Multiple designers from South Asia find their way in Saritoria.com
As the world moves towards a circular economy, it makes sense that our fashion choices are shaped by this powerful belief in a sustainable world. Where fast fashion has moved from being a cliché to almost a bad word, there is a sense of accepting and living long-term with our clothes, as well as wearing clothes that are not brand-new, yet continue to create a timeless, glamorous look. With a heritage as rich as ours, beautiful, artisanal occasionwear, festivewear, and bridalwear is a given, and is part of every woman’s closet and dreams. But pre-loved South Asian clothes need not be out of reach of one’s pocket if one were to look at the newly launched Saritoria platform, co-founded by a trio of fashion-loving entrepreneurs – actor/dancer/fashionista Pernia Qureshi, Shehlina Soomro, and Omar Soomro, that offers second-hand designer wear – couture lehengas, gowns, anarkalis, kurtas, shararas, saris, and suits – sometimes at 70 percent off of its original price.
You can now shop pre-loved lehengas on Saritoria.com
What’s good for the environment is also good for the pocket – as a buyer you can ‘bid’ for the outfit of your choice – go to Saritoria.com – to browse top Indian designer pieces – or, as a seller, you can declutter your own wardrobe and offer some of your pieces by listing them on the website, and creating your own mini fashion empire. Lifestyle Insider speaks to Pernia and Shehlina right after their press launch on Zoom.
How did Saritoria come about - you mentioned at the Zoom event that during the pandemic we had all changed our consumption patterns. Is it then that you had your moment of realization that yes - this could be a really interesting business, and something that people need right now?
Shehlina: Yes, absolutely. Whilst I had been using Westernwear equivalents for many years, there was no solution for my ethnic wear. A combination of the timing, finding the right partners in Pernia and Omar to bring this to life as well as an obvious shift in consumer behaviour really triggered the decision to go for it. Saritoria is at the crux of the future of fashion and technology!
Pernia Qureshi, actor, dancer, fashionista, and co-founder, Saritoria
Were the three co-founders friends from before – did you sit one day and decide the concept of the brand together? What skills does everyone bring into the mix?
Pernia: The funny thing is that we haven't even met each other yet! We have worked on this whole business via Zoom, emails, and calls. The idea was Shehlina’s, and she asked a mutual friend if she could speak to me about it. When I heard about it, I thought it was brilliant and the need of the hour. There was a sense of trust and comfort between us from the get go because we weren't completely random to each other, we had a lovely friend in common.
Pre-loved festivewear and occasionwear are easliy accessible at Saritoria.com
Pernia, you're known as a fashion diva who patronizes the latest fashion – can we have both new and pre-loved fashion and when would you wear what?
Pernia: Actually, my shopping habits and style choices have changed over the years. Ten years ago, I was that girl who always wanted the latest, and felt like the more the better. Now I have matured into appreciating a closet that is decluttered and investing in pieces that are timeless and great quality. I have always been a champion for vintage fashion, it's just that now I wear a lot more of it in my daily life.
What are some examples of pre-loved fashion from your own wardrobe that you love and wear?
Pernia: The thing I wear the most, lately, is my mother's vintage Piaget watch from the ‘90s. It's got a brown leather strap and is so chic! While I'm writing this interview, currently, I have on a cotton Chanel tank top from the early ‘90s with vintage off-white, lace Chanel bermuda shorts. Both of which used to belong to my mother. I’m so grateful to her for keeping everything so well preserved and always buying slow fashion, because it stands the test of time.
There's a wide variety of Indianwear on offer on Saritoria.com
Is it the prohibitive cost of Indian festive and bridalwear that’s a factor nowadays – and where Saritoria can help resolve this – for someone who wants to sell as well as buy?
Shehlina: Yes, the cost of festivewear is indeed prohibitive. Saritoria helps you unlock value from your wardrobe, and assists buyers in accessing luxury items they could otherwise not afford. Knowing that you can resell a luxury item means that consumers are more likely to invest in higher quality slow fashion pieces.
Lehengas, saris, anarkalis, shararas, kurtas - shop and sell on Saritoria.com
So it's a bidding of sorts in terms of pricing – the highest price wins… How does it work on the website – is it the best offer that wins and how long does one have to wait to get a reply on the offer?
Pernia: The offer that wins is really up to the seller. They get to choose which offer they want to go with, inevitably it’s usually the highest offer. As soon as the offer comes in, the seller is informed that day itself. We like to keep our response time quick. We encourage sellers to make a decision soon and do a timely follow up if they are taking time to decide on the offer.
If you are a seller, you can in fact become a pre-loved fashion entrepreneur, selling one's outfits to Saritoria – what are the criteria that one has to meet to be featured on the website?
Pernia: There is no criteria except to have designer clothing to sell. This is why this business is so great because anyone can become a fashion entrepreneur just by selling their wardrobe from home! It's a great way to make some extra cash and to also have money to invest in more fashion. Then the cherry on top of it all is that it's an amazing step towards building a sustainable future!
Are you planning to expand your menswear – and what has been the response from men?
Shehlina: Menswear is already an option. We haven’t focused any of our marketing on menswear yet but the interest has already been there without us even targeting it – we’re seeing menswear garments being added weekly.
How many users do you plan to target in the next five years?
Shehlina: Hopefully in the millions! We are 1.8 billion South Asians and diaspora, and we are the only real solution focusing on ethnicwear!
Shopping for South Asian couture pieces has never been easier on Saritoria.com
Do you plan to introduce any preloved costume jewellery/bags/belts/ shoes?
Shehlina: We’ve received a lot of requests to already add in accessories. However, we want to ensure our customers are getting what they need from us in our first stage of the business before adding extra options on. We feel that we have a lot more to do just focusing on clothing at this stage. In the long run there are plenty of ways to expand the offering, and accessories is just one of them.
Lifestyle Insider is a kind of junction point, connecting people with diverse interests that touch on the more luxurious aspects of lifestyle – fashion, design, travel, food and spirits, art, watches and jewellery, cars, yachts, and aviation, and technology. People today don’t fit into boxes and categories. In our individual ways, we are interested in diverse themes, products, and the challenges that face our world today. You will judge how well this effort of mine caters to your passions and proclivities.
Lifestyle Insider is a showcase of all that is beautiful and luxe. Behind every creation, is a designer, chef, entrepreneur, or a design maison. I have delved into my own appreciation for objetsde luxe that I have admired over the years – be it a love of fashion from the world’s top Parisian and Italian fashion maisons and their ’90s muses, or the care that goes into sari and Indian textile collections in my own family. Growing up on four continents, as the daughter of a former Indian Ambassador, I’ve seen a remarkable array of historic places and met a myriad people. My aim is to bring my world view into this website, a curation of what I find particularly stunning, unique, and newsworthy.
It’s an exciting time for brands all over the world. With change comes opportunity. With the global ‘reset’ and uncertainty on many fronts, there is a chance to write a new script. Let’s be those pioneers.
A bit about me:
A luxury and fashion journalist with 25 years of experience in publishing and magazine journalism, I have edited some of India’s top fashion and luxury magazines. I got my BA in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley, and went on to receive my Master’s in English and French from the University of Strasbourg, France. I have also studied German and Film. I live in Gurugram, India, and look forward to once again exploring our world with a new-found freedom.
Mail us @ email@example.com