Sub-continental style takes on a refreshing meaning with the launch of “Shop of Indian Origin” (SOIO) this month. Irked by stale representations of Indian design—think mango motifs and Taj Mahal prints—U.K.-based entrepreneur, Nisha John, created a much-needed web portal for artists and designers “linked to India by body, mind our soul.” The result is a delightfully whimsical collection (paintings, jewelry, clothing and home goods) of over 300 pieces that include rickshaw-patterned flip-flops, teak wood purses, and pillowcases splattered with images from vintage Bollywood films.
“There are many online stores that market creative products from India, but they go the Etsy route—meaning anyone call sell,” says John. “On SOIO, I make the executive decision as to what goes on display.” As a discerning gatekeeper, John wants to showcase products that resonate with an international audience.
SOIO stemmed from a popular design blog that John, a former advertising professional, started in 2010. “[The collection] shows what designers in and inspired by India are creating now,” John stresses.
With prices starting at a mere $15, there’s little reason not to browse through her carefully curated array of goodies. It’s a collection that’s truly global in nature, with items crafted by Indian diaspora artists from a dizzying range of locales like South Korea and Australia. Our personal favorite: a dazzling zinc and peacock-feather statement necklace by North Carolina-based jewelry designer, Divya Thomas.
Aarti Virani is an NJ-based arts, culture, and entertainment writer. You can follow her on Twitter @aartivirani.