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Fashion That Cares: 28-YO Leaves Cushy NY Job to Make 100% Organic Clothes!

“It is much more than making a couple of shirts. It is about creating a positive impact on the product, the environment and the people involved in making it. This outlook of a holistic growth is what drives us.”

He had what hundreds would only dream of. A banking job in New York, the glitz and glamour of a sophisticated lifestyle, shopping in New York’s Fifth Avenue, and all the trappings of a young man who had conquered success.

For all intents and purposes, he should have been ecstatic. Yet, he was not. Crunching numbers was not his forte, his passion lay in artistic lanes. A life devoid of aesthetics was not for him and the moment the thought cemented in his heart, he took charge.

“I knew that my heart lay in fashion. Each day, in New York, reminded me of that. Yet leaving a cushy banking job wasn’t easy, but I’m lucky that I was able to gather the courage, move back home to Kolkata and begin working on my dream,” said 28-year-old Prateek Kayan, whose clothing brand, Brown Boy, is now causing ripples across national as well as international fashion platforms.


Check our Brown Boy products on The Better Shop, here

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But just knowing what he loved wasn’t enough, he still had to figure out a constructive path, and so dedicated almost a year to research.

Though the then 22-year-old was confident of his capabilities as a designer, he felt he was still an outsider to the world of fashion, and thus wanted to learn the technicalities of the trade.

Photo Source: shopbrownboy/Instagram

“It was learning at every step and it still continues. It was at that point that I saw the dark reality of the trade. Among other things, it was the trend of unsustainable fast fashion encouraging modern-day slavery that pushed me to start a new discourse. I chose to not follow the herd into an unethical supply chain, breeding insatiable greed, and instead started a brand which redefines fashion in a sustainable way.”

And so Brown Boy, one of India’s first sustainable clothing brands, was launched in 2014.

Fair Fashion for All

‘Cotton covers 2.5 per cent of the world’s cultivated land, yet it accounts for 25 per cent of the world’s insecticide market and 10 per cent of global pesticide sales, making it the most pesticide-intensive crop grown on the planet’- states the Brand’s website. This forms the crux of Brown Boy’s products that are made of 100 per cent certified organic cotton.

“It is much more than making a couple of shirts. It is about creating a positive impact on the product, the environment and the people involved in making it. This outlook of a holistic growth is what drives us,” said Prateek.

Photo Source: shopbrownboy/Instagram

Right from the seed to the garment, his products are chemical free, cruelty-free and completely organic. Owing to these qualities, Brown Boy has earned the title of being one of the first fashion brands of India to be approved by PETA.

“One of our core ideals was to create a brand that takes care of all, including those who are creating the products,” he added, emphasising on the aspect of ‘Fair trade.’

With a mission to end ‘modern-day slavery’ where artisans are daily subjected to harmful practices in the fashion field, Prateek made an important choice.

“They are not just my team, but my family and its important to take care of your family. And, that’s why even the colour dyes used are not made of hazardous materials like pesticides, nickel, lead or other heavy metals, that can harm them while working,” he said.

Under the fair trade banner, all the employees of Brown Boy not only receive fair wages and standard working conditions, but the company also pays for their social security and pension funds. In addition to this, Brown Boy pays for their house rent, gives free transport services to the factory, paid leaves, subsidies, overtime payments, medical insurance, etc. The company also pays the school fees of its employees’ children, informed Prateek.

A rocky road to success

Post the development stage, Prateek was faced with the most basic and important challenge of entrepreneurship—funds.

“I did not have huge finances backing me up, and had to build everything on my own. So at the initial stage, I couldn’t even afford a professional photoshoot. That’s when I turned to crowdfunding, and raised the money through Wishberry. Crowdfunding wasn’t a known concept in India at that time, but I still managed to raise an overwhelming amount exceeding our goal, and kick-started the venture,” said Prateek

Since then the company has grown manifold, with prominent Bollywood and Hollywood celebrities embracing his products.

Photo Source: shopbrownboy/Instagram

“Just like our product, our marketing is also very organic. I don’t like following the new trend of flooding the social media with one’s content to grab attention. That kind of attention is fast-fleeting and superficial. We are here to stay and, for us, it’s the quality that speaks louder than likes or shares. And, the testimonials by stars like Varun Dhavan, Sushant Singh Rajput, Hritik Roshan and even Robert Downey, Jr. have done a great deal to promote us,” he added.

Although producing minimalist designs mainly for men’s clothing, he shares that his t-shirts have received unisex reviews, with many women donning them as well. “Style is about having the right attitude, and we have an abundance of it!” he exclaimed!


Check our Brown Boy products on The Better Shop, here


(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)

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