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majority group interview with nivi murthy, founder IKKIVI a responsible fashion website based in india

We met Nivi Murthy at a pop-up during fashion week and immediately fell for her curated collection of top-notch designers. Her website, IKKIVI spotlights talented, responsibly-run brands from India. Check out over conversation below to hear about the impact IKKIVI creates as a result of operating with a values-driven mindset.

What is IKKIVI?

Nivi Murthy: IKKIVI is an online shop that sells sustainable and ethical fashion.We curate designers from India, to offer our customers a mindful shopping experience of all things made consciously.

Who is IKKIVI for?

Nivi Murthy: IKKIVI is for an aware global customer who wants to look special, feel amazing and be ethical in their fashion choices.

Kanelle collection, a brand on IKKIVI's online store.
Kanelle collection, a brand on IKKIVI’s online store.

What inspired the brand? 

Nivi Murthy: India’s large talented designer base, craftsmanship and lack of due international exposure.

Have your values evolved since you launched? 

Nivi Murthy: Yes, we added on to our purpose after we watched the movie True Cost. We realized the importance and need for us as a company to focus more on the sustainable and ethical values of our brands – and use that to create awareness amongst our customer base so as to allow them to make more conscious purchasing decisions. 

How do your values inform how you run your business?

Nivi Murthy: I think it entirely informs how we run the business. Right from the designers we bring on board to shared values of our team members to collaborations and even to our marketing strategies.

Kanelle collection, a brand on IKKIVI's online store.

What are the challenges of operating in a values-driven mindset? 

Nivi Murthy: One of the biggest challenges is pace, pace of growth. But I think because of this approach every little step in the right direction is encouraging. 

Your values are prominently placed on your site and on every product page. How has this visibility shifted your consumers mindset when shopping?  

Nivi Murthy: I think our biggest impact so far is of encouraging people to be more aware, evaluate and understand that there is a story behind a product. This has been possible through our offline events, personal interactions, social media and stories we tell of products on our website.

How do you select which designers to feature?

Nivi Murthy: We evaluate our designers based on their presentation, style, values, quality and professionalism.

How do you define sustainability as it relates to the fashion industry? 

Nivi Murthy: Sustainability is consciousness of choices with a goal of extending and enhancing the life of a product or the person and resources that made the product.

Beautifully put. Where are you at in your ideal sustainability journey? Where would you like to be?

Nivi Murthy: I am only in the beginning of my sustainability journey (conscious fashion only and recently switched to the menstrual cup!). Once you become more and more aware of your choices you realize there are so many unnecessary things cluttering your life. However, you are get used to the convenience of it so breaking those patterns is hard, but I am taking it step by step and trying not to overwhelm myself.

It’s true, I think it’s a constant balance between making conscious choices while checking the mental load we’re carrying. The fashion industry as a whole doesn’t make it easy as we’re just now seeing brands transparently publish their ethical and sustainable practices. And even when they do it can be difficult to identify the brands walking the talk. For the brands that want to become more responsible, what’s your advice to them?

Nivi Murthy: My advice is to start somewhere, even if it is just one thing (like introducing a dying craft in your collection). Give yourself time and patience, don’t overwhelm yourself to be perfect in all aspects in the first go. Address just one aspect every collection and soon enough you will be checking off all your values.

What shifts would you like to see in the industry to help address current sustainability challenges?

Nivi Murthy: I think we are on the right track, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel. There are so many more brands choosing sustainable alternatives and so many more customers seeking out conscious fashion since we started. So I think we just need to continue being more resilient and ask the larger brands to vocally (and officially) make the shift to more sustainable and ethical values that will in turn educate the masses and create the demand. 

What’s one prediction you have about what the style of the future will look like? 

Nivi Murthy: Comfortable, both physically and mentally

What future do you rally around?

Nivi Murthy: More empathy and intentional living.

What impact do you want to create with IKKIVI?

Nivi Murthy: We want to educate the Indian market. We want to be a reliable source for curated conscious fashion and change (or enhance) the perception of Indian fashion in international markets. 

Which is your favorite moment with IKKIVI so far?

Nivi Murthy: Representing our designers to international customers with an offline pop up on Elizabeth street in New York!

Yes! It was my favorite moment too since that’s where we met. 🙂 What’s the hardest part about running IKKIVI?

Nivi Murthy: I think, patience. I am eager to do things but I have to pull myself back to find the balance between funds, resources and goals.

Ugh, yes. Tale as old as time. I think that means you’re doing it right though. Can you share an experience that really taught you about yourself? What you carry with you? 

Nivi Murthy:  I am actually in the middle of this right now, owing it to Covid-19! 🙂

This certainly is an unprecedented time. We send love, safety and health to you, your designers and the whole IKKIVI community. 

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