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The art of creating mindful fashion for Gen Z

Fashion brand MoonRay by mother-daughter Karishma and Avantika Swali aims to combine traditional craft, art, luxury and innovation for today's customer 

From the first MoonRay collection. (Courtesy Moon Ray)

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How do you combine art, craft, nature and inclusive design to create mindful fashion? Ask mother-daughter duo Karishma and Avantika Swali. Two years ago, when Karishma, the co-founder of luxury brand JADE by Monica & Karishma and creative director of embroidery house House of Chanakya that has worked for names like Dior and Ferragamo, noticed her daughter's “purposeful sketches”, she decided to work together towards a brand that was conscious, dipped in craft like macrame, crochet, applique work, hand painting and tie-n-dye, and catered to the tastes of Gen Zers, or post-millennials. 

And so MoonRay was born. The duo describes the label as a “modern luxury brand curated for an ever-evolving community that wants to wear craft in a more contemporary handwriting.” The collection includes a ready-to-wear line of garments, hand crafted vegan leather shoes and bags and limited edition of 22 karat gold-plated jewellery.

Also read: Meet the artists who are giving old clothes a sustainable makeover

Karishma Swali (right); and her daughter Avantika, the founders of MoonRay 
Karishma Swali (right); and her daughter Avantika, the founders of MoonRay  (Company handout)

In an interview with Lounge, Swali talks about the inspiration behind the brand and what sustainability really means. Edited excerpts: 

What was that one exact moment when you decided to start the brand?

It all began about two years ago with a series of conversations that I had with my daughter Avantika when her doodles turned to purposeful illustrations, led by hope and a certainty that collectively our choices can make a difference. We felt the compelling need to combine our passion for art, craft, and nature into purposeful inclusive design. MoonRay is an expression that tells the story of young artists everywhere through innovation, craft excellence and mindful fashion.

What’s the inspiration?

MoonRay seeks to spread joy and foster change through an eclectic, free-spirited, conscious fashion line that speaks the language of art, innovation and compassion.

As Indians, we are all proud of our incredible craft legacy, the artisanal depth and skill levels that our country holds are truly unmatched in the world. Craft has so much inherent wisdom; I’ve had the good fortune of having spent over two decades experimenting and living with craft and I learn from it every day.

To preserve our artisanal heritage and our planet, we need to innovate, find ways to contemporise craft and make it relatable and accessible across generations, especially Gen Z, they are all so tuned in, and they are our wonderful future.

What sets MoonRay apart from rest of the brands? Who’s your target audience?

At MoonRay, we seek to be catalysts to creating a community with a collective conscience. As creators of luxury craft for the world’s finest brands for close to 40 years at Chanakya, we have had the great fortune of experiencing the joy of craft that our incredible heritage offers and learn from its innate wisdom.

Our future lies in responsible innovation with transformations that beget lasting change to preserve communities and our planet.

Through our collections, we seek to integrate meaningful hand-craft into everyday conscious fashion, accessible to everyone. Hand-craft at MoonRay has an inclusive approach, involving craft forms that are timeless, yet modern, engaging with craft communities from different pockets of the country.

Half of all MoonRay profits will always be invested in children’s education and animal welfare through registered not-for-profit organisations.

How do you ensure your products are sustainable?

We celebrate timeless, cruelty-free, craft conscious fashion that is luxurious, inclusive and accessible by all.

Each piece is crafted by master artisans, who are vital in maintaining our cultural sustainability. We are sourcing only the finest material—organic cotton and GOTS certified jersey, Forest Stewardship-certified viscose, indigo dyed denim, crochet crafted from recycled threads, a reclaim series crafted from industry waste fabrics and accessories created with leather made from cacti and plant bases are some of the key elements that have gone into making the first collection. We are a vegan company and none of the glues used in our shoes or bags come from animals. The clothes are made to love and last, not discard.

Also read: Want to make fashion sustainable? Make it accessible, verifiable

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