Inai is a creative space, where timeless leather pieces are crafted using exotic Italian/Indian leathers, handmade by skilled Indian artisans in their workshop based in Madras, India. Their business rests on sustainable fashion practices where they use ethically sourced leather from certified tanneries and also transform leather scraps leftover from production into beautifully handcrafted, one-of-a-kind designs. Their artisanal workshops are partially solar powered, in an effort to reduce our environmental footprint.
During the Fashion Revolution Week we had a quick chat with Shruti Ashok, the founder of Inai about Fashion Revolution India and her view on ethical fashion.
Why do you think it is necessary to be ethical and transparent?
The Fashion Industry plays a huge role in the impact on the people/workers involved and the environment. Being a brand, it’s the most logical necessity to keep in mind. Being ethical involves a multitude of factors, from taking good care of your workers/employees, fair wages, safe working conditions, environmental factors, and lastly being transparent to your customers about your business where-in allowing them to make responsible choices.
How is INAI doing it differently from others?
At INAI, we’re a brand that prides ourselves on handcrafting high quality products using premium Italian/Indian leathers in timeless designs that last for years on end. Our philosophy is ‘Buy with Love’, so we encourage our customers to purchase products they only truly love. Most of our leathers are either from dead-stock and we also up-cycle scraps and leftover leather from factory production cycles which helps in cutting down our consumption and keep wastage to a minimum. We only source our leathers from tanneries that follow environmental regulations and our certified, where the leather is a by-product of the meat industry.
Why do you think we need a Fashion Revolution?
I think this Global movement was long overdue and with the current scenario where Fast Fashion is spreading like wildfire and cheap clothing is becoming more and more disposable and such horrific incidents like the Rana Plaza and many such incidents point out to the fact that change is eminent and we as brands/consumers need to act responsible and demand change.
What do you think has changed in the last five years and how has the industry evolved?
In the past few years I’ve noticed that there’s been a small transformation with several sustainable and slow fashion brands coming into the market locally and around the world. Younger consumers are being made aware and starting to make conscious choices in their consumption. In India, brands are starting to explore different sustainable fabrics and practices and reviving Indian techniques and art forms that are dying. The industry is evolving, though at a slow pace, change is around the corner.
What is Fair trade according to you?
Fair Trade is composed of numerous factors but mainly involves with the betterment of the workers/farmers/artisans, the people who are responsible for the various products we consume daily. The main focus begins with providing them with appropriate wages for their work as well as safe working conditions.
How does INAI celebrate Fashion Revolution week this year.
It’s been a short span of few months since we've launched and we decided what better time then to let our customers know who the faces behind our products are. So we’ve been sharing stories behind our talented artisans so our customers can get to know them better and they get their well deserved credit. As well as being transparent about our process, sourcing and more.
About the Founder - Sruti Ashok
Sruti Ashok, from a young age always loved doodling and painting and spent her time drawing on any piece of paper she could find. This gradually led her to a design course at DJ Academy Of Design where she studied Communication Design for 4 years. She then proceeded to Mumbai, where she worked in design agencies for 3 years, on various creative projects.
Knowing deep down, that she wanted to start her own business, be her own boss, she decided to do something about it and moved back to her hometown, Chennai.
Having an inclination to fashion, the idea of starting a leather bag and accessory brand in India wasn't her initial thought, but her dad being in the same industry gradually altered her mind. Having no previous experience working in this field, she was apprehensive at first but excited and keen to learn on the job. She spends her days building and growing her brand, INAI, a creative space which combines the craftsmanship of Indian artisans and premium leathers in an ethical manner, crafting essential, timeless pieces that are handmade with lots of love and care