The list could also complement our to-do list – analyzing the things that did not work in the past can be put under the not-to-do list. This could be an important exercise in learning how to say ‘no’. The list could be endless and could consist of anything that enriches and adds value to our life. It is the act of letting go and acknowledging our existence as a human, and of finding beauty in small and all things, by slowing down and being more heedful. We need to allow ourselves to be more conscious and feel more. Even the most mundane tasks of everyday life carry immense beauty – to let ourselves feel all the flavours and textures in the wafts of our food, to feel the sun on our face or to observe the earth we walk on. Living slowly is also an act of reconnecting – with our surroundings, peers and most importantly, ourselves. By listening closely to what our bodies demand, be it more rest or more food, we are able to nourish and thank the body that carries us through it all. Gratitude has a certain grace about it – it establishes a mutually respectful relationship. A restoration of this relationship might be an urgent call, given the nature of our currently exhausting lifestyles.

Why is it that we allow ourselves a vacation to put our hair down only once or twice a year, when our current fast-paced lifestyle desperately demands rejuvenation a lot more? Paying more attention makes the second last longer and transform into mending minutes. It is also important to understand that slowing down doesn’t necessarily mean stopping; it solely implies stepping back, reassessing things and finding our own pace. By harmonizing ourselves with the rhythm of the earth and the flow of time, we might just be able to discover a new way of healing and feeling, and a more satisfying lifestyle.

CREDITS

Slow Living in Big Cities

Slow Living in Big Cities

Conversations on the Paradoxes of a City

Our lives revolve around urban cityscapes in a myriad of ways – as spaces of imagination, interaction and conflict, with every movement we make. Shaping the structures and discourses of a large part of our contemporary life, cities have growingly become the proverbial thread that links us to – and often separates us from – ourselves. With all their eminence and bustle, cities present us with a seemingly contradictory question – can we really practice slow living in big cities? At IKKIVI, we spoke with a few artists to understand how they think of the city, their engagements and quarrels with its guises and whether it can become a meaningful conduit to live more consciously and slowly.

NILANJANA BHATTACHARJEE

1.Your photography centres greatly on the ‘city’. Could you tell us a little about what the ‘city’ signifies for you, and how you would define it?

To me, the city is its light hum – the movement of vehicles, infuriating and consistent drilling noises from an ever-present construction site, rain befalling noisy roofs, three languages in one address. To me, the city is the sound and feeling of something in the works, of constant company and the people, stories and futures the audible movement of a city reminds us of. It moonlights as a fast paced life, but I feel so much is germinating – taking its time to come up. The city to me, primarily, is one that is constantly becoming. It is never quite complete and thus unsteady on borders – I find that very comforting, to think of a city that is yet to find out what becomes of it, much like most of its inhabitants.

 2. Your pictures have a particular nuance to them – as though you have intentionally photographed a scene mid movement. In what ways would you say your photography has a ‘slow’ character to it? 

It is photographing the city ‘becoming’ that is the fundamental essence of my documentation of it – most things I photograph seem incomplete. Which is why, almost as if by muscle memory, my frames seem to often have fragments of ‘another’ (person, object), or elements (people, spaces, contexts) in conversation with each other. It is like walking into a conversation mid-way,

you caught the last few words and it is photographing the articulation of what that moment would be, that is the feeling I document with. I like to photograph different portraits of what a slow city would look like – a cat lazily stretched into a snooze on a triple storeyed concrete landing canopied above with dusty, swaying trees, how sunlight makes different afternoons in different cities, how trees and plants consume the skeletons of concrete (old) buildings. I like to pause and indulge in collecting characters of the city that are forgotten on a hot, busy day in the city.

And while the city may be fast paced, it is an immersive experience in itself. It is precisely how consuming and demanding the city can be that prompts me to stop and find its various resting corners. Urban living is such a multi-dimensional phenomenon, but it is precisely that relentless integration of differences that makes me want to untangle it in my own language. It is a slow process, I’m only starting now. It makes me want to understand urban living beyond consumption, and as immersion – the latter being more purposeful in seeking, rather than aggressively consuming.

BETH CRANE

3. In what manner does your work interconnect with ‘slow living’? What was your intention behind starting ‘Slow Living LDN’? 

Slow Living LDN began as a personal project while living in London. I realised I wasn’t prioritising my well-being or other things that were important to me, aside from my career. I remember looking around at all the other tired-faced commuters and thinking, “I can’t be the only one who feels like this.” I started researching slow living for myself, but also wanted to share this way of living with others. Today, Slow Living LDN aims to inspire others to live more consciously, both for their own sense of well-being, and that of the planet.

4. What kind of growth or insights has the platform and your work inspired in your life, and in your vision of it?

Embracing slow living has helped me understand that always being ‘on’, busy or productive doesn’t equal success and it definitely doesn’t equal good health. Our lives are always in flux, and sometimes we’ll feel like we’re living in tune with our values and at other times, we’ll feel so far from that. So, I don’t believe in the concept of work-life balance, as it assumes work is not part of life, and that a perfect balance is attainable – it’s not.  I’ve also been reminded of the importance of nature for our well-being and how I find joy in living seasonally, and how this also helps me strive to live more sustainably, too.

