Starting Thursday, Usha Silai, the sustainable fashion label launched by Usha International Limited, one of India’s leading consumer durables company, in consultation with IMG Reliance, will be exclusively available at one of India’s pioneering multi-brand fashion address OGAAN, at their Malcha Marg store in New Delhi.
Usha Silai label is more than just a brand; it is a movement to eliminate gender disparity, and mainstream rural women into the world of high-street fashion garment construction thereby multiplying their earning potential manifold. The Usha Silai collection will have tags crediting the rural women and Usha’s intent is to fairly share the revenue with the ladies who have stitched these garments.
The brand strives to create a skilled workpool comprising rural women who can create clothes and accessories that can feed into the urban fashion market. It not only gives each of them a chance to become a successful entrepreneur, by learning, creating, and teaching others, but also reverses the migration trends in the rural areas by allowing them to work from where they are. Along with financial growth, creating garments for Usha Silai label also positively impacts their socio-cultural standing within their own communities.
The first collection under the Usha Silai label (#UshaSilai) has been created by rural women in four clusters under the mentorship of designers who understand the local ethos, and have imbued the collection with their unique take on the sensitivities of the region. Designers Amit and Richard Pandav, Sayantan Sarkar, Soham Dave, and Sreejith Jeevan, worked with local women from Usha Silai Schools in the Rajasthan, Bengal, Gujarat, and Puducherry clusters, respectively. The resulting ensembles – a glimpse of which was showcased at a special show on Sustainable Fashion Day during the Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort in February 2018 – are innovative and contemporary, and uphold the essence of the region.
This launch underscores the commitment Usha International made in 2011 when it incepted Usha Silai Schools with the intent to empower women at the bottom of the pyramid. Today, seven years later, marks a milestone event in the journey of these women who have honed their skills to have their garments find rack-space among toniest high-street fashion brands catapulting them into the limelight.
Usha International in partnership with 58 NGO partners and 14 corporate/institutional partners, runs over 16,646 Usha Silai Schools pan India today. Over 3,18,000 women have completed their course from these Silai Schools and nearly 14,000 women continue to learn and hone their sewing skills every day at these schools. The women, on an average have started earning Rs 1,800 per month, with the highest earning going up to Rs 45,000 per month.
Dr. Priya Somaiya, Executive Director, Usha Social Services said, “We are delighted to launch Label Usha Silai at the OGAAN stores. The collaboration with OGAAN will help the skilled rural artisans showcase their exquisite craftsmanship at a global level. We, at Usha Silai, are committed to being the catalyst of change and will continue to nourish local artisans and craftsmanship at the grassroots level.”
Jaspreet Chandok, Head of Fashion, IMG Reliance said, “#ReimagineFashion is a powerful narrative of empowerment and inclusivity in fashion. It establishes the principle that for Indian fashion to be forward, it needs to think local and leverage human potential at the grassroots level for the development of a sustainable livelihood. We are honored to partner with Usha International for this initiative. After a fabulous curtain raiser of the Usha Silai Label on Sustainable Fashion Day at Lakme Fashion Week Summer Resort 2018, we are now delighted to partner for its retail launch at OGAAN.”
Aashti Bhartia, Director, OGAAN, “The Usha Silai initiative very much resonates with our ethos at OGAAN — we work with designers that use Indian textiles and techniques and marry them with great design and a modern sensibility. This is the first time they’ve invited designers to collaborate and it is a great step for the Usha Silai school women. The designers have been well chosen; Soham Dave, Amit and Richard, are names we already work with at OGAAN. It’s an inspiring, ambitious initiative for a company like Usha to take forward, and we’re excited to be the retail partners for it.”