Cheeky ninja started an amazing series of posts celebrating female entrepreneurs and I thought why not add Boss babes from India – female entrepreneurs who are running fashion and lifestyle business and supporting communities and artisans.
Meet Prerna Vaswani, the boss lady at After Dark – an e-commerce brand, bringing high street, slow fashion, nightwear to your door step at affordable prices. They focus on traditional hand work- embroideries, smocking etc- all on luxe Indian fabrics to create cosy, pyjamas and nightdresses with an old world charm. They are the only ones doing this right now in India, with few players globally too.
How it started
After Dark started way back in 1988 when her father’s export house got their first nightwear order from De Bijenkorf, a luxury retail store in Amsterdam. The rest is just a legend and it’s what gave her the foundation to, almost 40 years later, exploit e-commerce to bring high quality clothing at affordable prices to people across India.
Education and Experience
Prerna’s qualifications are far from fashion and that actually helped her look at this in a brand/business way rather than pure designer label. Having studied economics and management and after working in the corporate sector, she decided to shift to the family business and introduce a “brand” new fashion trend to the beautiful people of this country. Her advice to fashion design students who want to start a business from her experience in the little time in the industry is to understand what avenues are saturated. Choose the volume game instead of the price war game (yes, they’re different!) There’s such a massive scope in our country’s fashion trajectory still and what truly works is the product itself.
Interestingly today, the pyjama/nightwear trend in India is growing at par as in the United States, UK or anywhere else globally. What is particularly interesting for me about After Dark, is the business is almost 70% woman and there are three women in the leadership role. Their embroideries are 80-90% done by women. QC team is 80% women. They also have a lot of work from home ladies in Delhi and also Lucknow. Having said this, Prerna gives it to the men who work at After Dark, for being so talented and artistic and sometimes much more creative with their thoughts. It’s fun to see Indian craftsman work towards fashion and pride themselves as “We make and wear in India.”
After Dark makes long lasting garments as part of a carefully thought of collection so there’s something for everybody. As a brand they want to ensure that when you go to bed, you feel positive about yourself wearing a garment of your style – something you could lounge around the house in or simply pass out. Beyond the garment, it’s also about ethical fashion trends. They want to encourage the consumer to choose quality of products over quantity any day. For your own quality of life as well as the world on the whole. It doesn’t have to be this or that, they aim to provide high fashion that’ll last you a long long time.
Chit – Chat -Her favorite fashion trend obviously is pyjamas!! A relaxed chic look and one trend she wants to go away forever is Rhinestones and Swarovski on absolutely anything!!
Am wearing the Candy satin Pajama set with hand embroidery and Whiter Madeleine Short set.