AGAATI is your chic yet effortless friend. We are original, always bold, occasionally coy, sometimes mysterious but always just “us”. Our designs are narratives inspired from culture, history and nature. AGAATI is committed to bringing accessible luxury in well tailored garments offering one-of-a-kind experience through sustainable efforts.
Our products have at least one of the following sustainable attributes.
To AGAATI sustainability is all about being responsible to our communities and environment. Socio-economic and environmental impact is the framework that we keep at the core of our design, supply chain and logistics. As a continued effort we will give back 5% of our profits to NGOs which support women empowerment and create employment for artisans around the world.
We are grateful to the skilled artisans who add soul and create all the magic in our garments. It is our mission to bring the makers and consumers closer together. We believe artisans and consumers complete the sustainable cycle of beautiful one of a kind tailored garments.
Exploiting artisans for short-term profits has been damaging artistry where most makers want their next generation to leave the trade to do better. We want to make this trade better and preserve the craftsmanship.
There are 75 million workers in the garment industry and 80% of the workforce are women. When these women workers are exploited with low wages, gender inequality and harassment, the effects percolate throughout the society, scarring generations and communities around the world. We want to lend our voice and actions to enable fair wages and respect to these women.
We will continuously strive to bring impact to people's lives and hope you will join this movement too.
SUSTAINABLE DESIGN THINKING: Sustainable design thinking begins with the designer working with different individuals in creating garments with a zero waste philosophy. This involves training the pattern maker, cutter and sewer to reduce waste and recycle/upcycle fabrics which is a time intensive process so are practices around preserving leftover fabrics and continuously experimenting on ways to creatively reuse. Pattern making, placing design on fabrics and manually cutting them, marking and thread tagging before they move to the machines requires skilled sewer to sew and hand finish them. Our long term plan is to embrace today’s progress of machine and integrate it with the skilled hands of the tailor.
ARTISANS: Our designer works closely and in person with the weavers, pattern makers, tailors and every person involved in the manufacturing process. From draping stage of test fits through textile sourcing and design high standards are set until the final sewing and quality checks are done. It becomes a very different experience to know a man or woman who has weaved the fabric of your clothes, who sewed and embroidered your dress and who finally ironed to give a tailored finish.
To blend sustainability with style, we collaborate with non-profits that bring financial independence to weavers. We have become an additional source of income and a committed partner for their journey. "It’s not always about money, sustainability comes naturally when everyone wins" says co-founder Saloni.
WOMEN EMPOWERMENT: Given the percentage of women in apparel manufacturing, gender equality and fair working conditions for women is a serious agenda for us.
75 million people work in the clothing industry, 80% are women who are aged between 18 and 24 years. We believe that fashion can empower by enabling us to be who we want to be. But is it improving the lives of the communities involved in the making of it? Sadly the answer is no. Large corporations have changed consumer behaviors and perpetuated a culture of excessive consumerism. Clothes have become mere commodities, ironically with high profits and wastes.
Women, especially are offered jobs with low wages, unsafe working conditions and harassment. Many countries still don't see women as a strong member of the workforce.
While keeping up with the fast developing world we also need to be conscious about where are our clothes being made, are workers being treated fairly and working conditions safe. The true cost of cheap clothes that we are enjoying is borne by underpaid workers in countries like Bangladesh, Vietnam and China. This is not the fight of poor women alone, we alll must fight with them against the notorious fast fashion system and educate our audience to ask Who Made my Clothes.
Last year we travelled to Nepal and worked with Maheela, a nonprofit that rescues women from domestic violence, to weave beautiful shawls for the Fall. Expert hand knitters of Aatmiya, another nonprofit in Nepal knitted alpaca sweaters for AGAATI for a luxe handmade experience. Our company is comprised mostly of talented women leading this change. As sisters we rise together!
We respect nature for the abundant gifts she pours on us and want to help nurture and preserve as best as we can. This we put into practice by developing products that have eco-friendly content. We take great care in selecting eco-friendly raw materials, encouraging partners to adopt greener ways of working and together reduce waste. Its all about the right habits.
Our approach of sustainably sourcing and using raw materials has three key dimensions.
Natural fibre: We focus on using bio degradable natural fibres like cotton, silk, viscose and wool. Within these, we work with suppliers to find one of a kind, unique fabrics that provide soft luxurious feel while also being breathable for comfort and harmless to the environment. Hand weaved textile is used in almost 50% of our design.
Zero waste philosophy: An integral part of our design philosophy evolved studying zero waste design methods, then we took it beyond. We start with a philosophy of making garments that are timeless, desirable and of highest quality to last a lifetime. Then in our making process, we avoid using wasteful methods such as bias cuts, we reuse left over pieces as embroidery giving a second life to the fabric and use leftover dead stock fabrics handed over as surplus by bigger companies.
Zero toxic chemicals: Dyeing of fabrics is one of many ways fashion impacts environment. While dyeing we use azo free dyes that have the removal of metallic component, which can create a textile-induced chemical sensitivity, or worse. Natural dyes will be used in hand painted designs. We are constantly exploring methods to find desired colors in natural dyes that is scalable.
On being Vegan: We thought long and did research before deciding not to be vegan yet. Being vegan meant that we either use polyesters (petroleum-derived fibers), or restrict the use within natural fiber like silk or wool, or we invest in R&D to find ways to create new fabrics that are vegan. In time we hope to make better progress. The search for the suitable peace silk is ongoing. We do not use any leather or fur products. Amongst animal products, we use silks and wools where we carefully select suppliers Nature lovergoing down to humanely raised Alpaca wool in California and Matka Silk from waste mulberry silk yarns in India. Our research will continue.
Saloni Shrestha is a fashion designer with over 7 years of experience specializing in designing women’s ready-to-wear collections that are narratives of nature, culture and people. A fashion design graduate from Parsons, The New School, Saloni is trained in couture and ready-to-wear with her knowledge further enhanced after training at reputed fashion houses such as Oscar De La Renta, Diane Von Furstenberg, Zac Posen and Naeem Khan
Saloni is a native of the Himalayas who has lived and travelled across various continents, which she says, is also a key source of inspiration and influence. Growing up surrounded by purity of nature, diverse culture, music, vibrant textiles and bold colors have all been embraced in her creative process.
Saloni’s commitment to a creative life and craftsmanship slowly developed into developing and leading an impact business. Sustainability naturally shaped the idea of AGAATI when she recently moved from New York to San Francisco. AGAATI is a high fashion sustainable womenswear brand that has one-of-a-kind designs which connect communities, empower women, and inspire a more sustainable lifestyle.
Passionate about creating a positive impact for nature, artisans and women, Saloni is leading AGAATI into the much-needed sustainable future!