Monisha Raja’s “Love is Mighty” brand embodies what she calls “”compassionate living”. Not only are the shoes and handbags made of vegan and often recycled materials, but her Indian production operation employs Indian women from local tribes who are keeping their ancient crafts alive and providing for their families as well. Picture vibrant textured clutches made from vintage saris, and sandals made with intricate hand beading. The shoes and bags are not only beautiful, every item is necessarily a one-of-a-kind.
When asked if she had any concerns about competitors’ attempts to copy her concept or even her products, Monisha says she tries not to rely too heavily on intellectual property protections. She knows that the fashion business is fast-paced and that some designers are quick to cut corners to capitalize on it. But she feels that increased protection such as the proposed Innovative Design Protection Act could be “a hindrance for the designer, causing him/her to be overly cautious.” Monisha Raja strongly feels that while there may be clear instances of glaring intellectual property infringement involving misappropriation of a logo or a trademarked label, legal protection for design must stay flexible so as not to stifle creativity.
Monisha explains that she owes much of her design inspiration to Issey Miyake and Dries Van Noten and shares that in the years following her education at Parsons School of Design, their work influenced her approach to design. She worked for Miyake and through that experience gained a deep appreciation for his textiles and designs. As she transitioned to shoe design she tried to capture the overall feel of Miyake’s work. But, as she makes clear, nothing in her collection makes an express reference to Miyake. Instead, his work inspired her to build on her natural instincts and create her own brand of design.
So, Monisha doesn’t spend time worrying if others are trying to copy her. Instead, she protects the artisanal work that makes the Love Is Mighty brand so strong, by maintaining loyal relationships with suppliers and the local artisans in India.
The Heera shoe, made of recycled biscuit wrappers, has been such a bestseller that she recently declined an investment proposed by a large shoe manufacturing company that offered to expand her business via manufacturing in China. In her opinion, this would have been the antithesis of her company’s principles. It’s the handwork, stitching and beading that make her products special and it’s the story behind her label that makes the Love is Mighty brand as memorable as it is inspiring.
Layne Randolph, Esq. and Juan J. Rivera would like to thank Monisha Raja for her participation; we wish her much continued success with her growing company.