Laboni Saha founded her own fashion brand L Saha, in 2014 in England’s capital city. The brand is a true-luxury womenswear label, creating timeless collections that follow holistic, eco-friendly, and pro-people principles. While Laboni has had much success in dressing her notable clients, which include royal families, she is not driven by who wears her designs as much as she is driven by showcasing the value of her collections.
With a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design and a master’s in Fashion Business Management, she had a successful career in fashion buying first, which gave her an understanding of the fast paced and ephemeral nature of trend driven fashion. “I was aware of the importance of business knowledge, in order to launch a brand,” she notes. “The pathway for my MA degree and my career in buying were all planned as they were to equip me with the right knowledge and skillset required for the launch of L Saha, which was my ultimate goal while starting out my career.”
“Following the path of sustainability should not be an exception but the norm.”
When she took the plunge to dive into creating her own brand, Laboni knew she wanted to create a brand that was sustainable, ethical, and transparent to create timeless pieces, done under exceptional craftsmanship with fair policies. The fashion industry is known as the second most unsustainable industry and Laboni knew she didn’t want to be a part of this statistic. “We believe in taking the path that ensures a safe and secure future of the planet and the generations to come. It is a win-win in multiple ways. When we do things right, everyone wins, from the farmers who grow the crops for our textiles, to the customer and the shops that finished garments. I believe we cannot burn our home (planet Earth) in the quest to make profits but sadly, that has been the case for many decades.”
Launching L Saha
“I have always wanted to start my own label since my early student years in 2007,” says Laboni. “I worked as a buyer to build a commercial acumen that is necessary for all creatives, especially if launching their own business. I saw a prominent gap in the market when it came to brands offering ‘Sustainable Luxury’ products (back in 2014), and I felt there would be no better time to launch L Saha as the market had a latent demand for ‘desirable’ sustainable products.”
We all know the craftsmanship and couture designs that have come out of India. From the rich deep colors, it’s a fashion connoisseur’s ultimate paradise, and this is where Laboni originally comes from. Without a doubt her homeland has inspired her as a designer. “My Indian heritage definitely influences my approach in life and my work. You can see subtle Indian influences in my designs. But more importantly the ‘Hindu’ value systems as part of growing up in India that has influenced me greatly, where being kind to all living beings is a duty. We believe all beings (be it human, animals, terrestrial or marine) on the planet are interconnected. We cannot harm one to safeguard another.”
The British Fashion Council has featured L Saha as a ‘Positive Fashion Brand’ for the past several seasons during London Fashion Week. And L Saha has positioned its collections as a blank canvas that unveils women’s luxury craftsmanship at its highest degree with the skills of the artisans on its team, which include embroidery techniques that go back four generations. “Our collections act as a canvas that showcase exceptional craftsmanship, hand work that cannot be replaced with machinery- and some of our pieces require over 300 hours to create,” beams Laboni.
But what about the brand makes it luxury? Laboni explains: “We call ourselves a ‘True-Luxury’ brand because of our ongoing commitment to key pillars of sustainability and luxury. It entails the choice of fabrics that are sourced sustainably and have the required certification, the processes we follow in all aspects of the supply chain to ensure a pro-planet and pro-people approach, as well as the way our collections are designed by keeping ‘timelessness’ at the heart of all products we introduce to the market. If you see our autumn-winter 20’ collection, there are styles that we first introduced as early as 2015. Meaning our customers can rest assured our products will remain relevant in their wardrobe for the years to come.”
2020 And Beyond
Fashion has really taken a hit in 2020. Even before the age of Covid fashion was struggling in many facets. Designers all over the world had had to reset and reassess their labels and L Saha is no different. Laboni sees 2020 as an unusual and unpredictable year for her business. “We have had cases of cancelled orders, reduced to nil appointments with clients resulting in unforeseen revenue drop. However, there must be a bright side to this year. In Japanese culture there is the concept of “Yohaku” which looks at the beauty and profound functionality of empty spaces. I see the year 2020 as Yohaku.”
For her, there are many lessons from the year. “We may take learning from this year to transform the world we are stepping into, for the better,” she says. But Laboni is hopeful for next year. “I am bit of an eternal optimist and I do have high hopes for the coming days and year.”
L Saha will continue to adapt to the changing times, all while keeping the brand DNA and ethos of the brand intact. “I have been saying ‘Tomorrow will be better than yesterday” in many interactions,” she muses. “I really do believe that to be true, if we can remain adaptable and understand the fast transformation that the market is going through.”
As the interview closes, Laboni is adamant with a note to the consumer: “As a brand that follows in the ‘Timeless is more’ mantra, I would like to encourage anyone who buys clothes (L Saha or not) to please give some thought into the product they are planning to buy. The consumer ultimately has the power to make a positive difference in the world through what they buy and where they buy it from. It’s time we made that power count.”
L Saha has some exciting things in the pipeline for 2021, watch this space. (IG @lsahaofficial).