A cultural confluence of ideas, practices and visuals, Joli is an ethical accessory brand. Founded in 2010, Joli went on to launch ‘Kitschic by Joli’ upscaling its fabric and plastic waste efforts adding ‘recycle’ and ‘upcycle’ to its mission statement. The brand is centred around development and pride of its artisans, spotlighting hand-made and Made in India.
“Joli is inspired by popular India, my everyday life in India, with its myriad facets! My design is my life!”
Meet the founder!
On Inspiration and the Pandemic
For Lili, being present in her immediate environment is the biggest source of creative exploration. “I am always in awe of the colours, shapes and textures that construct our world. Noticing and recognising these fulfils me and makes me happy.” With a growing family and the devastating impact of Covid in India, she decided to find a silver lining in her vast bank of research. “I took the opportunity to go through the huge load of photos from my travels in India and simply continue to interact daily with my community and my surroundings.”
She is passionate about India, its heritage and its people at a purely fundamental level. “I used to collect textiles a lot, from India and other places I travelled to. I love yoga, interacting with children and being in nature.”
On a Sustainable Lifestyle
No surprise that she doesn’t use plastic bags! She keeps her Dhurrie Tote handy at all times while grocery shopping and essentially ticks all the boxes an entrepreneur in sustainability would. “I separate all my waste, do my compost, grow a few vegetables, buy as few plastic bottles as possible, and whenever I can, I use sustainable cleaning products for the home and buy organic products.”
Created by Lili and her long-time designer friend Jonas Grier, the European duo shared a mutual interest in Indian life and craft manifesting in their creations fit for the urban traveller. Joli comes from a fusion of their names and translates to ‘pretty’ in French, for “Simply beauty, one bag at a time”, is what Lili wants to share with the world. From the very genesis of Joli, the pair strived to reduce raw material generation pledging sustainability at every turn. “We try to use what is already there. For example, we use actual lungis for linings and new bag concepts.” A keen sense of nostalgia, relatability and patriotism eventually make the brand an out-and-out hit.
On the Joli moodboard you’d find, “Picture print-outs of what we capture on the streets of Delhi from the worker's patched up tool bag to a woman's silhouette wearing some crazy colour combination. And of course, our gleanings from the streets and villages we visit: a piece of ribbon, embroidered swatches, collection of fabrics, Pantone chips, leather cuttings, a rusted piece of metal with an amazing shape and texture, it's endless!”
Existing elements representative of the life of a common Indian citizen- lungis, gamchas, and thailas are deconstructed, pairing individual elements with other finds from old Delhi markets, reassembled to give birth to authentically stylish, practical products. “Maybe it is because one can feel that our products take their roots in real people's life, that sets them apart.”
For a few years now, Lili has entirely taken over Joli with the brand’s focus on materials and textiles. Collected from markets, small organisations and NGOs, she develops unique hand-woven or braided fabrics using scraps. These are then constructed into simple shapes producing one-of-a-kind collections of striking totes, pouches, weekenders and sleeves.
A Global Perspective
Joli strategically borrows the best from both Lili’s native and current homes. Clean lines, the quality of finishing and a strong European design aesthetic is coupled with rich Indian craftsmanship while calling to attention the country’s ingrained age-old sustainable methods. “To promote India's capability to produce beautiful handmade quality goods, is where ‘Proudly Made In India’ comes from.”
A Future in Plastic
The signature raw material of her brand not only comes from plastic waste but also new plastics. “Our Metallic recycle clutches are made mostly with plastic packaging rolls which were wrongly printed, therefore unusable that we hand weave into pallas for our clutches.” Joli also aims to support the mentally and physically disabled community through their ongoing work with NGOs. So what can we see next from Joli? Think all-new festive Dhurrie Totes, a new selection of Chindi Clutchbags and more metallic recycled plastics.
Feature Credit - Simran Khera