Oshadi Studio is a contemporary Indian crafted clothing brand, launched by Nishanth Chopra in 2015. It has since progressed to create a seed-to-sew community-led regenerative farming initiative, Oshadi Collective.
Like all well-intentioned entrepreneurial textile endeavours, Oshadi Studio was woven together through trial and error. But what makes Oshadi’s progression truly unique, is that it has evolved to reflect an anarchistic authenticity and vulnerable transparency rarely seen in the fashion industry. One which could change its shape entirely.
Over the past 13 months, Nishanth and the community of creatives he helped cultivate, has transformed Oshadi Studio from a sustainable fashion brand to a regenerative fashion brand. Through the creation of a “seed-to-sew” initiative called Oshadi Collective, which is made up of farmers and artisans, who worked together to create a truly regenerative supply chain. One which not only supplies the natural fibers and plant dyes for Oshadi Studio’s creations but also shares its equitable regenerative ways – and the regenerative cotton it cultivates – with like-minded brands rooted elsewhere. Including Christy Dawn, who has collaborated with Oshadi to produce their first Regenerative Organic Cotton collection.
REGENERATIVE FASHION & FIBERSHED
Inspired and supported with a grant by the Fibershed movement, which works alongside ‘regenerative farming practices‘ to create place-based local textile economies, Oshadi supports soil and biosphere restoration. Helping to enhance biodiversity, improve watersheds and encouraging carbon drawdown by integrating the traditional pre-colonial Indian agriculture techniques native to the lands their regenerative organic cotton and dye plants are raised on.
Oshadi’s farmer first format flips the fashion industry on its head, letting the farmer decide the price of cotton rather than the spinning mill or brand. This pushes the hard corners of hierarchy which have been present since the commencement of the fashion industry and devolves power to the community of creatives responsible for the garments we wear. Creating a shape that is not only circular but also honours the infinite and regenerative connections between systems.
GRASSROOTS REGENERATIVE ECONOMY
The community led method has been so successful that over the past three seasons (9 months) the farm has grown from five to fifty acres. This scaling up has the opposite effect to conventional imperialist forms of growth, bringing power, financial stability and creative credit to the farmers and artisans themselves.
The [conventional fashion] supply chain has evolved in such a wrong way in the course of time. The hardest working person in the fashion industry is the farmer, we need to get rid of this colonial mentality where someone else who is in power decides what someone with lower wealth can do, buy, eat, or where they sleep.Nishanth Chopra, Oshadi Collective
Risk is also taken collectively, with brands essentially ‘renting’ the fields from the farmer. If a crop fails due to global heating and climate breakdown, and the farm yields less harvest than planned, everyone who benefits from the supply chain ‘pays the price’. The same goes for when the crop yields more. Creating a support system through the ebb and flow of agricultural success and failure. (watch Merku Thodarchi Malai recommended by Nishanth on the impact of conventional farming, agrochemicals, and ‘farmer risks all’ systems).
With this new shape, a grassroots economy is created. Putting people before profit at long last, while bringing lives back to the land and the land back to life. Proof community is more resilient than capitalism after all.