This Bengaluru startup's merchandise lets you wear your patriotic pride on your sleeve

Started in 2018, 1947IND, which creates fashionable and comfortable clothing, recently collaborated with ISRO for space-mission themed merchandise.
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It’s that time of the year again when we wear our patriotism with pride. Quirky clothing brand 1947IND is helping us do just that. A brand that celebrates ‘Indian sub-cultures’, it ascribes legitimate brand value to intrinsically Indian concepts, objects, and traditions.

Founded by Rajeeva Mahalinga and Sowjanya S Prabhu in 2018, the Bengaluru-based lifestyle clothing brand is Indian in its outlook, though proudly Bangalorean at heart.

The founders say, “There are a lot of places in Bengaluru that have the potential to be branded. This branding can open up opportunities in these areas, and it is our vision to do that with our clothing and lifestyle brand.”

Recently, 1947IND collaborated with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The initiative was in the wake of ISRO’s long-term plan to familiarise millennials and Gen-Z with the milestones achieved by them over the years.

With the likes of Ranveer Singh, Danish Sait, Ritviz, Alok Babu of @all_ok_official fame, and Mihir Joshi sporting their designs, 1947IND is certainly on the right track.

The beginning

1947IND was started with the sole aim of creating lifestyle merchandise at a reasonable price point to appeal to a younger generation who took pride in being Indian. The brand takes inspiration for its collections by dipping into the vast pot of Indian cultural diversity, its various destinations and icons.

“We started as a tourism and hospitality company that focused on creating and extending the touristic value of Indian cities. This is when we noticed the lack of merchandise that declared pride in one’s city. We utilised the opportunity to launch a brand that would celebrate ‘Being Indian’ in all its varied aspects,” says Sowjanya.

1947IND’s clothing aspires to capture the vibrant art and culture across the length and breadth of the country, including urban art, music, fashion, and metropolitan lifestyles that thrive in Indian Cities.

Sowjanya S Prabhu, Co-founder, 1947IND

The brand currently offers fashion products like T-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, and drop-shoulder t-shirts, while the development of scale models, books for children, collectible items, board games and fashion accessories like fanny packs, tote bags, pouches, etc., are in the works.

Though its patrons are mostly restricted to residents of Indian metro cities, with the launch of its latest line of ISRO merchandise, the startup is hoping to expand its reach to Tier I and II cities as well. In a couple of years, it hopes to have international presence too.

The bootstrapped startup was started with an initial investment of Rs 1 crore, and its sales have roughly amounted to around Rs 20 lakh per year. The pricing of products begin from Rs 250 for a set of stickers and can go up to Rs 2,499 for hoodies.

The ISRO collection

Instead of seasonal launches like most other brands, 1947IND is focussed on design-oriented collections, which will be available for long periods of time.

In January 2021, ISRO announced a planned roll-out of collector’s items to appeal to space enthusiasts in India. A set of guidelines outlining pre-approved norms for the representation of ISRO were also passed in this regard. 1947IND was onboarded as the chosen partner to carry out this important work.

ISRO merchandise by 1947IND

This collection of merchandise highlights the various missions undertaken by ISRO over the years, and pays ode to the great leaders behind its achievements.

Sowjanya shares, “It is indeed a matter of pride to be signing an MoU with ISRO. We are completely in sync with the larger vision of ISRO and are delighted to be a part of this journey to create awareness about its achievements amongst the youth in India and abroad.”

The collection, titled ‘ISRONAUT’, consists of a range of popular streetwear styles such as sweatshirts, bandanas, hoodies, and more. ‘ISRONAUT’ is a term coined by the team to signify anyone who is passionate about space research and proud of the work done by ISRO.

“We often come across NASA inspired merch in pop culture sitcoms, see celebrities wearing them, etc. Though we did come across some ISRO merch, nothing was up to the standards we expected in terms of quality and design. We began working on these designs over a year ago, assuming that we would get permission from ISRO for licensing, and fortunately, that is exactly what happened. It was a classic case of ‘luck is when preparation meets opportunity’!” shares Sowjanya.

She says, the positive feedback received for the ISRO merchandise, along with some constructive suggestions about what customers would like to see in future designs, has encouraged the team to stay on track.

When asked why ISRO attracted them specifically, co-founder Rajeeva says,

“ISRO is at par with most top-notch space research agencies across the world. However, as Indians, our interest in ISRO’s activities arises only when there is a big space launch or some specific event taking place. Merchandising is a great way to create universal advocacy for the brand ISRO and help them connect with the youth of our country and the Indian diaspora abroad.”

Rajeeva Mahalinga, Co-founder, 1947IND

Plans ahead

Apart from its ISRO and city-based merchandise, the startup is designing a new range of fashion products, including kidswear, bottom wear, fashion accessories, and others.

Non-fashion merchandise as additions to existing collections are also on the agenda.

Eventually, the team hopes to get into athleisure, university, and sports-inspired merchandise.

“Currently, our target audience is the youngsters. However, as we diversify into toys, books, and other products, we plan to cater to children as well. The ultimate aim is to have something to offer people of all groups and categories,” explains Sowjanya.

Their strong social media presence and collaborations with celebrities has helped spread the word about 1947IND far and wide. The products are currently available on its official website, as well as on Amazon, with imminent plans to expand to other third party websites such as Flipkart, Bewakoof, Ajio, and others.

Physical retail stores are also on the horizon, and may open as soon as the end of this financial year, with Bengaluru being the first destination.


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Edited by Megha Reddy