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Indelust goes online

By Shruti Thacker  September 9th, 2014

There’s a new e-store in town, and this one wants you to be a conscious shopper. Indelust, the brainchild of Sana Rezwan Sait, is a curated e-commerce site for ethically-sourced art, fashion and design from India and Pakistan. “Our aim is to build a fashion business that is ethical and profitable with improved supply chain transparency, better industry collaboration and purchasing practices,” says Sait. The site is operated by New York-based Sait, who previously founded Maison, a concept store in Bengaluru (where she retailed Givenchy, Saint Laurent and Carven, to name a few), before moving. “E-commerce is so dynamic that I foresee many updates, changes, new features and designers,” Sait tells us, which will soon include ethically sourced products from Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
ELLE chatted with Sait about what makes her e-commerce site different.

ELLE: Why did you decide to launch
Sana Rezwan Sait: I had a personal dilemma about wanting to give back and make a difference. Indelust was motivated by the Rana Plaza incident last year, which killed and injured more than 2,000 people – all to meet market demands for cheap and fast fashion. This really propelled the idea to create a platform where artisans and emerging designers from the Indian subcontinent could be showcased. It’s focused on sourcing and selling products that will make an impact.

ELLE: How are other e-commerce sites and Indelust different?
SRS: We are a for-profit social enterprise that ethically sources fashion, art and home décor from the Indian subcontinent. Indelust functions in two ways. One, we source from emerging designers that make a positive social impact or are reviewed by NEST, a non-profit organisation dedicated to training and building artisan businesses in developing countries. NEST audits the designers’ manufacturing processes and gives them the tools to scale up sustainably. Secondly, we work directly with artisan groups that live in economically disadvantaged communities to help them reclaim their livelihoods. Many of these handcrafting traditions that have been around for centuries are close to extinction. The few clusters that do exist today are a testament to our heritage in the Indian subcontinent and that is why we chose to revive and support them. We are able to do so by creating a platform for a global market that demands quality, tradition and craft.

ELLE: How different is it working with Indian designers when living in New York, compared to your previous experience of living in India (Bengaluru) and working with international designers?
The seasons are different and delivery times are shorter around India. Designers are also more in control of their production and have capacity to produce surprisingly faster. On the other hand, in New York and other countries, you would have to wait six months for a delivery rather than three or less. Our suppliers are designers, and I love working with them. They are always ready to take my opinion on board and are happy to customise and tweak their designs a little bit if requested. retails Abraham & Thakore, Dhora, DRVV, Kangan Arora, En Inde, Lacquer Embassy, No-Mad, Safomasi, Kardo, Popinjay, Rachana Reddy and many more.