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This 25-year-old entrepreneur aims to make sustainable fashion accessible to everyone, not just rich

Every time people step out for shopping or take a virtual tour on the e-commerce platforms to get the best attire for themselves, they also strive for something that is affordable. Basiclly, a sustainable fashion brand for women was born from this thought – providing good quality and simple clothing, that doesn’t cost a fortune.

The Idea – Conceptualization to Reality

“The idea behind Basiclly was to make slow and sustainable fashion more approachable, likable and affordable. We wanted to design clothes that can be mixed and matched into countless perfect outfits, that are versatile and feel special, but are classic enough to keep on rotation for years,” says Vatsla Sunil Sanguri, Founder and Creative Head of Basiclly.

With a bachelor’s degree in fashion design, Vatsla always wanted to be an independent creator. However, it was only after working in the fashion industry and experiencing all the processes that are involved in the fashion supply chain, she decided to become an entrepreneur. In these three years, she identified the vacuum for high-quality essentials and basics in the Indian fashion market. Her passion to build an ethical fashion system and an entrepreneurial mindset paired with creative thinking led to the inception of the brand.

With Basiclly, Sanguri does not want to tread the path that fast fashion brands have been creating just to satiate an unending thirst for ever-changing trends. Instead, she aims to create investment pieces that are thoughtfully made. “We are doing this to build a progressive supply chain and a direct to consumer model that encourages longevity, reduces waste and champions transparency,” adds Sanguri.

What Basiclly has to offer?

The brand offers versatile and functional, everyday comfort wear for women that can be styled up and down as per the need of a modern woman.

They use 100% natural fibers like cotton, kala cotton (organic cotton), and linen — procured ethically from weavers and manufacturers across India. They make collections in smaller batches, using deadstock fabrics which are material leftover from big manufacturers that otherwise would end up in landfills.

“As the fashion industry today slowly realises the importance of the circular economy, we have to go back to the question of whether or not the product will be properly broken down at the end of its life cycle. As for natural fiber, they are biodegradable and return right back into the earth in a matter of months after they are used and discarded, unlike the synthetic fabric flooding the apparel market today which takes hundreds of years to break down,” points out Sanguri.

Sustainable Fashion: Only for the rich?

While sustainable fashion may not be a new term, it is making all the right noise currently. Sustainable fashion has also been tagged as “only for the rich”. Sanguri believes that it not entirely wrong. She says, “Sustainable clothing can be quite expensive. High base costs due to sourcing natural and organic materials and paying people a fair wage, compounded with retail markups make sustainable fashion inaccessible for many.”

She further adds, “In the traditional fashion retail system, products are usually marked up by at least 10x by the time they reach the customers as brands pay out various middlemen and tag on additional markups throughout the process.”

Irrespective of the underlying issues, Sanguri talks about how she is eliminating these roadblocks for her new brand. She says, “We believe that selling direct to consumers by cutting the retailer is the key to make sustainable fashion affordable and make it accessible to a larger audience. This way we can sell our goods at affordable price points without compromising on the quality of our materials or our ethical standards.”

Redefining Fashion in India

The current Indian fashion industry is on the verge to be on par with international standards. People in domestic countries adopt a style that is accepted globally. India is reflecting a rapidly increasing middle class and a powerful manufacturing sector, making it a focal point for the fashion industry. These forces, together with growing technology and awareness, makes India very important for the international market.

With value creation as the core objective of Basiclly, Sanguri wants to redefine the way consumers in India approach fashion and interact with their garments by inspiring them to consider their garment’s purpose and lifecycle. “We want to establish and promote a system where we make lesser but better products that are versatile and will last longer compared to the disposable fast fashion clutter,” adds Sanguri.

Sailing through Covid-19

The outbreak of Covid-19 was unprecedented for everyone. No business, whether big or small, has been immune to the effects of the pandemic. Things have become even more complicated for a relatively new brand like Basiclly. Talking about the impact of Covid-19 on her business, Sanguri says, “We had to push and delay our planning for upcoming collections due to the lockdown. It interrupted our plan to expand the product range and reach out to a larger audience.”

While consumer engagement was up at this time as more consumers found themselves at home, the traffic didn’t translate to conversion for Basiclly. However, Sanguri had to reevaluate and find measures to adapt to the current situation.

She further adds, “Currently, short-term performance is a key priority for us. Customer activation, focusing on conversations and amplification of our digital presence is what we plan to work on to recover and grow.” Sanguri is also utilising this time to use our brand voice to maintain connections with the consumers to build a community around our brand.

Building deeper connection with customers

E-commerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart have become a lifeline for so many smaller brands, making them and their products accessible to millions of potential customers, across the country.

Currently, Sanguri is directly selling her products to customers through her Basiclly website and social platforms and she intends to keep it that way for now. “In order to stay unique in every possible way, we would utilize our own website to attract consumers and try to build a deeper connection,” concludes Sanguri.

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