Clothing - considered one of the basic needs for humans, is an industry that has often limited itself in terms of body types, shapes, and conditions they cater to. While a positive change has been rippling for a while now, a mother-daughter duo from Calcutta decided to take the matter into their own hands.
Zyenika is the brain child of Soumita Basu, an entrepreneur who lost over 80 per cent of mobility to psoriatic arthritis. In a daily struggle to find clothes that fit her painlessly and look good on her, she decided to create clothes, than fit into what was mass manufactured into the markets. Understanding the need for such an idea in today's time, Amita Basu, Soumita's mother and primary caregiver, joined her in creating "Something for Everyone".
Dignity In Clothing
A women-led organisation, Zyenika claims that they are on a mission to empower people with dignity and their right to choose. They come along with a line of functional clothing that is "easy to wear, comfortable and represents" the person for who they really are.
Initially, it was structured in a manner such that they could create independence in dressing, which is considered a very personal daily routine. Over time, they began adapting the brand to the idea of inclusive clothing that offers something for every kind of physical need and body type.
All of this was driven by the concept that clothes should be designed to fit an individual so that they would not have to worry about fitting into it for the rest of their lives. Soumita was also particular that the style element of the clothes did not get compromised in the process, as it was all about empowering them with their own style.
Calling themselves "wardrobe partners", Soumita simplifies it and tells The Logical Indian that "If someone identifies as a saree-wearing woman, they should be able to do that without any worries." Regardless of their conditions or body shape, they are entitled to inclusive clothing options.
Talking about the customers who have approached Zyenika, Soumita says that most people were sceptical if the brand would be able to help them with their issues. She says "a lot of surprise elements" come along the way in this line of the profession because they make it possible for many people to experiment with their clothing and find the right fit.
Talking about the business, Soumita also conveys that there's an emotional connection that has been built with the brand over time. So many people have told her that their "life has changed" with this idea of inclusive clothing. She adds that "Nobody thinks of these things much, but when a small boy says that now he is able to go to school dressed up, and a 20-something-year-old woman says now she can drink water in peace because otherwise, she's always making the run to the loo", it's something that pushes her to do more.
The team that started off with two members is now building up with a whole lot of happy customers and an inclusive team who are enabled a dignified livelihood opportunity.
The Story Behind It All
Zyenika is a tweaked version of the Sanskrit word Sayanika which means a female hawk with characteristics of perseverance and elegance, says Soumita. This is precisely what the company and its co-founders hold to.
Soumita, who was at a point of time 100 per cent disabled, found it difficult to step into her clothes because of the pain it brought along. Her mother described the situation back then as "A wardrobe full of clothes but nothing getting into her body" due to mobility issues. She kept looking for options that would have adaptive clothing which she could fit and wear without making it feel like a cumbersome task. However, there weren't many spaces that said, "We could do this for you, and we can design it just for you".
After a while, Soumita began shying away from social and professional meetings because she couldn't find anything that was decent enough to wear. Thereon, with no formal training in fashion and a little inspiration from her sister, she decided to venture into the space of adaptive and inclusive clothing.
Amita, her mother, who supported her at every step, joined in the decision and got the business running since 2020. It has come along with a lot of challenges of its own, but the mother-daughter duo faced it like the persevering hawk that its brand name goes after.
Also Read: India Hosts First-Ever Pageant For Indians With Down-Syndrome, Records Participation Of Over 40 People