Ritika Narang Tickoo is the cofounder of Either Or. Her philosophy and her commitment to local art, craft, sustainable fashion are all evident as soon as you enter her store. Either Or is situated at Sohrab Hall, in the Bund Garden area of Pune.
Corner Network sat down with Ritika to talk about her goals, her business and more. She began by reflecting on her weltanschauung (worldview) in a rather poetic manner.
And with that Ritika went on to answering the questions we put to her. What ensued made for not only an interesting conversation but also an interesting insights into the story of Either Or.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
As co-founder of Either Or, which was founded in January 1999 (21 years ago) I have had the opportunity to grow from experiencing art, craft, philosophy, sustainability, and fashion, not simply as a summary of theories but as an aligned interactive community experience, alive with explorations, wonders and witnessing the essence of India and its splendors.
Once that, has been experienced there is unfortunately a loss of self that occurs. We begin to realize that we are all essentials to be a part of a whole and, our role is as big or small as the play demands.
That’s all one can say of oneself.
What is Either Or to you?
Either Or is a story of bringing people together - people who work with their hands, heart, and imagination; people who utilize time creatively, sensitively, with themselves or others. It’s about being reasonable in prices and attitude. People make all kinds of choices, and in life, choices are not about expensive or stylish or cheap and kitsch, not black or white. They are about a whole range of options that lie somewhere in the middle but still, do not deny the extreme. We believe that it is possible to celebrate all choices.
Everything in nature finds a niche – our hope is to find the right balance.
So a group of young (some in age and some in spirit) designers exploring different crafts, skills, and ideas decided to create a space to share products which emerged out of their experiences - whether natural dyed T-shirts, furnishings, wire toys, bamboo chimes or socially sensitive literature. The desire is to celebrate, nourish and inspire local and personal creativity. The attitude is to share borderless timeless creativity wherever possible with sensitivity to ecology and personal creativity.
Our space includes products and literature of NGOs, young students, artisans, weavers, and designers, showcasing the lush tropical diversity of our subcontinent.
What do you think makes Either Or unique?
Our products are comfortable yet stylish, reasonable yet innovative, functional yet beautiful, freaky yet meaningful, on the edge yet centered, sometimes innocent, sometimes arty, sometimes real, sometimes playful. Always heart-made.
Our USP lies in our ability to morph into the borderless possibilities of emotional, social and "that which cannot be put in words" while creating a platform that engages in handicrafts, where art and handmade goods get showcased and provided for those who want it.
What products does Either Or offer?
We offer the following products:
Adult garments made of natural dyed block printed fabric. In styles, convenient and comfortable, suitable for modern life. Kids wear available in naturals for ages 2-10 yrs.
Handloom woven garments & linen garments for men. Also available are western party wear in cotton silks, tussar sarees, dupattas, stoles Along with extensive jewelry in all kinds of material from thread, metal, terracotta, and semi-precious stones. Bags in jute, crochet, cotton, silk embroidered and satin, providing options for casual as well as formal use.
Artifacts, lifestyle ideas in abundance, Either Or aims to provide alternative options in home accessories.
Books for children and adults,
Vintage film posters and many such memorabilia,
Complete lifestyle options other than lingerie.
With a story behind every product that is showcased, one can truly say we are a story, not a store!
Now, after Covid19 what sort of evolution do see Either Or undergoing, if any?
It is a challenging time and to be honest it requires incredible rethinking as the world is attempting to find its way back to normalcy only to find that the ground has shifted.
Our foray or commitment aside, we are pragmatic to recognize that any evolution has to be taking into account the market and human sentiments.
There is a time and space for development and there is a time for recognizing the relevance of where we are.
So our steps towards reform and change will endorse the change of the human spirit.
As of now we must wait and watch.
What challenges do you face generally?
The challenge of our experiences is always to remind the community that "walking the talk" is important.
To get prospective customers to understand the need for a sustainable, eco-sensitive, fair lifestyle and the importance of true patriotism for their motherland and Mother Earth requires a gentle shift of recognizing needs and celebrating them with action more than words.
What successes have you had with Either Or?
In the last two decades, we have earnestly supported, encouraged, and nourished voices and movement of artistry, creativity, and imagination which has emerged from our soil and soul.
Every single smile has been a success.
Have you had any exciting experiences while working at Either Or?
Too many to narrate. Two decades have had at least over two hundred!
Lastly, have you had any particularly proud moments?
Pride is for the customers to feel.
We focus on the sacredness of our successes and failures, as learning experiences. We have achieved a change in mindset and in the way craft has been perceived over the years in India. We have managed to make handcrafted items more than just "good buys".
We have inspired a generation of design-led people to reinvent with love for desi...
We have grown with others as a community.
We are proud of what we have seen happen to the sense of fashion with craft as its backbone.
If you'd like to know more you can visit Either Or's Facebook page
Hello, I am Kaihan Behramkamdin, a second year college student who enjoys consuming music, memes and mediocre cup noodles at 5am. I'm also very tall; hopefully that makes the articles more interesting.
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