At the risk of stating the obvious, the clothes we wear matter. And not just in the sense of sartorial splendour and self-expression, but for those across the supply chain and beyond working towards a more sustainable fashion future. To celebrate these creatives putting people and planet first, we’ve introduced a digital series called Nice Rack! (…get it) so we can go behind the seams with some of our favourite sustainable brands, together.
Hailing from northern New South Wales, Daughters of India is a range of bohemian, travel-inspired clothing that’s ethically and sustainably crafted in small, village-based factories close to India’s historic pink city of Jaipur. Offering a floaty line of block-printed cotton mini and midi dresses and billowing blouses, the range aims to empower locals by providing fair trade employment while also preserving the ancient tradition of block printing. With a commitment to making slow, ethical fashion that doesn’t break the bank, we’ll be throwing a chunky cardi over these lovely numbers all autumn long.
The brand has recently announced two new charity partnerships with Sewing the Seeds and Barakat Bundle, pledging an ongoing monthly donation of $5000 to each of these charities to help support their mission to empower women in India to become self-sufficient and support under-resourced communities.
“Through [these] partnerships, I hope our customers can recognise the power within themselves, and feel inspired to give back and contribute to change,” founder Megan Pentland shared. “I hope the importance of supporting women, in all phases of life, is valued and recognised. Imagine a world where all women are supported. Imagine a world where everyone is provided with an equal chance.”
Tell us about yourself…
I am the founder and creator of slow fashion label Daughters of India. My greatest loves are spending time with my family, enjoying the bountiful beauty of nature, wholesome experiences with loved ones and travelling this incredible world.
What does sustainable fashion mean to you?
Contributing to a greener future through minimal waste and flowing with the rhythms and cycles of nature in production, as well as knowing the artisans and makers are supported and happy is what I feel makes fashion sustainable.
My greatest loves are spending time with my family, enjoying the bountiful beauty of nature, wholesome experiences with loved ones and travelling this incredible world.
When did you know you wanted to get into fashion?
Getting into fashion naturally evolved from having my online vintage clothing label for 10 years. I was always drawn to the Indian gauze pieces I came across from the 60s and 70s and saw a gap in the market for children’s clothing in this style. Daughters of India started as a children’s label which quickly had the mummas asking “When are the ladies’ dresses coming?”
Why were you inspired to start your label and what continues to inspire you as a designer?
I’m continually inspired by pieces from the past and the way they breathe this relaxing air of nostalgia, forever reminding me to slow down and appreciate the moment. I like to infuse a modern twist with past-time designs and bring out pieces that are different to other labels. I want our pieces to be unique. Thrifting and vintage shopping are still huge sources of inspiration for me.
I’m continually inspired by pieces from the past and the way they breathe this relaxing air of nostalgia, forever reminding me to slow down and appreciate the moment.
How do you incorporate sustainability/ethical practices within your brand?
Our garments are created by artisans who are continuing their generation-passed traditions like fabric printing by hand. We choose to support them directly so they can continue doing what they love – slow, sustainable methods of garment making! We simply release small batches of one product at a time when it is complete, this way the artisans can work free of production deadlines such as those imposed by collections or wholesaling, and we eliminate any possibility of excess waste. Our making facilities are Sedex Fair Trade Certified, use solar-powered electricity or natural sunlight throughout production, ethically source materials, conserve water, and eliminate chemicals and plastics. With women empowerment and gender equality being at the forefront of our workplaces, our teams focus on creating positive environments that feel like family, cultivating spaces where women feel supported, acknowledged and respected for who they are – this has always been my highest priority.
Tell us about any standout moments in your career…
Travelling to India and meeting the artisans, seeing first-hand how our pieces are created from start to finish and meeting the beautiful people who create them. Recently opening our second store in Byron Bay. That I’m even here writing answers to questions to be featured in Peppermint! And I still miss a little heartbeat when I see our pieces being worn out in the wild or getting tagged by a customer on social media because they feel beautiful in their purchase.
What are your favourite Daughters of India pieces to wear?
I absolutely adore our staple Kyra mini dress and am a sucker for wanting to wear it every day – I have every colour lined up in my wardrobe. We live by the beach and they are so easy to wear all day – from the beach to out to dinner to lazing back at home before bed!
Creating awareness of the difference between slow and fast fashion helps to change the collective narrative by placing the importance on nature and supporting real people (as opposed to machinery) first.
Who are a few of your favourite local designers?
She Made Me, Deiji Studios and Dazed but Amazed are my go-to local designers.
What do you think needs to change in the Australian fashion landscape?
I would love to see more support and encouragement for slow fashion labels in Australia and worldwide. Fast fashion is easy for consumers because it is fast and inexpensive. Creating awareness of the difference between slow and fast fashion helps to change the collective narrative by placing the importance on nature and supporting real people (as opposed to machinery) first. I think we’re on the path and I’m excited to see what the future holds.