‘Fashion is always evolving… I hope it also comes with caution towards the planet’

 ‘Fashion is always evolving… I hope it also comes with caution towards the planet’

Urshila Rao Ganji (left) and models sporting her athleisure collection

Rajkumari Sharma Tankha

Urshila Rao Ganji, 25, was working with a corporate firm when the pandemic hit, and work moved from office to home. Like many other women, WFH neither satisfied nor excited her enough. So she began researching on startup opportunities. She wanted to start her own business and was very clear that she only will enter a field that really interested her. Being a fashion enthusiast, sustainable fashion is what excited her the most, and Urshila decided to set up her own business. That’s how was born OG & Co, in 2020.
“Even as a child, I was always artsy. I made paintings and designed clothes for myself, which used to be enquired about. I always had a strong fashion sense. I even hold a Diploma in Fashion Design but most of my understanding of fashion has come from my own creativity and watching other designers’ style of work. I do not think fashion and aesthetic sense is something one can learn,” she says. The brand launched its first collection – of athleisure line crafted from hemp, bamboo and beech wood featuring a range of unisex beech wood blend crop tops & shorts, bamboo blend tees & tanks and hemp blend joggers & hoodies.
In conversation with Life & More, Urshila who is also the Creative Head of her company apart from being its Founder, tells us more:

Being sustainable is fashionable these days. But I am sure, it needs a lot of care and caution…
Being sustainable is more than a fashion statement, it’s a reflection and extension of who you are as a person. It educates consumers on better choices. When we started sampling for our designs, we were very sure to formulate our own fabrics and had a lot of changes in the process and figured the right ones for each style. None of these fabrics are readily available in the market. It definitely is more expensive than working with other organic fabrics, or the ones that already exist in the market. It was tougher to work around these as these are extremely soft, and we used a mid-level gsm composition for them to be light. It does require of a lot of labour and time, and I was blessed to have great vendors for achieving this.

How challenging is it to produce fabric from hemp, bamboo and beech wood?
It is quite challenging. It took us a lot of time to experiment with the fabrics for each style and figure out the right one. Hemp is strong and thick which we use for our hoodies; the lighter fabrics like Bamboo and Beechwood (Modal Slub) are used for tanks, crop tops & t-shirts.
We do want to introduce a lot more fabrics which are from soya, orange peel and a few more, but this is our first collection and we picked these as they suited best for an athleisure look & also very climate friendly for Indian climatic conditions.

Why enter the athleisure market?
I did a lot of research while exploring sustainable fashion. Reports from major research firms including PWC and Deloitte showed the rise of freestyle and athleisure clothing, mostly preferred by all age groups, especially ranging from 14-40 – which is a wide range. It does have a very multi purchase approach to it.

How has athleisure market grown in the last two years, particularly in view of the pandemic?
It has indeed grown a lot in the pandemic. With offices being remote and everyone working from home, people have shifted to casual clothing. A while ago wearing joggers to the airport was not an ideal sight, whereas now it is the most ideal outfit to wear. Fashion is always evolving and flowing, and I only hope to see an evolution minding a caution towards the planet.

Who is your target buyer – the age group, the gender, the city you are aiming to hit.
We are targeting the GenZ and younger crowd as they are much more informed. Having said that, fashion is for everybody, and I don’t think age is a barrier anymore. I would love to believe OG & Co caters to all age groups. Anyone who is interested in organic produce, basics and classics made from natural fabrics, is our customer. Our clothes are also gender neutral.

What are your future plans?
We are excited to get started and bring more variety, which is already in the pipeline. More styles to come, more popups, and collaborations coming soon.


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