Vivat create intricate, Indian-inspired jewellery with a conscience. After discovering how badly many artisans in India are short-changed, friends Shruti and Devangee decided to quit their day jobs and start their own line of jewellery. Their aim? To travel across India sourcing raw materials directly from artisans at a fair price, work at the grassroot level and cut out the middle man, aka the wholesalers and suppliers. The result? One-of-a-kind jewellery, handcrafted using traditional Indian techniques such as filigree, that genuinely helps to improve the lives of artisans across India. They also donate a percentage of every sale they make to help send their artisans' children to school. We chat with Devangee Ganatra about the story behind their jewellery.
How did Vivat begin?
“We launched Vivat four years ago to do away with the cost vs quality dichotomy within the Indian jewellery market. Travelling across India, Vivat works with artisans at a grassroots level, creating jewellery based on thematic designs that are classic yet contemporary and can be worn regardless of the ever-changing trends.”
What are your core brand values?
“Fair trade, ethical practice and sustainability. Through working with jewellery artisans at a grassroots level, we ensure a higher standard of living for them and an education for their children. We’re also proud to be actively trying to minimise the use of plastic and encourage involvement of women in the industry.”
"Through working with jewellery artisans at a grassroots level, we ensure a higher standard of living for them and an education for their children."
How do you ensure your jewellery is ethical and sustainable?
“We bypass wholesalers completely and work directly with artisans all over India, and really focus on the handcrafted element of our jewellery. A percentage of each sale funds the education of our artisans' children. Our silk pouches used to package the jewellery are stitched by a local non-government organisation that supports women.”
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
“Nature, spiritual elements, architecture and India's rich cultural history all inspire our designs. We have a rich heritage full of vibrant colours and intricate filigree work, which, when integrated with all of the above, lead to some beautifully dramatic designs.”
"We want the wearer to feel empowered with the difference they’re making to someone’s life."
How do you want someone to feel when wearing Vivat jewellery?
“Keeping our brand philosophy in mind, we want the wearer to feel empowered with the difference they’re making to someone’s life. Accessorising with Vivat should make you feel confident about being yourself and expressing your individuality.”
Are there any celebrities you would love to see wearing your designs?
“Of course! I have quite the dream wish list! Michelle Obama, Cara Delevingne, Meryl Streep, Indian actress Sushmita Sen, Suzy Menkes, Oprah Winfrey and Victoria Beckham.”
"I was a lawyer before I decided to quit the legal minefield."
If you weren’t designing jewellery, what would you be doing?
“I was a lawyer before I decided to quit the legal minefield. So, I’m pretty sure I would have continued with my litigation practice in Indian courts if I hadn’t found jewellery.”
"Cooking, travel, a night out with my friends and husband, a good book and afternoon tea with my parents always help me stay sane."
How do you maintain a good work/life balance?
“It is so easy for work to consume your life, so I try hard to set boundaries and set schedules - for worktime and downtime! Cooking, travel, a night out with my friends and husband, a good book and afternoon tea with my parents always help me stay sane.”
If you could travel to anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?
“This is a tough question - I live to travel! Right now, I would love to visit Iceland and see the Northern Lights. I’d also love to go back to Italy and Mexico for the food, the beauty of the country and the people.”
How do you wind down after a long day in the studio?
“The drive home is perfect to listen to my favourite songs. Music relaxes me, as does cooking and reading. I absolutely love dogs and cannot wait to come home to some unconditional loving from them.”