A few pages into her autobiography Bag It All, I was hooked. It was the life she had led and turned around that did the magic. At 17, faced with academic failure, Nina Lekhi, now MD and Chief Design Curator, Baggit, had to prove her mettle and rebuild her self-esteem. She used her dropped year at college to buy canvas in bulk, and create bags to sell to college students. That is how, with a sum of ₹7,000 borrowed from her mother, she started Baggit in 1985. The name was inspired by Michael Jackson’s popular ’80s song Beat It! Over the years, she did what it took to keep it going; some decisions were tough, others not quite, but the goal was clear. Today, catering to every woman’s need for fashionable, durable and useful bags, the brand’s turnover is close to ₹111 crore! Over to the enterprising lady...
What is the ethos of brand Baggit?
Our vision is to be a responsible fashion brand, which is internationally successful but based out of India. While most fashion brands pitch themselves as seasonal, trendy, latest fashion, we are more in the mould of classic fashion. Our products do not become irrelevant at the end of the season.
Baggit is a vegan brand; why did you choose to go that way?
Vegan fashion is not a trend. We believe that fashion must make you feel good from the inside out. Cruelty-free fashion stems from compassion, peace and love for all. More importantly, it gives you the freedom to experiment with a wide range of designs, materials, prints and textures, and that’s what our Indian consumers want— great variety that’s worth the price!
Tell us how you came to work on designs at 17…
I had flunked my first year of college at Sophia Polytechnic in Mumbai. Coming from a very sheltered and protective background, I was not ready to face what I was going through at that particular age; it was disheartening. I was already completely confused about what I should do with my life, failure compounded the confusion, and I became a complete rebel. I took it upon myself to prove that I was not a dud, that I was capable. I wanted to prove that I not only had the artistic skill but also the business acumen—be it administrative, finance or people skills. The sole purpose was to prove that I could to myself and to the people around me and to bring back my self-esteem.
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