Respite from the relentless stream of bad news can come from various avenues and retail still remains one of the most potent forms of therapy. But the present times have seen how shopping can double up as a means to empower our country to cope with the merciless wave of the virus in the form of countless brands and designers coming forward to help. While some have been backing craft communities, others are donating proceeds from their sales to non-profits that have already been doing exceptional work in aid of Covid-19 relief. So while you indulge in retail therapy, you can make it a tad better by also helping out and empowering others in assisting distressed communities. The fashion world in India has been exemplary in stepping up and while there are many more big and small brands, here’s listing a few:
Who: Tarun Tahiliani (@taruntahiliani)
Relief work: Donating a percentage of his sales from May-June to Dastkar.
Designer speak: “As India grapples with Covid-19, independent craftspeople and artisans are under serious financial stress. Their livelihoods have dried up and they are struggling for basic resources. Just like last year where we supported Dastkar — a society for crafts and craftspeople — this year too, we extend our support. A percentage of our total sales for this month and the next is being donated to Dastkar’s Artisans Support Fund. It is our sincere hope and prayer that with the much-needed financial assistance from this fund, the karigars, who are the backbone of our fashion industry, will be able to help to nurture themselves back. After all, we, as designers, must come together to give back and support artisans and craftspeople from across the country in whatever way we can.”
Who: JJ Valaya (@jjvalaya)
Relief work: Twenty per cent of all sales to Hemkunt Foundation, Khalsa Aid, Covid fund by Give India
Designer speak: “As our beautiful country fights against a lethal invisible enemy, many are left helpless and defeated in its wave. We commit 20 per cent of all our sales to these three incredible organisations who are selflessly helping as many as they can. We also humbly request all of you who can, to support them as much as possible.”
Who: Saundh (@saundhindia)
Relief work: Saundh has built a free Covid-19 treatment facility with up to 175 beds in Surat, near its factory. The social initiative has been headed by its CSR wing Ikjot, an NGO which works towards providing infrastructure support for tribal schools and other education needs. They have also been distributing 10 dozen bananas and 1,000 packets of buttermilk daily, to five government hospitals. Saundh is also extending financial and logistical aid to people who have lost loved ones in the wake of the pandemic but haven’t been able to provide a proper farewell with their all-India helpline number (9924019434) to support with the last rites.
Brand speak: “As the country battles the second wave of the pandemic, we have all come together in many ways to help and support the community. Saundh from its inception has been all about building a tribe that shares a value system and leans on each other. We have never been vocal about our CSR arm Ikjot that continously strives to better the community, provide aid, and help those who need it the most.”
What: Ka-Sha (@ka_sha_india)
Relief work: Partnership with Raaha Consulting and their latest initiative called The Artisan Shop, which is a movement for collective action to support weavers and artisans by giving access to consumers globally, to buy directly from the makers. Their online store is available for 30 days, starting May 17.
Brand speak: “The Artisan Shop is a movement for collective action to support our weavers and artisans by giving access to consumers globally to buy directly from the makers. The donations and relief pouring in is significant but when asked, the weavers and artisans want to continue to work, to grow their business, to be able to continue doing what they love and feel empowered through sales! We have partnered with @raahaconsulting and @loomandhand to work towards this common vision.”
What: Obeetee (@obeetee)
Covid relief: Vaccination drive for employees and families
Brand speak: “Obeetee has over the years been its people’s brand, which has been the backbone of the brand and helped us grow. We have been taking initiatives that are beneficial for its weavers/employees and vaccination is one of the major requirements for all of us. The vaccination will be done for all our employees including their family members while maintaining all the Covid-19 protocols. The initiative aims to ensure the safety of our working family as well their beloved ones.”
What: Lecoanet Hemant (@lecoanethemant)
Relief work: Twenty-five per cent proceeds from their sales in May to go to the Hemkunt Foundation
Designer speak: “We, at Lecoanet Hemant are deeply indebted to the frontline healthcare workers, organisations for providing Covid relief and the civil society at large for coming together in this time of crisis. In that spirit, Genes pledges proceeds from its sales to the Hemkunt Foundation, for their tireless welfare services to those affected by the pandemic.”
What: Payal Khandwala (@payalkhandwala)
Relief work: The brand will be donating 100 per cent of its profits from the months of April and May to the Hemkunt and Ketto organisations and also to the people around them, including their employees who have got Covid or need any medical help for family members.
What: Arpita Mehta (@arpitamehtaofficial)
Relief work: The brand introduced #WishfulWednesday, where on every Wednesday for the entire month of May, their kaftans will be available at 20 per cent off. All proceeds from the sale of these kaftans will be donated to different verified organisations helping with Covid relief.
Designer speak: “Our nation is grieving and so are we… we are not just going through this, we are going to grow through this. The current situation faced by our country is considerably more dire and is the worst the world has faced so far. It’s time for us to do more and the efforts need to be made immediately.”
What: Fizzy Goblet (@fizzygoblet)
Relief work: The brand raised over Rs 4 lakh with their 24-hour oxygen support drive on April 27, which they donated to the Hemkunt Foundation. They have now pledged 10 per cent of sales proceeds from each order of their ‘A Better Day’ collection to the Uday Foundation, Feeding From Far and Khalsa Aid.
Brand speak: “Let your Fizzy Gs be a reminder of your kindness. We invite everyone to take this opportunity to make a contribution this is life-saving mission.”
What: MellowDrama (@mellowdrama_official)
Relief work: Hundred per cent of proceeds from their sales from May 8 to 15 to go to the Hemkunt Foundation and Doctors For You.
Brand speak: “As we continue to live our lives amidst such heart-wrenching times, we at MellowDrama believe that it is equally important to give back to the society that has helped us reach where we are today, as a token of the love and appreciation we have received.”
Brand: Aranyani (@aranyaniatelier)
Relief work: Out of their continuous work for their community (around Whitefield, Bangalore), they have distributed 2,500kg rice, 2,500 masks, allotted 1 per cent of their turnover to the Aranyani Educational and Vocational Trust, which is currently sponsoring education for three children and will take up 18 more children in the current year 2021. They have provisioned medical insurance to each craftsman and they are all supplied with free vegetables and produce of the Aranyani orchards. They have also started working closely with the Sri Sathya Sai Super Speciality Hospital in Bangalore to ramp up oxygen production and have organised a vaccination drive for all Aranyani employees (over 150) and their spouses.
What: AMPM (@ampmfashions)
Relief work: Thirty per cent of all the sales during the month of May will go towards helping people get free and easy access to a vaccine.
Brand speak: “In the last few days what has become extremely clear is that vaccinating everyone is the only real way out of this. That is our best chance to attack the problem at its root and the faster we do it the better.”
What: The Jodi Life (@thejodilife)
Relief work: Fifty per cent of sales between April 26 and May 2 were donated to the Hemkunt Foundation. Shoppers were encouraged with a 20 per cent discount.
Brand speak: “This was a very personal decision as being silent was not an option. Each of us is dealing with loss and so, regardless of what others do, where we can help, we will help. Our personal experiences gave us a sense of urgency, which made us one of the first brands to step forward to help.”