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March 17

Gundi Studios Shows How Businesses Can Celebrate Holi on Instagram

BY: Instagram Business Team

San Francisco, CA

Holi is the Hindu festival of colors that celebrates the arrival of spring after winter. While ancient legends and myths vary, they all tell underlying stories of victory of good over evil and Holi as a day to spread happiness and love. This year, we spoke to Natasha Sumant (@tashasumant), designer and founder of @gundistudios to find out what the festival means to her and how the brand will be celebrating this year.

"I came up with Gundi Studios as a way to represent a kind of South-Asian woman that was missing from culture," Natasha says. "Gundi is a colloquialism used for ‘female thug’ and is often what little girls are called when they’re being naughty or cheeky. It’s a term of endearment when you’re being defiant, and that’s what I want the brand to be about; making it cool to be rebellious as a South-Asian woman."

Two women in pink and blue dresses walk in a field

How do you express your personal experiences as a South-Asian woman in your work?

My experience as a South-Asian woman is integral to the brand. It’s how Gundi was born. Brand storytelling is usually how we express issues of identity. Our first fashion film, Akeli, centered around the idea of female existentialism and the fact that a lot of South-Asian women are not taught how to live alone.

How do you use Instagram to help tell your brand story?

Instagram and our community is everything. It was the reason we started Gundi in the first place. When I was working as an art director in my first job, I faced a lot of weird systemic racism and started making art around my experiences. Through Instagram, I found a whole community of South-Asian girls making similar art, and since then we’ve all kind of grown together as artists.

Our brand is strong on storytelling and so the visual nature of Instagram and its ever-evolving multimedia functionality has helped us create a very rich visual world around the clothes we make. We release short films on the platform, longform articles, shoppable editorials and fun reels of our design process from time to time.

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Holi heralds the arrival of spring after winter. What does this transitional time mean to you?

To us, this means we get to renew ourselves as a brand; it's also the time we work on samples for our fall collection.

Are there any Holi memories that stand out to you growing up?

Playing Holi with my friends and throwing water balloons full of color on children in the neighboring building and having color wars with children is what stands out to me the most. I also remember people using flowers to create colors, and that’s something I’ve been exploring as a dyeing technique as well.

Quote from Natasha Sumant

How will you be celebrating Holi this year, both personally and as a business?

Personally, I’m going to be celebrating it with friends and family. As a business, I think we’re going to use it as a time to rethink our priorities for the year and do a cute plant dyeing workshop with the team.

Color is such a huge part of the festival and also your designs. Are there specific intentions behind the colors you choose to work with?

Color is certainly an important storytelling tool for our brand. For the first season, a lot of the colors we used drew from the sashes suffragettes wore in the 1910s, during the first wave of feminism. White and green were colors very much associated with the movement at that time and that’s why we used them in our pieces — the Azaadi Dress and Suffragette Sweatshirt. Our bomber is inspired by a classic silhouette from the punk movement and uses black to ground it.

This season, our collection was inspired by religious kitsch / paraphernalia, and so the colors used reflected that. We were more experimental this time and used acid dyes to create ombres in hues of pinks and blues. Color is everything!

Quote from Natasha Sumant

What Holi rituals do you like to maintain? Are there any new ones you’d like to start?

I personally don’t have a super traditional Holi. I usually celebrate by playing with friends and family during the day and then playing cards and cooking together at night. This year I’m going to celebrate Holi in Varanasi with a bunch of other designers and am excited to see what new traditions might arise from the experience.

This season, our collection was inspired by religious kitsch / paraphernalia, and so the colors used reflected that. We were more experimental this time and used acid dyes to create ombres in hues of pinks and blues. Color is everything!

What’s your advice to small businesses looking to celebrate and share cultural holidays with their community?

Always share and connect with your community, especially during cultural holidays. It's an opportunity for growth, connection and transformation! Community is what got you here, so always celebrate with them.

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BY: Instagram Business Team

San Francisco, CA