November 4, 2015

MFI by Myntra launches designer brands Pluie and Vaishvik

by Anusha Narayanan

We began tracing Myntra Fashion Incubator (MFI) last week with the first article, in this series of four. Here, we take a closer look at the brands themselves, and the designers-in-residence (DIRs) behind them. The first two, in no particular order, are Pluie and Vaishvik.

Harleen Kaur, of Pluie, runs a children’s clothing brand which re-creates the memories of her past, her childhood, to revive “that age old tradition of making clothes with love for your little ones, like the ones my grandmother used to stitch and knit for me. Hence the idea of Pluie came into being, to make clothes with love for your little ones.” And in the same string as this idea of reviving the traditions, but from the perspective of highlighting Indian history and legacy, is Vaishvik. Says Rajesh Marathe, creator of Vaishvik, “I didn’t find a single lifestyle brand focused exclusively on ancient Indian civilisation. That’s when I decided to start working on Vaishvik.”

Here’s taking a closer look at them individually….

Pluie, Harleen Kaur

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For Harleen, Pluie is an extension of her lifestyle, inspired by nature, its details, functionality and beauty. She string her thoughts together, “I also love to draw inspiration from the past, the lost art, words and techniques of making clothes with the hand and creating something appropriate for today’s time.”

Designing for children is never an easy task. We have featured design for children in books, toys and games, and products before, and apparels isn’t an easy task either. But what makes Harleen keep at it? “I love to play and interact with kids and so I try to understand their psyche,” but she also adds,”It’s tough to hold them down and take feedback or try clothes on them but working around them is super fun as their little gestures just make up for a bad, stressful day.” Well, can’t blame her for all the good, happy vibes they bring with them!

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What does she take into account, while designing for kids, we asked her. “A kids’ brand needs to take into account all the needs and wants of the kids and also the parent who is the prime customer making the purchase for their kids. It is more of a technical task when it comes to silhouettes, choice of fabrics and trims, garment dyes and washes, as kids outgrow their clothes quickly.”

Pluie, focuses on using only cotton-based fabrics which are friendly and breathe. The silhouettes are airy and fluffy with a lot of smocking details to provide an aesthetic and room for movement. The tiny intricate design details make the wear, comfortable for the ever-energetic children. Besides being a designer, Harleen also has to oversee the business side of a design enterprise.

She shared the entrepreneurial side of the story saying, “The biggest challenge I faced as an entrepreneur was trust. There are times when you don’t believe what you see, so you have to shut your eyes and keep moving with a blind faith that things will work out in the end. It might or might not work out but you’re not scared to risk it with your eyes closed and that’s what it takes while dealing with a lot of people in the business. You have to trust them for them to trust you with your work.”

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About MFI, Harleen believes the program has taught her the ways of the business and shown her, her own strengths and areas for improvement, moving forward in her journey . “Gaining insights into the business of fashion through the experts themselves; knowledge on time, resources and financial planning; and also understanding the difference in an online vs offline business plan has helped her better the brand.

“There are so many fashion brands and designers in the worldwide. How do you want to distinguish Pluie?” we asked Harleen. She responds, “Pluie is a focused brand with a defined direction and value system. When placed globally, I want it to speak out loud for Pluie’s fabric quality, thanks to a country of beautiful hand spun textiles. It’ll be great to use our indigenous excellence and explore global frontiers for brand expansion.”

Vaishvik, Rajesh Marathe

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How it all began for Rajesh, was like a time-travel to this native town, and the lingering taste of nostalgia that comes with it.  “I was living a perfectly happy life in Mumbai – a well-paid job and a happy family. As far as I remember, I used to get lost in past memories. My body lives in the present but my soul always travels back in time. And I used to love spending time at my native place and in rural India. I felt connected to my roots there and I believe that was the trigger point. Past + India = History of India.” That’s where Vaishvik is rooted, and rightly among his inspirational brands, is Fab India.

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About the interesting story of his long journey, he reminisces, “I used to sell my brand in small exhibitions. But I always wanted to bring forth our rich heritage in a way that will be appreciated by today’s youth. I want Vaishvik to be known as a sincere commentary on Indian history. But of course there have been many fond memories as well. I remember the day when a lady came to our stall and after seeing our concept and designs she literally broke into tears. Now moments like these are precious. It’s an amazing feeling when you realise that your initiative has touched someone’s heart.”

Being from an engineering background, Rajesh isn’t the typical fashion designer. Being on outsider he had no mentors, nor contacts; “I spent hours rather days on creative platforms to find artists for designing my t-shirts. Also getting the right vendors on-board is equally important but an everyday struggle. I’ve roamed for days and months in bylanes of Mumbai to find right people,” he says.

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Vaishvik’s designs are about helping people relate to their Indian roots; it’s not all about quirk, but about history, charm and antiquity too. The idea is to spread the word on India’s historic contributions to mankind in various fields such as science, dynasties, wars, folk stories, spirituality, sports, romance etc, which makes it flexible and extendable beyond clothes into other products as well.

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About the MFI, Rajesh says, “The biggest advantage that MFI has provided me is to be able to connect with the right people in the industry, renowned designers, industry experts, vendors etc. I still remember how much I struggled to find right people for my brand.”

And now (drumrolls), here is the tough one. We asked him, “How do you want to distinguish Vaishvik from all the other brands and designs existing today? “Going forward, every purchase you make at Vaishvik will be counted and a small portion of that will go towards preserving ancient Indian heritage and legacy.” An optimistic and enthusiastic answer from a bright, dynamic, serious entrepreneur.

We wish Pluie and Vaishnvik, the best in all aspects…

This is part of a four-part series on Myntra Fashion Incubator and its Designers. For the rest of the articles in this series, click here.
To know more about MFI, visit the website and keep an eye on their Facebook page.

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