Handcrafted leather case by Tan and Loom
Handcrafted leather case by Tan and Loom

Tan & Loom’s Rukmini Guha breaks down why slow fashion is selling big this festive season

Rukmini Guha, founder of the Kolkata-based label Tan & Lom reveals utility is key for even the most extravagant buyer this season

Bijoux ‘batuas’ may have their uses, but festive shoppers are prioritising conscious, repeatable picks over buzzy Instagram trends this year. Artisanal value and responsible production are definitely top priorities, now that so many brands are investing in the effort. Rukmini Guha, founder of the Kolkata-based label Tan & Lom reveals utility is key for even the most extravagant buyer this season.

“We started out in October last year, it worked well for us because we went through Diwali and Christmas and the festive market really gave us the financial boost to keep going forward. What I’ve observed over the last year is that people are okay with spending as long as they find useful and versatile products. Even if something is really well-made, buyers may not go for it if it doesn’t serve them well,” shares Guha. The designer took some time to explain the modus operandi behind her first of a kind handbag e-boutique

You use leather and weaves, so tan and loom...

Yes, I had studied fashion management and my mother has her leather export business and I had planned on working along the same lines. My personal interest lies in textile I wanted to bring together leather and weaves, the idea is to play up the contrast. Our branding talks about the east and the west, about ikkat, handlooms and modern aspects like minimalism

Tell us about your approach to sustainability 

There are so many ways to look at sustainability, we are not looking to brainwash our buyers. We use vegetable tan leather (made with natural tannins), which is far more environmentally friendly than most variants. It’s still animal leather but it lasts very long, so it falls within the purview of slow fashion. 

Tell us about some of your new pieces

We’re working with some vintage influences, we’re creating minimalist iterations of old school products, we’re re-imagining the doctor’s bag, for instance, and backpacks inspired by retro leather boxes

Have you observed any shifts in buying trends?

My one takeaway would be that people are now looking for utility, we're working towards that. Our Ikkat collection from last year, for instance, was appreciated on Instagram but didn’t sell all that much. Recently we introduced something called the artist’s roll which found a lot of buyers because it’s so utilitarian, it’s a leather stationary roll where you can carry paintbrushes or anything else and it can be used as a stationary carrier. We also offer a brand warranty which definitely helps

You want to expand into home decor…

Yes, people are spending more on making their homes more beautiful now that they’re spending so much time indoors. We’re also looking to launch clothing since we use handlooms anyway

Starts from Rs 620. Available at tanandloom.com

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