EMMA FREEMAN

5. Your art concentrates deeply on contemplative and slow living. Could you tell us a little about what these terms and ideas mean for you? 

I love the definition of contemplation that I heard once, “a long, loving look.” For me, contemplation means that I am spending quiet time going deep within myself, deep within the world and deep within my art which brings back up to the surface such beautiful gifts that emerge as poetry, as stitching, as insights, as healing. I used to live a very fast paced life, always rushing around doing many things at once which left me constantly exhausted. Slow living has been a return to the natural pace and rhythm of my body and the way that we as humans were designed, to be deeply connected to nature and the pace it follows.

6.  The pace of life in big cities often provide(s) quite a contrast to mindful, immersive practices such as with your art. What role and influence have city and urban living played in your draw toward these practices? 

I have lived in cities for most of my adult life. I love the vibrancy, diversity and energy of cities. There is so much life happening within them. When I was living in Brooklyn, New York and working in Midtown Manhattan, I found myself craving something I couldn’t put my finger on. One day I decided to try making cyanotypes (also known as sun prints) on the roof of my apartment building. I walked along the sidewalk and picked bits of grass and leaves and experimented with making prints of them with the sun. I found myself coming alive in a new way through that experience. I felt like I was returning to a relationship with nature that I was forgetting by being surrounded by concrete and tall buildings, by commuting long hours on the subway and by working in an office with no windows or natural light. This art practice made me feel like I could breathe again. The role of the city was essential in that awakening because it was through the experience of suffering and feeling a deep longing for something, that I found a great peace within the art practice of collaborating with the sun and with the plants right in the middle of the city. I think having the experiences of living in cities has helped me feel intimately how much my soul longs for the trees and the sky, to hear the birds and the sound of my own inner silence.

LINA PACIELLO

7. What comes to your mind when you think of ‘slow living’?  

I believe slow living is about being more thoughtful and mindful. It’s not about doing everything slowly but rather at the right pace. Sometimes you need a slow walk on the beach, other days the body craves a run through the woods. It’s about letting things take the time that it needs and enjoying the process, not just the final result. Slow living as a concept was born from the slow cooking culture in south of italy where I have my roots so that’s a natural state of mind I have. We all love a sugo that has simmered for hours and that’s something you can apply to many aspects of life.

And it might sound cliché but by not rushing through life you learn to savor it. I have practiced so much in being in the present that I now am a complete ”here and now person” it has made me realize how precious life is and that we never will experience this very moment again so I inhale life as much as I can

8. Do you think such conscious or slow living practices are sustainable in big cities? What do you think we as common folk can do to connect more deeply with this lifestyle within the cities that we live in? 

The city is full of things that go very well with a mindful and slow living lifestyle. Sitting at a cafe looking at people or reading a book, walking in parks, going to old bookstores or antique shops. And not to forget museums and art exhibitions. These are all favorites of mine and I wouldn’t wanna be without them. Slow living isn’t so much about where you live but more a question of mindset.

TANYA KUZNETSOVA

9. Do you think ‘slow living in big cities’ is a contradiction?

The idea that living a sustainable, slow, mindful life is only possible in a rural setting largely comes from Instagram and all the image-crafting that takes place there. I firmly believe that any one of us can choose to live a conscious, green life regardless of where we are based, city or country! Cities are not going anywhere, and they are an environment in which vast swathes of humanity exist. It may feel counterintuitive, but life in a city – even a big one – can be just as sustainable if you continue to make the right choices. You can do things such as grow a patch of wildflowers for bees if you have a garden or even a windowsill in the city. You can pack your lunch, bring your own cutlery, or your reusable cup, and refill your water bottle. You can grow herbs for your cooking instead of always buying them in plastic, even if, again, all you have is a windowsill. You can be mindful of how many times you wear an item of clothing before washing it. The hustle and bustle of a big city cannot be an excuse to hide from the work towards better choices.

10. Beginning with mindful, conscious practices or activities (can) sometimes feel overwhelming, as there is much that can be done. Where do you feel may be a good place to start, for those who would like to welcome these practices in different forms in their own life?

I think that one of the reasons that people who live in a fast-paced, urban setting often find it harder to engage with more slow, mindful practices in their beauty or self-care routine, is because being busy becomes your default state. It is easy to be always on the go, especially if you don’t see much nature in your day-to-day life. We need to make time to slow down and notice things around, but it’s not impossible! If it feels overwhelming, or like it is yet another chore, I would suggest starting small. Commit to one positive mindful change, whatever calls to you the most. It can be switching to a bamboo toothbrush or meditating for five minutes in the morning. It can be committing to using up to what you already have in your bathroom and not buying more products on a whim. Anything to get you in the right mindset! Commit to that change for one month. Next month, add another small change and keep building towards a better lifestyle.

The five wonderful women we interviewed here are Nilanjana Bhattacharjee, Emma Freeman, Tanya Kuznetsova, Lina Paciello and Beth Crane and all images in this article are by them.

CREDITS