Meet the Maker: Amit Jain and Amey Alshi – Funky Kalakar

Founded by Amit Jain and Amey Alshi, Funky Kalakar is a brand and philosophy that promotes an ethical, sustainable, and vegan way of life.

Funky Kalakar is a brand and philosophy that promotes an ethical, sustainable, and vegan way of life. We have two studios (Tonbridge, UK and Mumbai, India). Including both the founders (Amit Jain and Amey Alshi), we are a 5-member team. You are cordially invited to get to know us better. Welcome.    



What were you doing before you started doing this?


Amit (a chartered accountant) was working with consulting firms (Ernst & Young and PwC), whereas Amey (MBA – Marketing) was a Marketing Manager for Duplo (a company into printing and binding machines).

Why did you choose to do what you do?

Amey and I always believed that Indian art-forms and handicrafts are renowned worldwide, but the artists that make these lovely products are not fairly remunerated, due to various middlemen involved. Funky Kalakar is trying to remove these barriers by employing and paying these artists fairly.

Apart from this, we also noticed that today’s fashion industry has become an excuse to pollute and sully the environment. In fact, we believe that it is a close second to the oil industry in terms of the pollutants it generates.

To do our bit and fight this, we use the materials which are either natural or up-cycled. For example, in our shoes, we are using fabrics which are 100% cotton. Additionally, for the soles, we use scrapped motor vehicle tyres, which otherwise would have ended up in landfills and generated land / air pollution.

Furthermore, for our upcoming collections, we are working with 100% recycled fabrics.  

 

We are fascinated by names. What’s the story behind your brand name?

Funky Kalakar stands for a partnership between east and west. Funky as a word originates from the West and Kalakar from India (East). Similarly, our art forms and crafts are from East. This we use to mould into contemporary designs that are inspired by the West.  

Which are your best-selling products?

Most of our designs have worked till date in different markets. However, to quantify, in terms of pairs sold, Jean Genie and Kalie are our best products till date.  

What kind of people do you create your products for?

Our target customers are educated, well-travelled, and aware about the environmental changes happening around them. These are the people who are the future of the planet. They care and want to do their own bit to preserve it. Funky Kalakar is for such aware and evolved folks.   

What are the challenges you face in connection with achieving your goals?

In Indian market, the major challenge pertains to educating the customers about the hazards of fast fashion and the huge amount of wastage these generate. In addition, we are challenged by the need to make people aware about labour exploitation, the various kinds of pollution that result from wastage not being disposed in right way.

Customers in other markets (USA and Europe) are more sensitive to these issues. Many people across the globe have adopted sustainable fashion as a way of life. We wish to bring this sensibility and sensitivity to India.  

Where do you see your brand three years from now?

We intend to launch new product lines such as bags and apparel for women in near future. We would like to become India’s foremost sustainable lifestyle brand. Currently, we are present in four countries (India, England, Ireland, and USA). Our vision is to expand to at least 50 countries over the course of the next 3 years. Our desire is to see more people buy into the need for sustainable fashion as a lifestyle and reduce the wastage and pollution our world is assaulted by daily.   

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?

If possible, I would have worked for travel channel and travel for living.

Visit the Funky Kalakar Shop on Engrave.

Avinash Subramaniam

Avinash has been an advertising writer, fiction writer, poetry writer, freelance writer and serial wronger. Other roles he has been in include those of an editor, brand builder, and teacher. His interests include advertising, scrabble, body building, chess, cinema, making money, reading, internet culture, cricket, photography. To hear him air his thoughts, follow him on Twitter @armchairexpert.

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