Exclusive preview: Luxury eco-conscious brand Born launches its twin collection for mamas and kids
After having a decade long career in France as a designer and entrepreneur, Elodie Le Derf moved to India in 2013 to be reunited with her now-husband, Salil Awchat. Once she found herself settled in the city, she went back to designing and launched a luxury bridal wear but it wasn't until she was pregnant with her first child that she realised a dearth of organic clothes for children, especially for boys in Mumbai. Besides the clothes available didn't offer anything innovative in terms of prints or colours or style. When her friends echoed the same sentiment, the businesswoman in her found an opportunity to venture into an untapped market with immense potential. Three years later, in 2019, she launched Born - a slow fashion eco-conscious luxury baby and kidswear label.
Finely tailored from materials like certified organic cotton and silk voile, available in brands signature muted pastel tones boasting a delicate French elegance, the brand found many takers, including several celebrity mothers within its first year. As she celebrates the first anniversary of the brand, Elodie has launched a limited-edition Twin Collection, which offers matching prints and styles for mother and child. Over an email interaction, Indulge caught up with Elodie Le Derf about Born and her latest collection. Excerpts:
Q: Tell us about your new Twin Set collection. What made you work on this line?
Ever since I started Born I got requests from almost all my customers to design clothes for them too and it gave me the impulse and the inspiration to design it as fast as I could after the birth of my second son. I have two sons and twinning with them is very exciting, not just for me but for them as well. When kids see their moms dress just like them, that joy of imitating is something they connect with instantly. Noticing that aspect, I was inspired to create something that both mothers and their little ones can bond over.
The collection is adorned with matching prints and styles for mother and child and comprises of dresses, kurtas, shirts, trousers, tops and skirts.
Q: Since you have expanded the line and designed for adults, what were the challenges you faced in this space? Also, is it just for mothers or do you have something for fathers as well?
As of now, we are only a mom-child friendly brand, but including menswear for dads to adorn is also on the horizon. In terms of challenges, there weren’t many. If you notice, our products don’t have any childish prints, most of them are florals and pastels. So these elements were constant even with the adult designs. The only challenge was probably for the line to be attractive and stylish for all women (not only mothers) and at the same time to remain in the “twinning exercise”.
Q: Run us through your mood board for this collection.
This twinset collection is an extension of our Indian Song collection, which is inspired by a magical India that is embodied by grace and extravagance, for kids. It has been made sustainably, using all our leftover fabrics. The collection features romantic floral prints silks that are inspired by the endless flower fields of Kashmir. It also explores a new take on the delicacy of Mughal art and the magic of the Indian jungle, all printed on ethereal cotton silk voile and beautiful organic cotton fabrics. Tigers, monkeys, leopards, elephants and colourful birds are brought to life through muted colours that remind us of delicate vintage Indian miniature art. The collection features the effortless elegance of the Parisian. Our ethereal and graceful dresses can be worn for a casual occasion or a classy summer evening. Similarly, our trousers can be styled for a working day or a chic dinner… The ‘casual chic’ is my playground.
Q: How did you go about designing similar clothes for mothers and children since the aesthetics of dressing could be very different, especially if its mothers and sons?
A lot of our styles are unisex and work well for both boys and girls, in terms of style as well as colours. If there’s a pink for girls out there, there’s a pink for boys too. If there is a blue shirt and a pair of pants with florals for a boy, it could translate to a blue jumpsuit for the mother with a similar print. Alternatively, if the daughter wears a dress, the mother could wear a similar shirt.
The whole line has been created with lots of possibility of mix and match. I like to see little girls wearing trousers too and also have mothers with a more dandy/boyish look to twin with their son.
Q: Tell us more about the fabric that you use and from where did you source this fabric?
At Born we proud ourselves in having a 100% Indian made product. Our fabrics are all sourced from different part of India. We use a mix of natural hi-quality fabrics including linens, light cotton-silk voile, silks and certified organic cotton knits and wovens.
Q: How is Born different from other kidswear available in the market?
Like I said, not everyone is aware of conscious fashion yet. Something like sequins that can hurt a child, fabrics like nylon and polyester that aren’t comfortable for anyone (and harm the environment), be it kids or adults, given Mumbai’s rising temperatures, are still being used rampantly while designing children’s wear. Kids have soft skin, and that’s something we should be wary of. At Born, we don’t design keeping only trends in mind, but being a child-friendly brand, we design keeping children and their best interests in mind. I believe that we also have a very unique and distinctive french style with exclusive prints designed in house, couture finishing, precious and original hand embroideries, exquisite hand made detailing.
Q: Why would you describe Born as a slow fashion-conscious luxury kidswear label? What do you mean?
Slow fashion-conscious luxury is something that comes every once in a while. We don’t simply churn out clothes like other high-fashion clothing chains across the globe. Each collection we curate is carefully thought of. Being entirely sustainable, procuring the fabrics, getting the right certified organic cotton, all of this takes plenty of time, making it a slow-moving process.
We also recycle all our scarps fabrics to make small accessories to avoid waste: We made buntings for kids room, zipper pouches with hand-embroidered words to support local artisans and recently we made cloth masks from which 20% of the sales will be donated to Pragya Kapoor’s NGO, EkSaath Foundation.
Q: The label is pretty popular among celebrities mothers. How did you create this space for this label?
Surprisingly, we didn’t create the space, the brand created the space for itself. In recent times more people are moving towards a sustainable lifestyle, thus including organic foods, eco-friendly everyday products, and conscious clothing as well. As the awareness grew, celebrity mothers began approaching us, and being easily accessible at our Bandra store made it easier for them to come and see every piece of clothing for themselves. We are slowly building a community of ‘conscious’ mothers but it’s growing organically and genuinely just like the brand.
Q: What made you bring real-life mothers and their children to do the photoshoot for Twin Collection?
While our clothing is all-organic, so is our brand-building strategy. We do not believe in bringing in models who’d pose for us, we want to tell real stories of real Born muses, who are the mothers and kids who are patrons of the brand and have helped build it with us over the years. I wanted to feature real mothers who genuinely like the brand, and who are strong, independent and inspiring women.
Q: We heard Born would also expand into interior space, tell us what’s in store for Born in the near future?
We do have some projects in that space but nothing concrete yet, maybe a private consultancy service for kid rooms interior design with my partner Antonia Achache. Also, a line of wallpapers is coming soon and maybe a few furniture for kids room.
The entire collection is available at their e-shop (worldofborn.com) from May 11 onwards, Price: Rs 1900 onwards
Masks for mamas and kids
Keeping in mind the ongoing health pandemic, Born has also launched cloth masks, made using organic cotton scraps fabric. They can be washed at 30° and reused.
Available in popular Born prints.
Price: Rs 375 for a set - 1 adult mask, 1 kid mask