Krishna photos on T-Shirts, Ganesha on toilet seats and the mystical Yoga boom … these are things which are so completely offensive that one cannot even comprehend the ignorance of the people and companies that start selling these products. Makes you want to do something…right.
Well there are two Bay Area residents Ronica Rupan and Raphael Tompkins who decided that they would and they did by launching Devi INC, an apparel company which has some fairly unique wares. Through sheer luck I stumbled across these folks and asked them their story. In an email, Raphael wrote,
bq. …. well, one afternoon in Marin, Ca, both my friend (Ronica Rupan) and I (Raphael Tompkins) were conversing on mundane issues. Shortly after, Ronica had made mention of common misconceptions that surface throughout television and film concerning what is South Asian and what is obviously a fabrication and laziness on the part of the media; commonly weaving depictions of belly dancing and other forms of Arab culture without bother.
In other words confusing the dots-with-the belly dancing it all is the seems so same to the West. Of course the conversation shifted to Hip-Hops recent love affair with Indias song and music and its potential role for acting as a platform for South Asians and others in finally setting the record straight.
bq. At the same time, retail apparel giants such as American Eagle Outfitters and Abercrombie and Fitch had stirred anger among both South Asians and Americans by producing caricatures of religious icons and promoting stereotypes on clothing items, continues Tompkins.
bq. It was then that Ronica shared her thoughts of a clothing line with both a South Asian and urban themenot to mention sweatshopfree. We then began talking on how ripe the market was and how an urban approach was unprecedented. Wed then began our research and thought up way to embrace this combination and center its efforts on seamlessly fusing the two cultures while staying clear of abandoning the integrity of traditional design and pattern amongst South Asias many culturally rich environments.
The name of the company, DEVI I-N-C, partly translates to denote female divinity. The I-N-C is a break down of the words, Identifying New Culture. Based out of San Francisco, Ca, the company launched less than three months ago and the duo is currently working on the fall 04 line and expanding their collection to include denim and accessories to name a few. Okay folks I think this is a venture worth supporting. What do you think?