Mason and Mill

Shivani Gandhi’s desire of becoming a fashion designer arose when she was in elementary school, and it never faltered. She attributes this to growing up around textiles, her father being a textile manufacturer.

Just a year after graduating college, Gandhi launched her own brand in 2019. Mason and Mill took shape from Shivani’s desire of working with hand-woven textiles and conscious Indian brands, which make casual, everyday clothes. “But what happens is, with these brands, the scope for them to hire designers on their team is very limited because they're generally small teams. Because I couldn't find a job anywhere, I decided to give it a shot myself,” said Gandhi.

So, she claimed a small corner in her father’s factory in a bustling locality in Mumbai, and started experimenting and working on her own line. She sought to make the clothes she wished to wear herself. The name ‘Mason and Mill’ is a reference to the products they sell. ‘Mason’ refers to the mason who builds your house, and ‘Mill’ where textiles are made.

Now, four years after its launch, Mason and Mill is focused on exporting to small boutiques overseas. “Now that I've been in the business for four years, I understand the importance of exporting. But I initially started because I wanted to wear these clothes and I thought people around me also wanted to wear similar styles,” said Gandhi.

Mason and Mill’s garments have clean and flowy silhouettes, with solid colours.“I always start with textile and colour first. That's my inspiration. It's as simple as that,” she said. They are simple pieces which embody their brand tagline—fuss-free clothing for well-lived days. “It essentially means that you can just throw on the first thing that you see in front of you in the wardrobe, and not think too much about it and go about your day comfortably. That's what we try to do with our textiles and our silhouettes,” said Gandhi.

They make textiles in-house, and everything is handwoven. With every garment she makes, Gandhi tries to hero the fabric as much as she can. She first worked with a group of weavers in Madhya Pradesh, then went on to work with a charitable trust that supports women weavers, before landing on the weaving clusters from West Bengal she works with currently. Creating hand-woven textiles and working with weavers is a long process: it takes a lot of effort and time to experiment and execute, compared to mass-produced fabric. Gandhi finds this process enjoyable, and believes that it's what keeps her going.

She also tries her best to incorporate sustainable and ethical practices in her production process.“With the organisation that I'm working with currently, the people holding these weavers together are giving them proper employment, proper wages. It's such a great bridge between brands and the weavers that your challenges are well taken care of,” said Gandhi.

Along with that, the brand has started donating ten percent of their profits to animal welfare organisations every month. As for future plans, Gandhi is looking  to venture into the homeware and lifestyle products space soon. She also wants to promote boutique homestays across the country which follow sustainable practices, and plans to endorse them on the brand’s website.


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