“Sustainability has 3 pillars – social justice, economic development and environmental protection – we are trying to contribute to each of these” – Vidhi Singhal
Having read a report that a plastic bag had been found in the ocean at a depth of 36,000 feet, business analyst Vidhi Singhal set up the August Co. in Bangalore in 2017. It was a wake up call she says. Initially she wanted to get rid of all the existing polyester garments people possess, but decided, eventually, that it was not feasible from an economic perspective, and inevitably the clothes would end up as landfill defeating the objective. So, as she had always been interested in fashion and had never been able to find comfortable work-appropriate clothing, she set up the August Co., a lifestyle brand that celebrates and harness Indian designed contemporary women’s clothing that are eco-conscious, and polyester and synthetic free. “By using natural fibres” she says, “we design high quality, classy and timeless fashion that can be treasured for a long time to come”. The fabrics are sourced directly from the weavers and any waste fabric is used to make matching accessories, so that only 30% of the waste fabric is actually wasted.
Additionally the company believes in the power of women and regards itself as a “by women for women” brand. 97 per cent of their employees and 100 per cent of their designers are women. The company pays them fair wages and fixed salaries and the team has regular lunches together to help encourage social and economic justice and eliminate class distinction. Vidhi believes that “When you help women you help bring a change in society, you give them self-confidence, you empower them – and that is what the August Co. is all about”. Hence there is more to the business than being profitable. For every one of their products sold a contribution goes to helping under-privileged girls. Vidhi also believes that the business should be part of the community and contends that entrepreneurs should support each other and help build a better future.
While their customers influence and guide their designs, the brand is built on a vision of creating fashionable, comfortable and sustainable clothing that is affordable and suitable for all women regardless of size. Coupled with this is a belief that “we need to buy less, buy well, re-use, re-cycle and make stuff last”. Clearly the August Co. is not just concerned with “making as much money as possible” but for caring for the planet and its people. It also addresses SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), 14 (Life Below Water), 15 (Life on Land), 10 (Reduced Inequalities) and 5 (Gender Inequality). It has achieved a great deal and is very much a sustainable Harmonious Enterprise. According to Vidhi it has only just started the journey to sustainability, suggesting more is to come. As she says “we don’t have all the answers but we know how to ask questions and then find the answers”. So, we look forward to further developments from this sustainability conscious harmonious enterprise.
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