In a day and age when the garments we wear turn out to be one of the second biggest contributors towards pollution, Vedicaa Etiquette is taking a step towards sustainable fashion. A brainchild of designer Kamal Lochan Borah, and a combined effort with three of his friends — Pallab Dehingia, Madhurya Borah and Chandana Ramchiari — the Assam-based brand has been rewriting the rules since it started in 2016.
However, sustainable fashion is not the only sphere that Vedicaa Etiquette focuses on. “Before Vedicaa Etiquette, when I was working in Bangalore, I thought of coming back to Assam and promote the handloom industry with our traditional techniques,” said Kamal. From its inception, the brand has been focusing on promoting the local handloom styles of the Northeast.
Before the formation, much discussion and planning were necessary to bring out Vedicaa Etiquette to the brand that it is today, said Kamal. Thus came his trusted childhood friend Pallab who had just completed his MBA and had come to Assam. After the plan was laid down by Kamal, Pallab thought that a plan as such would need more hands on board which was not possible with just the two of them. They then roped in Madhurya who met the ‘childhood friend’ duo in Bengaluru while pursuing his engineering degree. The duo then contacted another childhood friend of theirs and his wife Chandana Ramchiari came into the team.
“During the inception, we were mainly focused on saris but due to some technical issues, we were not able to compete with the market,” said Kamal. After an intensive study, they witnessed a low variety of handloom garment options. The team then opted for regular and ready-to-use handloom garments. “Like a khadi kurta, waistcoat or a mekhela chador, those were the only options we fond in the Northeast. So we thought if we could make these into western casual wears something which can be used as daily wear then we would be able to take handloom to a higher position,” added Kamal.
Focussing more on natural dyes derived from, Indigo, Haritaki, Turmeric, Henna, etc, the brand’s unique somber and earthy colours are one which catches the eye of the onlookers. Kamal said, “Recently, we went to an exhibition show by IAGF in Delhi, where orders came from Brazil as well and this was sort of a huge success for us.”
With the primary target being women in the age group of 30-35 years, the brand’s ready-to-wear garments range from dresses to tops with a traditional touch and are sought after by many. So much so that much of their sale occurs through word of mouth and social media. “The readymade handloom garments are then sold off to Grassloom which is an autonomous brand of RGVN (Rashtriya Gramin Vikas Nidhi). Plus, we do retail thorough Nirmal Fabrics in the showrooms,” said Madhurya.
Even though the brand is relatively new, the production house employs quite a few people under its wing. In addition to the three in-house tailors, it also employs local women for hand embroidery works, apart from a few doing their dyeing works.
According to Kamal, the word Vedicaa is derived from the word Vedic which is the language used in the Vedas, an early form of Sanskrit. It was named to highlight their concept of originality. By originality, Kamal meant the usage of traditional weaving machines. “As for etiquette, it means exactly what it connotes, how to dress oneself, how to conduct oneself and one’s personality,” he added.
Since fashion is the second largest polluter in the world, turning towards sustainable fashion is the only way out of this global dilemma. “So, when we turn towards sustainable fashion it includes organic things like natural fibres, natural dyes. If we use these items to make garments than we could be an example for the safeguard of our environment,” he said. Moreover, according to Kamal, there are good options for sustainability in the Northeast. Citing examples of the usage of silk which includes muga, eri, etc, and the increased awareness towards the new era of fashion, Kamal believes in the future of the fashion industry coming down from the infamous crown of a major polluting agent.