This Wedding Season, Take A Chance On Pre-Loved Couture


Finding the right outfit is equally (if not more) important, as locking in the right guy for your big day. But over the last couple of years, the definition of ‘right’ in the bridal world has changed. From wanting all things ostentatious and new to now preferring vintage and heritage – the modern brides now look at fashion beyond the one-dimensional lens of the latest trends.

The concept of sustainability and circular fashion first became prominent in conversations about everyday ensembles, the focus has now shifted to the world of couture and the magnanimous waste that comes with it. Enters Saritoria, a label founded by Shelina Soomro and Pernia Qureshi that offers pre-loved couture by premium South Asian designers – increasing the longevity of the garments and passing on the histories of the wearers etched to it. In conversation with both entrepreneurs, ELLE India finds more about the concept and the execution of their sustainable labour of love.

ELLE: You spearheaded multiple ventures as an entrepreneur, how has your experience been launching and navigating Saritoria?

Pernia Qureshi: After selling Pop Up Shop I wanted to continue to do work that was relevant for the future of the fashion industry. I’m a restless soul always waiting to create the next big thing that will break some new ground. Shehlina and Omar had already started the work on Saritoria when I joined them as a founder. I remember from my first conversation with Shehlina thinking that this was a fabulous idea and the need of the hour. I, of course, brought my own flavour and point of view to this brilliant idea. What is important is that we collectively believed that South Asian fashion needs a revolution. More is no longer more; it is wasteful and the world should no longer have to deal with wasteful fashion. It is crucial to savour, save and celebrate what we already have. We love that we have created a business that is a win-win for everyone, the buyers, sellers and the environment!


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ELLE: For the brides prepping their trousseau, why would you recommend pre-loved couture to them? 

PQ: For brides prepping for their trousseau, I would recommend preloved couture because this way they don’t need to compromise on the designer names they love and at the same time they don’t have to break the bank. Wedding shopping can be extremely stressful and expensive. Buying pre-loved pieces remove that added pressure of paying for new designer prices. An added incentive is also that as a bride your purchases are sustainable as you are participating in a more circular way of consumption.


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ELLE: Where did the idea to start Saritoria stem out for?

Shehlina Soomro: The pandemic allowed us to reflect on the important things in life. A lot of us realised just how much ‘stuff’ we accumulate and use the various lockdowns for clearing up as well as the much needed mental detox. What became clear was that South Asian clothes take up a lot of closet space and hardly get re-worn in comparison to western wear, despite the huge amount of human and environmental resources required for each garment. Fashion accounts for 10% of global CO2 emissions, 20% of wastewater and 35% of microplastics. Climate change is going to impact South Asia disproportionately to other parts of the world, which is why we need to take ownership as a community and reconsider our choices. There has been a lot of talk around building back better after the pandemic and we wanted to create Saritoria as a solution to empower the 1.8bn South Asians as well as a diaspora to join the circular economy.  Given 85% of textiles ultimately end up in landfills or are incinerated, it was amazing and also shocking to discover that, unlike western brands, there was no easily accessible solution to extend the life of the garments… and so Saritoria was born.


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ELLE: Saritoria is a great medium to restore luxury fashion in a circular manner – tell us about the process of how it works?

SS: It’s super straightforward, sellers can list their garments for free on the website with either a few clicks on their phones. Or they can even send their items to our offices in Delhi, Mumbai or London so that our concierge service can do everything for them. This process is totally free and we only take a commission if something sells. At that point, the items are QC’ed and authenticated by our in house experts and then sent to the buyer. For a buyer, you are getting high-quality items for a fraction of the price that has been inspected and verified by experts and once they have used the item they can even go ahead and sell it again if they want! We’ve already seen a number of items are relisted by our buyers – how amazing is that?

- Junior Digital Editor


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