Fashion Talk
Shalini Sharma & Shweta Pundir Sharma

Shalini Sharma & Shweta Pundir Sharma

Founders
Six Yard Story

Flaunting Indianness

Six Yard Story is a premium artisanal brand with a focus to bring handloom saris back in vogue. In an interview with Fibre2Fashion, the founders Shalini Sharma & Shweta Pundir Sharma, discuss their fascinating story of leaving their corporate lives behind and starting a sari brand with the central idea of empowering weavers and reviving slow fashion movement.

Fibre2Fashion: When was the company established?

Shalini Sharma & Shweta Pundir Sharma:

The company was incorporated in Aug 2020. Six Yard Story is a premium artisanal brand which embraces traditionalism rooted in an Indian craft aesthetic. Central to our ethos is the empowerment of weavers and revival of the slow fashion movement. By focusing on these aspects, our endeavour is to bring handloom saris back in vogue as a regular wear and entice our consumers to start an everlasting love affair with them.

Our story is not just about sarees – it is about a fascinating art and the artists behind it. It is a story about the purity of weaving a saree by hand, which is a vital part of India’s heritage. It is a tribute to the spirit of womanhood.

Fibre2Fashion: What is the story behind founding of the brand?

Shalini Sharma & Shweta Pundir Sharma:

Our fascination with traditional craftsmanship and Indian textiles goes back many years. Therefore, despite being successful corporate professionals with 16 plus years in corporate career, we always yearned to do something to revive natural Indian textiles and save a dying art form. Six Yard Story is the realisation of our belief in India’s priceless traditions and the skills of master weavers and craftsmen. During our visits to remote villages, we were humbled to see their spartan lifestyle and their unflinching resolve to avoid wastage and use only natural fabrics and dyes. We are optimistic that this is just the start and we will be able to make many more contributions to promote their art and help them improve their economic conditions.

Fibre2Fashion: What categories is the brand into?

Shalini Sharma & Shweta Pundir Sharma:

Womenswear – Artisanal wear (saris)

Fibre2Fashion: Who are your target audience?

Shalini Sharma & Shweta Pundir Sharma:

Empowered, mature, modern Indian woman, who despite their global outlook, has an aesthetic sense deeply rooted in Indian traditions and craftmanship. Six Yard Story intertwines the purity of making a sari with the stylish, understated sophistication of a woman who proudly flaunts her Indianness through her sartorial choices. Women who have deep respect for Indian craftsmanship. They take pride in adorning the Six Yards.

Fibre2Fashion: What is the USP of your products?

Shalini Sharma & Shweta Pundir Sharma:

Authentic artisanal handcrafted sarees. Six yards of pure extravagance, artistic work, bright and beautiful fusion of colours, traditional and colourful hand woven motifs.

Fibre2Fashion: What is the price point of the clothes?

Shalini Sharma & Shweta Pundir Sharma:

There are products spanning multiple price points depending upon the material and the intricacy of the design patterns. The price point which sells the most is ₹8k and above.

Fibre2Fashion: What is the retail and web presence of your brand like?

Shalini Sharma & Shweta Pundir Sharma:

We sell directly to consumers through website.

Fibre2Fashion: Which category sells the most?

Shalini Sharma & Shweta Pundir Sharma:

Silk and linen sarees

Fibre2Fashion: How does your supply chain network work? What regions of the world are part of your supply chain?

Shalini Sharma & Shweta Pundir Sharma:

Our products’ supply chain require us to travel to the villages of the weavers in different parts of India such as Odisha, Bhagalpur, Bengal, MP and Telangana to source products directly from the artisans and skipping the middlemen. Each item is hand-picked by us.

Fibre2Fashion: Sustainability and circularity are the buzz words today. How do you incorporate them into your product lines?

Shalini Sharma & Shweta Pundir Sharma:

Within the realm of fashion and textiles, sustainability to us represents a change in mindset not only among consumers but also within the entire ecosystem. Creators and suppliers of apparel – people like us – need to lead this charge by promoting the use of natural fabrics and dyes, emphasising the ‘buy-less-use-more’ philosophy, and ensuring that workers and artisans are given their due compensation and not treated unfairly. Since ancient times, natural Indian fabrics such as cotton, muslin and natural silks have wowed the world. Now is the time, more than ever, to bring back natural and sustainable fabrics and make them a part of mainstream fashion. Instead of aping western countries, we need to define our own path which is based on ethical and sustainable principles.

Fibre2Fashion: What are your long-term sustainability goals?

Shalini Sharma & Shweta Pundir Sharma:

Sustainability in truest sense outside the realm of fashion, is to provide our artisans a sustained lifestyle. The building blocks of the Six Yard Story brand are the artisans. A key aspect of encouraging weavers and their families is a commitment to empower them financially – this will enable them to carry forward their heritage without the need to seek alternative employment due to financial constraints. For us, this is the true essence of empowerment and sustainability.

This article was first published in the February 2021 edition of the print magazine.

This interview was first published in the Feb 2021 edition of the print magazine

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