Why this Kerala-based entrepreneur and feminist is optimistic about personalizing women’s clothing

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For centuries, men’s clothing has been designed to be functional, with pockets having a specific purpose and use. However, when it comes to women’s clothing, pockets share a complicated history as their designs tiptoe around fashion sensibilities.

The history of pockets dates back to the 17th century, when they were included in underwear as a “tie”. In the 20th century, as working women began to wear athletic pants, women’s fashion began to idolize skinny women, which led to very small or no pockets – indicating that the concept of pockets has sexist origins. .

Corn Jayalakshmi Ranjith of Trichur, Kerala is determined to change the status quo with his company – Pockets13.

An agricultural engineer and communications specialist, Jayalakshmi quit his job for a break in February 2020. Then the COVID-19 outbreak and the lockdowns that followed were the right nudge to get started. Pockets13, a small Instagram-based business that specializes in designing personalized womens clothing with “functional pockets”. The entrepreneur emphasizes the word “functional” “because women’s pockets have been a big sham for too long now”.

Jayalakshmi herself is abandoning jeans and pants designed for women. “I bought jeans in my size in the men’s section, and when I wore them and put my phone in the back pocket, it slipped all the way in and I’m not used to it. I can’t find any specific reason why feminine outfits shouldn’t have functional pockets. They are either fake pockets or just enough to keep coins. It’s just not fair, ”she said. His history.

The beginning

Jayalakshmi had always been particular about what she needed in her clothes and made sure to explain everything in detail to her tailor, much to her mother’s dismay.

“Since I was six or seven, I always asked for different types of customizations and my mom found it boring because it took time. Over time, my tailor aunt and I developed a relationship and she figured that every time I made a date, she would give me more time to decide things together, ”she says.

As she moved to cities for her graduate studies and to find employment, she graduated from other tailors, but always designed her own clothes, with an emphasis on pockets. Her friends and colleagues noticed her and started asking her if she could design similar outfits for them.

With enough time in the middle of the first days of the pandemic, Jayalakshmi took the plunge to launch Pockets13 on June 13, 2020, starting with some native tissue.

Jayalakshmi in Pockets13 dresses

All sizes are standard

Started with its savings so far, the brand’s primary focus is comfort, convenience and choice.

Garments with pockets are also made without standard size tags such as small, medium or large, and everything is personalized. “I have personally heard friends and colleagues say that some models are beautiful, but I am an XL or an XS and I will not get such models. As a very convinced feminist, I find this very sad. When they’re comfortable showing off in certain designs, why don’t they give them that option? ” she says.

By working with a local tailor, clients can choose from design templates, request any customizations they need, send in a basic bust, hip, and length measurement, and if possible, a sample photo. The tailor then begins work and has the order delivered within two to three weeks.

“We don’t ask them what size they wear,” she says, adding, “I had a tailor who took care of everything I wanted in my clothes and that’s something I try to do. ” The brand only uses cotton and ensures that the packaging is environmentally friendly.

The path to follow

Just over a year old, Jayalakshmi juggles adventure and her work as a consultant.

India is the sixth largest market for women’s clothing in the world, where domestic sales of women’s fashion amounted to more than Rs 1.313 billion in 2018, according to Statista. Pockets13 presents the market as an alternative to various global and national commercial brands that continue to meet the fashion industry standards for women’s pockets.

It has also helped create a kind of community where women are just grateful for the functional pockets. As a one-woman army working simultaneously as a social media marketer, accountant, and working on designs, logistical restrictions have been a challenge, but she says transparency in communicating with clients is a priority. essential.

“If you have to go out today, all you need is a phone and probably your card to do anything, at least on the subways. You actually have the option of having your hands free if you have pockets. Jayalakshmi’s goal is only to allow that.

Going forward, she plans to build an all-female team to secure employment for women as the business grows.


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