Try eShakti for yourself and get 10% off your purchase 11/21/2016 – 12/29/2016 with promo code “sameenabemat.”
Combine with $30 + free customization with your first purchase by signing up via eShakti’s website, and their current Thanksgiving site wide coupon for $15 off ending 11/24 for more savings!
Have you ever fallen in love with a dress at your favorite store or snagged an amazing tee online, only to realize it doesn’t fit quite right at home?? I’m really bad at talking myself into buying or keeping these pieces, thinking “I’ll make it work!” But more often than not, the piece ends up at the back of my closet, never worn, taunting me with my bad decision every time I do catch a glimpse of it. #rude
And when it can take more than 5,000 gallons of water to manufacture ONE cotton t-shirt and a pair of jeans, not to mention the additional footprint of shipping, washing, and chemicals used to dye clothes, an unused piece of clothing doesn’t seem so harmless – and is definitely not sustainable.
As you read in my intro post, I’m on a journey to a sustainable closet. And one solution I hadn’t yet explored to using more and wasting less is custom clothing.
5 ways to reuse your favorite pieces
I was excited when eShakti reached out and asked me to review my experience shopping custom clothing with them. eShakti is a clothing brand based out of India that offers everything from jeans and tops to wedding wear. Their name is derived from the Sanskrit word “shakti” which means “power.” Their mission is to empower women by creating clothes that don’t only look good on mannequins – but actually look good on the women who will be wearing them.
I started my experience by heading over to eShakti’s website and scrolling through their beautiful designs. (Designed in NYC!) I chose a pair of pants, because pants are where I struggle most with finding the perfect fit. Y’all know my obsession with wide legs and culottes, so I couldn’t resist these babies.
Next, I got to customize! That involved providing all my measurements so that these truly fit just right. But it also meant I got to choose the length- ie making these more cropped than the original full length design to compliment my short frame. This model is really helpful for anyone who has specific things like sleeve length, skirt length, etc that they look for in their clothing. It’s also really fun to get to add these custom touches, and it made me feel more connected to the piece.
I love the idea of custom clothing, because it’s unlikely we would let clothing that fits and looks great collect dust in our closets. There’s no doubt that I would reach for a pair of pants that fit AMAZINGLY more often than the ones I “made work” and have to unbutton after lunch. (No shame.) The idea of grabbing trends that you’ll throw away (or even donate.. only about 1/5th of our donations are directly used by charities and thrift stores, and after being sold to recyclers, almost 45% of America’s collective donations can be dumped in developing countries, having disastrous effects on their local businesses) in a few months definitely impacts our fashion footprint negatively. To be kind to the environment, we should be looking at our clothes as investments that we will love styling in different ways and wearing over and over long after we buy them.
Of course, sustainability also includes the treatment of the people and need for ethical practices behind a product. It’s encouraging that eShakti is privately owned (ie they have more ownership on their decisions and practices), and that, especially when compared to many other companies, eShakti does talk about labor laws, social compliance, factory environment, and more on their website. Building on the idea of feeling a connection with your custom piece, they include the name of the people who made the garment with your order. They also provide on-going training for their workers, which shows an investment in their development. They claim they uphold the minimum age of 18, doing their part to fight the devastating amount of child labor used to create fast fashion. They also say their suppliers are not allowed to subcontract any part of the manufacturing process without approval by eShakti, and that to obtain approval the subcontractors would be required to also follow eShakti’s labor law and social compliance agreements. (Subcontractors ARE used by many major brands’ suppliers, on the other hand, and have lax standards to say the least.) They also note that the “work environment is large, well-lit and well-ventilated…sanitation facilities are best-in-class,” which matters in an industry where factory conditions have allowed multiple deadly fires and explosions.
They also share they exceed India’s minimum wage standard by 70%- which I found out is $6.35 in Delhi. A living monthly wage in India is about $283 a month, and I calculate eShakti paying their workers $248.29 - $334.65 based on how many days worked in a month. Really troubling, especially when many of these workers are supporting families. I also could not find information about the environmental impacts of factory operations. Plus, there is the environmental impact of shipping goods across the world, and the conventional fabrics like cotton used in eShakti’s clothing. And, though I appreciate the information provided on their website, I believe the company can provide more details and data to support some of the claims made about factory conditions and safety.
So, the next time I need something new for my wardrobe, I’ll probably still turn to thrifting or a local/strictly ethical brand first. But, I’ll definitely keep eShakti’s easy, fun custom clothing experience in mind for another option- especially if they grow their commitment to sustainable and ethical practices!
Thanks for reading!
eShakti (Website, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter)
I was provided these customized pants for free from eShakti. All opinions and experiences in this review are my own.