Introduction! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a high school teacher, a mom, a therapy-dog volunteer and an entrepreneur, and my journey to slow fashion was a slow and circuitous one. My first sustainable venture was a vintage furniture store in Burlington called Greystone Fine Furniture. We staged a three-story home with vintage furniture to show customers the versatility of well-crafted furniture from the past. This business morphed into a sustainable lifestyle store in Hamilton where I learned more about the importance of slow fashion. sariKNOTsari is the culmination of all that learning about sustainability and style mixed in with my own sensibilities as a mother of three and as a middle-aged woman who can now see past fashion’s hype to the damage it does to our world. As the creator of sariKNOTsari, I aspire to provide you with a curated collection of gifts, slow-fashion and up-cycled clothing, wellness products, and home decor that allows you to buy the things you need while making a difference in the world.
What inspired you to create sariKNOTsari?
I am a fourth generation Canadian of South Asian descent so, while I do identify as Indian, I am also very Canadian. After a recent family visit where I introduced my three daughters to India, I re-discovered the beauty of Indian textiles and aspired to find a way to incorporate them into my Canadian lifestyle. I also already understood the environmental impact of creating new fabrics and the importance of slow fashion. I got to thinking that in Canada our unwanted clothing gets donated and I wondered what happened to those gorgeous silk saris that South Asian woman had worn to one or two events and then tucked away into the backs of their wardrobes. It took some searching, but I found a way to track down those 5.5 yards of ephemeral loveliness, and with the help of a small family tailoring business in Delhi, turn those saris into generously-cut tops, jackets, dresses and other clothing pieces that can be layered for every season in Canada.
What is your favourite item in the shop?
Right now, my favourite item in the shop is the Lizzy Linen Wrap Pants. I developed this style on a recent trip to India where I was working with our artisans on new designs. These pants match almost any outfit and can be worn high or low-waisted! They look great on everyone and, like most of our clothing, are one-size-fits-all. They are a great representation of what we stand for at sariKNOTsari in that they allow you to buy less and wear more; a great piece that will last you years to come.
Where do you find inspiration when creating a new design/deciding what to sell in store?
Everything we do at sariKNOTsari is guided by the slow fashion movement. We aim to inspire you to buy less and wear more. By doing so, you love every piece you own and reduce your impact on the planet. We curate our products to make sure everything is ethically sourced, well made and versatile. By choosing to buy our items, you are making a statement to support sustainability over consumerism.
Most of our products are up-cycled including the sariKNOTsari Up-cycled Vintage collection. We do this intentionally to reduce the amount of product going into landfills. Artisans are able to use materials they already have to create beautiful pieces. Similarly, we make sure our items are low-waste and encourage our artisans to turn any scrap pieces into new items. For example, in our sariKNOTsari linen and up-cycled vintage lines, scraps from dresses and tops are used to make gift wrap, bunting and hair accessories. Brands like ours that use remnants to create new products also reduce the carbon footprint that would have been caused by the creation of new fabrics. By starting with high quality, pre-loved pieces, our artisans reduce on costs without compromising quality. This also allows us to provide products to our customers in a variety of price points, making them accessible to all.
We love to support artisans abroad and make the world a better place while doing so. However, we don’t believe this means we can’t support local talent too! For we feature ALTR Soaps, a company out of Hamilton that uses locally picked botanicals to make their products. These items benefit our local economy while benefiting the planet by only using natural materials…a win-win!
We work directly with our artisans for our sariKNOTsari collections, ensuring that they are paid a fair price for their labour. In fact, I travel to India to handpick sustainable fabrics and designs and ensure safe work environments. When we bring other vendors into the store, we research to see that they are following these criteria. In this way, customers know when they walk into our store that everything has a positive impact on people and the planet.
We believe that you can make a difference every time you buy something and encourage our customers to vote with their wallet. Many of our products support social causes in addition to being ethically sourced. For example, one dollar from every sariKNOTsari brand purchase, and $20 from every Elephant Necklace purchase, goes directly to Save The Elephants, an organization that protects elephants and their grazing lands in Africa. Our A Million Elephants collection helps create awareness of on-going de-mining efforts in Laos.
Your line is sustainable. Why is that important to you and sariKNOTsari’s values?
When creating the sariKNOTsari up-cycled vintage line, it was important to my team and myself to support the use of sustainable fabrics and practices. Fabric production is the second largest polluter in the world, and I didn’t want my line to contribute to this. At sariKNOTsari, we want to make sure our consumers use their purchasing power to benefit people and the planet. This is why we use certain criteria when sourcing products such as up-cycled, small batch, low-waste, compostable, artisan-made etc.
How are you planning on growing sariKNOTsari and continuing to be a part of the sustainable fashion movement?
We love connecting with other sustainable businesses here in Hamilton and abroad. For example, we host pop-up events at our store to feature other brands that are doing good in the world. We have begun to grow sariKNOTsari through selling our collections at other like-minded stores. We also have some great shows lined up this year including The Buy Good Feel Good Show and the Yoga Show.
Let us know if you’ve visited sariKNOTsari on James St. N in the comments below!
Peace & Love,