Monisha Raja is the designer and owner of the brand Love Is Mighty, a growing vegan footwear company in NYC known for its stylish and colorful shoes which are all handmade by artisans in India. Monisha is an experienced designer with over two decades of industry experience outside of her Love is Mighty brand. Her shoes are handcrafted of vegan materials to create a truly unique product. No two shoes are exactly the same.
Overseeing the artisanal work and production of her footwear collection in India, Monisha asserts, is not only important to her as a businesswoman and designer but also ensures that her line will continuously offer a signature product to her consumers. The Love Is Mighty brand occupies a niche market space for vegan-friendly products that appeal to environmentally conscious consumers. These consumers are drawn to the Love is Mighty brand as a fashionable alternative to leather-based goods. Without a doubt they are also drawn to the detailing and embellishments that showcase the technical caliber and talent of the artisans with whom she works closely. Monishadescribes her consumer as a woman who is conscious of the environment and who “values compassionate living” and care about fashion as much as they care about their role as an informed consumer who “genuinely values the preservation of culture and artisanal craftsmanship.”She also feels that more and more consumers are looking for vegan products and want to see a fair trade certification, which the brand has as well.
When asked if she had any concerns about competitors’ attempts to copy her products, Monisha expressed a reluctance to rely too heavily on intellectual property protections. She knows that there is a fast-paced commercial force in the fashion business and that some are quick to cut corners to capitalize on it. But she feels that, in general, proposed increased protections (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 infringement involving misappropriation of a logo or a trademarked label, legal protection for design must stay flexible. The framework cannot be so rigid as to stifle creativity.
For example, Monisha attributes 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 a shoe designer 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 business relationships with her suppliers and the local artisans in India. With the help of the Love is Mighty brand, these artisans provide for their families and preserve their indigenous craft.
Monisha is particularly proud of her signature product known as the Heera (shown above) which is available online through her website. The Heera, made of recycled biscuit wrappers, underscores Monisha’s aesthetic and eye for detail. It has been such a bestseller that she recently declined an investment proposed by a large shoe manufacturing company that offered to expand her business operations in China. In her opinion, this would have been the anti-thesis of her company’s principles. It is the treasured and rare handwork, stitching and beading found on her products that make them special and it is 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.