Compassion is Fashion: Indian Entrepreneurs Show the Way

By Venus Upadhayaya
Venus Upadhayaya
Venus Upadhayaya
Reporter
Venus Upadhayaya reports on wide range of issues. Her area of expertise is in Indian and South Asian geopolitics. She has reported from the very volatile India-Pakistan border and has contributed to mainstream print media in India for about a decade. Community media, sustainable development, and leadership remain her key areas of interest.
December 22, 2013 Updated: December 22, 2013

A cruelty free fashion brand in the south Indian city of Bangalore has given people a compassionate option for style-dressing.

Ethik, one of the very few brands of leather-free shoes in India, with its message of “Compassion is Fashion” has managed to motivate the customers to choose cruelty free products.

The two friends and the brand’s co-creators, Piyush Lunia, 27, and Pankaj Khabiya, 26, came across the idea of starting a leather-free brand of shoes when they were looking for non-leather shoes and went around Bangalore searching.

“It was difficult because whatever non-leather products we came across were not of good quality. A few people tried to trick us, trying to sell leather products as non-leather,” Khabiya said.

Now a year old, Ethik is reaching people who believe in humanity. “I came here because I believe in a non-violent approach to life,” said Vivek S.K, a customer from Chennai city. Sundeep Jain, another customer, said that he purchased Ethik to save animals.

“On every invoice, we thank our customer for saving a life, and we believe that selling more of our products and expanding our business means saving more lives,” Lunia said.

Khabiya believes that leather products are also not spiritually a wise style option: “When an animal is killed and is in pain, it sweats and all the anxiety-enzymes along with sweat accumulate on the skin. When wearing leather, if you go to a temple, the leather doesn’t allow your body to sustain positive energy.”

To bring out the hidden compassion of their customers, the store’s walls are decorated with moral quotes like: “Humans love our products, animals even more…” and “Humane: The art of being morally and intellectually advanced.”

Lunia said that India is the largest producer of leather in the world, and while non-leather products are increasingly available, they are still not so easy to find. 

While youngsters around India are trying to find a harmonious integration between their personal lives and work, these two youngsters with no management education have made a point of being ethically wise from their perspective, in their humble-yet-lucrative style.

 

Venus Upadhayaya
Venus Upadhayaya reports on wide range of issues. Her area of expertise is in Indian and South Asian geopolitics. She has reported from the very volatile India-Pakistan border and has contributed to mainstream print media in India for about a decade. Community media, sustainable development, and leadership remain her key areas of interest.