Dil Se in Kolkata promotes sustainable and slow fashion and is helping the less privileged
Tucked in the bylanes of Southern Avenue, Dil Se, connects hearts like very few. A non-profit organisation, Dil Se has created a strong sustainable chain in the city bridging the gap between haves and have-nots. Founded by Alka Dalmia, Manju Pachasia and Sangeeta Thacker, the fashion boutique has taken the anthem of slow fashion seriously by stocking clothes donated by designers and friends and helping a dozen organisations working for the poor and destitute. On World Environment Day Dil Se co-founder Sangeeta Thacker, talks about the story behind the movement, donating 75 lakhs and more.
Tell us about the story behind Dil Se.
Dil Se is a brainchild of our co-founder Alka Dalmia. We have been friends for long and the one thing that makes our bond stronger is the zeal to do something for the society, to give it back. She shared her thought with us and we all got on board instantly. We all have surplus clothes and overindulgence in retail therapy is on the rise. We pondered around the thought that what can be done with clothes which are just worn a few times or made for special occasions? How to use them in a way which can create a sustainable chain? That’s how Dil Se came into being over three years back. Eighty per cent of our proceeds go to charity.
Do you have any designers on board?
We have a couple of designer friends who donate to us, occasionally. We get in touch with them on a regular basis to ask them to donate clothes from their previous collection. Plus, our friends and well-wishers love to donate clothes, in good condition, which they don’t want to wear any more. So you will find a Sabyasachi sari, Zara tops and many branded clothes for men and women. Plus we also have accessories like handbags and jewellery.
What has been the biggest achievement so far?
Monetarily, donating 27 lakhs to various charities. And the countless smiles is immeasurable.
Name a few organisations you work with.
We try to touch as many lives possible and work with organisations like Mahavir Seva Sadan, Ektara and Ek Prayas, PremaShree Blind School, Ek Packet Umeed and many others.
What is the process that follows after the clothes are collected?
Once we collect clothes from donors we get them cleaned, ironed, repaired, if required, and then tag them at a nominal price in our retail outlet for sale.
How are you planning to operate post lockdown?
Post lockdown we will work on an appointment basis. Plus we are trying to create an e-commerce platform.
What are your other further plans?
We are planning to educate women to make things out of waste. We want to give our little support to the initiative of Vocal is Local and Make in India, started by the Prime Minister.