Aureole is a sustainable clothing label started by Aditi Mohoni in February 2017. Before she made her foray into slow fashion, Aditi was a lawyer in family court, overseeing divorce cases for six years. “It was quite a depressing profession,” she admits. So how did she end up launching a label committed to conscious clothing?
“Owning a store is something I dreamt of since I was five!” she quips. But as a lawyer with no background in fashion, it was easier said than done. Aditi elaborates, “I was so alien to the idea since I wasn’t from this industry at all.” At 27, when most people are already chasing big promotions, Aditi considered taking up an internship. Instead, she decided to teach herself, “I’d buy fabrics from local markets and play with designs. There was a tailor in Colaba – he made some of my earliest designs for me. It gave me the confidence and clarity I needed”. A family road trip to Gujarat further cemented the idea. She explains, “For the first time, I saw how fabric was being made. I’d only heard about how women spin yarn for hours to get the right consistency. I was so excited and enamoured by all of it, I decided to do some more research.” She dove headfirst into ethical brands around the world, which in turn inspired Aditi to envision the brand she wanted to build. “I realised that I wanted to create a brand that helped people, enabled communities to do better and at the same time was environment-friendly.” Thus, the journey of Aureole began.
In its earliest days, Aditi operated Aureole from the courtroom. “I would be in court, and get calls asking about sizes of tops and dresses!” she laughs. Aureole may be a niche brand, but it has its fair share of loyal customers who keep coming back to the brand and share a special relationship with Aditi and her partner Kunal. Aditi explains what truly sets Aureole apart, “Through Aureole, we wanted to create something that’s pure – like a bright white light. We put a lot of heart in what we do. I just love every step of the process of creating. We have built a very healthy relationship with the people who are behind what we do – our weavers, production team, we all enjoy this space together. If you order a dress from Aureole, you know the person who has woven the fabric as well as made the design. Because we want people to know that it’s not just another piece of garment that they’re buying.”
We wonder aloud about the challenges of a sustainable brand in this age of lightning fast fashion. “Initially, sourcing fabrics was really challenging. So, we started visiting every textile sourcing centre, and eventually start purchasing from government cooperatives. Then there’s the whole thing about meeting timelines. Because we’re a smaller brand, we’re pushed lower down the priority list by larger cooperatives who are also working with bigger brands. Now, we have a weaver in West Bengal who only weaves for Aureole. He’s one of our partners now. And that’s made the process so much more seamless,” says Aditi.
Between slowing fashion down to save the environment, does she find time for skincare? Aditi replies, “My mantra is to keep it minimal. Use as few products as possible. I shuttle between two cleansers – one recommended by my dermatologist and another called Philosophy. I use a green apple toner after cleansing, and sunscreen when I step out. I make it a point to cleanse my face every evening, once I’m home, and follow it up with a night cream!”
We know Aditi is all about natural skincare, so we ask her for DIYs. She grins, “I do a lot of DIYs for my hair. My favourite is – I blend Apple Cider Vinegar and onion into a paste and massage it on my scalp after shampoo. It soothes my scalp and softens my hair so much!”
Talking about her approach to skincare, Aditi adds, “There’s so much information and so many products out there, it’s easy to spend money on products that have great packaging but don’t really work. But, the more you turn to nature, you learn that all the remedies are right around you. The tips and tricks grandma passed down to us are still the best!” We couldn’t agree any better.