Friends and mompreneurs Anisha Gopinath and Anupama Srinivasan hope their JHOP line will make women go hands-free

Friends and mompreneurs Anisha Gopinath and Anupama Srinivasan have launched a fashion line called JHOP (@JHOP_INDIA on Instagram), derived from the Tamil reference to pockets. JHOP works towards fashion equality.

“You don’t have to look far to find Twitter-rants, memes, articles and videos in which women either complain about not having pockets or rejoice over a dress with pockets. We want to bridge this gap,” says Anisha a former communications professional now living in Belgium.

Anupama, from the banking sector, lives in Chennai.The friends connect over video calls to manage the manufacturing business set up in Coimbatore. “It took a pandemic for us to realise that distance doesn’t matter, as long as there is passion,” adds Anupama. Their decade-long friendship, during which period the friends even had their first children around the same time, helps to identify strengths and allocate tasks while juggling operations, marketing, and finance.

The duo began working on the idea in March 2020. Four year ago, at lunch, they realised that they had to find a place for their belongings, even in public restrooms. “We understood why moms waited for dads to wash their hands and come back to guard their handbags,” recollects Anisha. While this was the inspiration, the duo also wanted to show their daughters that “if we need something, we have to work on solutions ourselves.”

Months of research led to the brand that uses cotton and rayon sourced from Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Erode; they simply share the idea online with tailors. “The pandemic has enabled our tailors to work effectively over video calls,” shares Anisha.

Dress with functional pockets

JHOP’s designs reflect their personal styles: breezy and comfortable. The western and traditional outfits comprising dresses, kurta sets, jumpsuits and shirts, all have functional pockets. “We want to bridge the existing gap between men’s and women’s pockets. Research confirms that women’s clothes have significantly smaller pockets than men’s and that pockets in women’s jeans were 48% smaller and 6.5% narrower than those in men’s jeans.”

JHOP’s pockets are deep and can hold all essentials — mobile phone, keys, lip balm, sanitary napkin, a small wallet and sanitiser, mask, eyeliner and even a small chocolate bar! Its models are bankers, lecturers and artists. “We wanted models who represent all of us — inspirational women, real people and relatable body types,” adds Anupama.

Kurta with functional pockets

The focus now is to stay afloat and find ways to work in the new normal. With the costs of raw materials and textile prices shooting up in the pandemic, the duo compensates it with travel costs. “We invested all our savings in JHOP. While a few people thought that was irresponsible to do during a pandemic, especially now that we are new parents, we truly believed in our idea.”

The brand adopts earth-friendly measures like using cloth bags and recycled covers for shipment. They also reduce waste by making scrunchies, coin purses, and masks with leftover fabric.

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