When Covid hit the country back in 2020, stuck in our homes under a lockdown, life came to a standstill. With the pollution levels reduced and economic activities halted, nature had a rare opportunity to bounce back.
We had one, too, to take a step back and evaluate the implications our lifestyles have on the environment around us. Few realized the gravity of the situation and even fewer adapted to a pattern that would alleviate the burden on nature.
The Goan brand Lost Vedas was created with the passion of making a small difference by satisfying people’s everyday needs with greener alternatives.
The idea of working towards sustainability by simply reconnecting to our ancestors’ old way of life, inspired Mariona Pereira, the proprietor of Lost Vedas, to embark on a journey to create affordable eco-friendly products.
“Lost Vedas is a work of love that stems from my deep-rooted desire to do something positive for the environment and bring about change in the way people perceive traditional crafts,” Mariona mentions. In an attempt to conserve traditional artistry and skill sets, the products made under the brand are functional statement pieces that simply exhibit Goan culture.
A PATH TOWARDS SUSTAINABILITY
After her graduation from the Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bengaluru, Mariona had to seek work outside her hometown as Goa doesn’t have a thriving textile industry, and compared to the rest of India, not much relevance is given to handmade Goan crafts.
At the start of her career, she had a chance to work at a social organization where she received hands-on training experience and an understanding of the skill base of artisans and the creation of art.
Like most designers, she too went on to work at an industrial studio but soon began to understand the huge impact the fashion industry has on the environment. Her inclination shifted to ensure people have a higher quality of life by changing the way design is viewed.
Unfortunately, like many, she lost her job during the lockdown. That’s when she realized she’s always been passionate about working with rural communities.
“I love interacting with rural communities, as there’s much to learn from their age-old sustainable ways of living, which made me start working towards my dreams,” she exclaims. With this goal, she began reconnecting with the craft clusters she once worked with. Lost Vedas came into existence in early 2021.
As a brand, Lost Vedas alludes to lost traditions (knowledge that’s passed down through generations). Globalization and the internet have nowadays provided the luxury and choice to purchase anything from anywhere across the globe and this ease of outsourcing has resulted in the diffusion of cultures.
"Although we have evolved over time, we somewhere have forgotten practices that have always connected our ancestors, who understood that survival is dependent on the nature around us, to the environment. They made products by using things readily available around them," Mariona highlights.
The Vedas, Hindu religious texts, teach man how to work in harmony with nature to maintain balance and order. Despite realizing the threat, humans today are on the verge of destruction. Change begins with oneself, and Mariona decided to lead by example.
She has derived much inspiration from Goa’s paddy fields. The bamboo work used by the community led her to design products that suit modern lifestyles.
The initial struggle for the brand was finding artists to work with. “Different skill sets are required at different stages of product creation, which can affect the quality of the product. For instance, inexperienced artisans tend to deliver untreated bamboo, which increases loss rates as they are likely to attract bugs,” she states.
Currently, there are two specialized clusters under which many artist members work. While there are always new things to experience and learn in these clusters, it’s the warmth and friendliness of the artists that are infectious.
“The moment they get to know we’re visiting; they always prepare local Goan delicacies for us and welcome us with open arms,” she says as she recollects a fond memory.
The brand’s efforts for the continuation of Goa’s old crafts are also hampered by the increasing deforestation in recent years that has led to difficulty in sourcing raw materials.
THE ECO-FRIENDLY PRODUCTS
Lost Vedas makes products such as bags, boxes, organizers, storage containers, shendris (mats), table mats and cushions from materials such as bamboo, coconut leaves and cotton fabrics. At the moment, they are also exploring lamps and home décor items made of bamboo.
These sustainable yet affordable items are created by artisans in and around Goa who directly source the required raw materials. A lot of inspiration comes from nature. For instance, green fabric integrated into the weaves resembles Goa’s lush green fields.
Raw materials are treated using age-old preservation techniques without any artificial chemicals involved.
The shapes of bags are influenced by baskets used by the agrarian and fishing communities of Goa. They come with a detachable lining that is dyed naturally using materials such as onion peels.
There is a huge demand for these bags with people requesting customizations and more additions to the collection. With plans to expand, the brand is looking forward to launching new products and categories and also to creating an online presence with a website.
Apart from this, they are also creating more skilled clusters to work with more artisans across Goa. Collaborating with other local brands and shipping outside Goa is also on the list.
Based in Panjim, the products can be availed by getting in touch with Lost Vedas through their social media handles or also by visiting them at pop-up sales across Goa.
GET IN TOUCH
Price range: Starts at Rs 300-3000
Delivery: Available throughout Goa