When it comes to clothing, I am a complete bargain shopper. I usually wait for the end of season sales to stock up on all that I need for the next few months and I pay more attention to the price tag than the quality of the fabric.
However, once I became a mom, I found that when it came to buying things for M I was suddenly much more conscious. Not only did I want to buy clothes that were soft, comfortable and didn’t have unnecessary chemicals/fake colours in them but I also found myself seeking clothes (and other toys/products) that were manufactured in a safe and sustainable environment. I know this sounds hypocritical but having a live baby in my arms made me that much more conscious of how cruel it is to put small kids to work in a factory and if I would never want that for my child, how could I support brands that used such practices even if their clothes were cheap?
Moreover, the more I shopped for M (I was blessed with so many clothing gifts I bought nothing for him for 6 months) the more I realised how most of the clothes that were sold in mainstream retail stores were ill suited for Indian weather. Either the clothes are made of heavy fleecy material that is too warm for Mumbai or the prints are filled with badly designed cartoon type stuff. And when it comes to Indian wear, all the clothes are so stiff with glitter that even I wouldn’t want to wear them! It is on one such ‘I-cant-find-anything-for-my-baby’ phase that I stumbled upon Indie Project Store.
Started in late 2016, India Project Store has this lovely fresh take on Indian traditional fabrics and they create contemporary and modern kidswear with locally produced and sourced fabrics. I was chatting with the owner Shilpi a while ago and she told me that the shop came into existence when they couldn’t find light weight, breathable protective wear for her (then) 1 year old. Her business partner and she were already working for an NGO and didn’t want to move farther away from their personal ambitions and so they decided to start a store that would help us continue to support the community in this unique way.
Today, Indie Project Store sources the fabrics locally, designs the products themselves and then passes them on to NGOs or self employed business owners to create more income generating opportunities. They also have plans of bringing in a variety of fabrics from all over India – including fabrics like bamboo, hemp and organic cotton – and creating many naturally dyed and hand block printed options, thereby creating a line of sustainable baby wear that parents can choose from.
I’ve personally got a couple of outfits from Indie Project Store for M and have loved them. The K-Kh-G kurta seen here in the photographs is not only incredibly light and soft but is also very trendy. The first time he wore it, I was a proud momma as he was getting looks from friends and strangers alike. In fact, so many people commented that they wished the kurta was available in an adult size! I also have a pair of ‘Starry Nights’ shorts from them in a natural indigo colour and they are M’s favourite because they are so roomy. Even after almost 30 washes, the colour has not faded one bit which is amazing because I have bought other mainstream branded clothes for him for the same price and they have succumbed in just 7 – 10 washes.
When I had a son, I thought I’d have to accept the reality that I would never get to dress him up in cute outfits and play with his hair like you can do with girls. However, the trendy yet natural clothes from Indie Project Store have given me hope! I now find myself regularly scrolling through their online store adding things on my wishlist for future.