Can fashion be an actor of change and help break harmful stereotypes on race, gender and more? Female First talks with Natasha Sumant, founder of Gundi Studios, the sustainable streetwear and progressive media brand empowering desi womxn in motherland, diaspora and beyond.

Gundi Jacket

Gundi Jacket

Tell us about Gundi Studios, and why you started the label?

Gundi Studios is a slow fashion label with the core mission to honour and support women through fashion and media, through a collection of handmade streetwear created through a woman-centered supply chain in India and an exhibition of feminist art and writing.

Who are desi womxn?

Desi womxn are all women, including transgender women, of South Asian descent, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka and their respective diasporas. 

What values do you stand for?

At Gundi Studios we believe in feminism, slow fashion, and representation. We’re on a mission to break cultural and gender stereotypes surrounding South-Asian women, and to encourage womxn to be unrelenting when people are against them. We want to celebrate outspoken women and make them more visible, so that young girls are able to aspire to be like them.

How do those values transcribe on the clothes?

Our garments directly show our values. Each is inspired by social or resistance movement. For example, our Azaadi dress is deliberately made from Khadi, a material that is intrinsically linked to the independence movement of India. And our Suffragette Sweatshirt is the same green that was used by the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) in their fight for women’s right to vote in the UK. Our feminism extends to our supply chain as we prioritise working with suppliers and production units that are women-owned and work towards creating a meaningful impact on the lives of the women they employ. Our clothing is also designed to outlast fashion trends and produced a limited number of styles in small batches to reduce waste.

How can fashion break gender and race stereotypes?

The fashion and media industries have the power (and therefore responsibility) to shape society’s views on many issues, including gender stereotypes and norms. This is what we’re trying to do with Gundi Studios. Gundi is the Hindi word for ‘female-thug’ or ‘gangsta’, a way to describe girls who misbehave. We launched the brand because we didn’t feel like there were enough examples of assertive and independent South Asian women in media or pop culture and we wanted to build something that represented them. Our clothing collection is supported by the art we make and long-form writing we publish which adopt a progressive lens and cover topics like sustainability and feminism.

Do you mean fashion as an art can be feminist?

Everything we do has a feminist slant. The clothes in our collection have design details that reference resistance movements and are made in a supply chain that meaningfully impacts women. Our art depicts and celebrates bold and independent women while criticising the social norms and stereotypes that may limit them.

What is Gundi Studios up to?

In 2019 we’re taking our collection on tour and will be hosting week-long popups on three continents (in Bombay, New York, and London) to give people the chance to experience our brand and what we stand for in person. We're a slow fashion brand and believe clothes are artifacts that should be maintained for a long time so we want people to have the chance to see them up close before making a purchase. Very soon you’ll be able to join us at our upcoming popup at Studio 220 Brick Lane in London, from 3 October to 7 October 2019, where we’ll have our collection and feminist art on display.

Gundi Studios is a slow fashion and progressive media brand celebrating South-Asian womxn. For more information about Gundi Studios and to view the collection visit And book free tickets to their upcoming Brick Lane popup at

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