Hoomanwear: Stitching fashion, humanity, and sustainability together
We have been drowning in clothes since the start of the Industrial Revolution. Countless brands enter the market every month, and gimmicks like discounts, sales, and cheap pricing are commonly practiced in an attempt to attract more and more consumers. It wouldn’t be unfair to say that most of these brands overlook the sustainability aspect by failing to reduce their carbon footprint.
But sustainability in today’s date is no more just an option. The world is getting its act together and we are all trying to be more empathetic to mother nature. The above-average natural catastrophes that occurred last year were just the tip of the iceberg, and in the whole scheme of plans to fix the broken system what’s missing is- the POINT.
As long as the Fashion Industry is overlooked from the lens of sustainability, the attempt to make our planet more eco-friendly will remain a distant dream. But can sustainability and fashion truly go hand-in-hand? The founder of a rapidly growing e-commerce fashion startup, Harshil Vora tells us how he has been able to stitch both fashion and sustainability with the launch of Hoomanwear in 2019.
Finding Hoomanwear in the quest to build a sustainable fashion industry:
Fashion and sustainability are two very different things. Fashion is sexy, addictive, exclusive, and fast-moving. Sustainability, on the other hand, is about slowness, care, and responsibility. There are very few brands in the Indian market that have been able to club both under one roof, and Harshil takes pride in being one such sustainability enthusiast.
For many, the idea of linking fashion with sustainability just doesn’t feel right. There is also a question of if sustainable fashion is pocket friendly. The insatiable appetite for fashion means people are buying more and more clothes, and are discarding them quicker to chase the latest trends. In 2015 Harshil started keeping track of such existing issues in the industry in a bid to change the narrative around fast fashion as something CHEAP and BAD for the environment. He began looking for greener alternatives to the present adopted practices by the fashion industry.
His answer was a sustainable cause wear brand called Hoomanwear. It was a big hit. What sets Hoomanwear apart from all other sustainable fashion brands, Harshil says is its philosophy of conscious utilization of limited resources.
For Harshil all that glittered was always gold:
Looking for gold and ending up with a diamond is what sums up Harshil’s story and journey. In 2015, he launched Proinnovate to conduct educational training which later digressed into a Sustainability Empowerment Consultancy. After self-introspection and understanding the nitty-gritty of climate change, Harshil took a step back from Proinnovate in 2017, in hope of changing business as usual.
The more he researched the problems, the better he understood India’s poor landscape pertaining to lack of motivation amongst the fashion brands to become mindful and inclusive about concepts like upcycling, eco-consciousness, recycling, veganism, etc. while producing goods. That is when the seeds of Hoomanwear were sown in his mind; building a sustainable fashion brand that would appeal to woke consumers.
"I wanted to use sustainable fashion as a medium for communication."
Journey from only being a sustainability enthusiast to master of all:
He tells us that while starting and nurturing your own business might sound exciting but stepping in the ring and holding on is all about survival of the fittest. There were some major setbacks, but he believed he could do it, and the rest is history.
Having no experience in eCommerce or clothing design, he would often doubt his business’ odds of going live. One major thing that caught him by surprise was his insufficient knowledge about legalities and compliances like GST registration, accounting, filing taxes. So, he dedicated one whole year to research; showed up to work every day to learn things from scratch.
What were some challenges of building a socially conscious brand?
The not-so-eco-friendly packaging practices existing in the market motivated him to look into more sustainable sources. What materials to use? He came up with the idea to recycle used pizza boxes. At a later point, he realized that the sellotape being used for packaging was not eco-friendly either, so he had to change that too.
Something that Harshil was also very clear about since the beginning was that he wanted to start a brand that could grow sustainably and organically. He did not want to invest in paid marketing at any stage. And last but not the least, the problem that every entrepreneur has faced at some point in time is growing a suitable team. Getting the right people to work with him, who shared similar values was indeed a task, therefore, he ended up as a one-man army, managing pretty much everything. :D
On Hoomanwear’s commitment to sustainability and humanity:
At Hoomanwear, one can customize their casual wear as per their taste and choice- be it desi, cool, bold or cute. The brand is all about zero waste till the post consumerism selling stage. It produces zero plastic packaging products and ships the awesome line of products worldwide.
And, also the fact that they are a causewear Merchandise Partner for other brands/NGOs. They design a collection for a cause and donate more than 30% of their revenue to NGOs working with them. Hoomanwear empowers hoomans to proactively stand for and subscribe to ideals they collectively believe in, through powerful designs on sustainable clothing.
His advice to eco-conscious entrepreneurs :
"Always consciously looking to leverage the existing resources we have."
His suggestion to new folks entering the sustainable fashion industry is to not look for hacks of any sort. Instead, take the longest route if need be, to make sure that you have put in maximum effort to obtain maximum self-growth. Furthermore, one should always stay curious and formulate the right set of questions and start moving in a direction that answers all your questions.
Moreover, always keep your glass empty for lots of learning to make sure you know every inch of how business works. And lastly, learn TALLY and accounting.
Our two cents on sustainable fashion:
If there is a future fashion industry it will be a sustainable fashion industry. In the future, the labels will not only tell the material used, but also the production process of our clothing. Sustainability is the need of the hour, and eco-conscious brands like HOOMANWEAR should be your go-to sustainable fashion brands.