American born Swati Argade is the Founder and Creative Director of Bhoomki one of New York City’s leading destinations for sustainable fashion. Bhoomki opened its doors in 2012 with a commitment to environmental and social responsibility. Its mission is to create and curate fine products in an ethical fashion for the planet and its people.
Swati began her fashion career in South India while working on a documentary soon after finishing her Master’s degree focusing on film. While location scouting, she met some weavers in Andhra Pradesh who narrated their struggles with finding markets for their cloth which inspired her to make a small collection of clothing. When she returned to her home in New York City wearing her new creations, people started stopping her on the streets enquiring about her clothing. Soon after, Swati launched her eponymous womenswear line, selling to specialty boutiques globally in the United States, Europe and India. Her collections have a modern and structured sensibility by incorporating handmade sustainable fabrics with tailored silhouettes.
In 2006, while developing her Fall/Winter 2007 collection, Swati planned to develop leather trims crafted in the Shanti Niketan tradition. By then her business had grown to where she needed to work with factories experienced with exporting luxury goods. She found herself in Calcutta with a major leather supplier producing bags with recognizable global brand names. She asked to see the factory floor and saw that only children were producing $5,000 bags seen in the pages of recognizable glossy fashion magazines.
At this time, Swati decided to take a break from producing fashion collections and changed her focus to studying the apparel supply chain, identifying solutions for change, and consulting with US-based fashion companies on how to produce clothing more ethically in the developing world. This work led to Swati’s appointment as founding faculty member of the School of the New York Times where she is the lead fashion educator. At The School, she designs curricula and teaches classes on ethics, technology, culture and innovation in fashion.
Her current brand Bhoomki came from an idea to create a label and experience that is less about the cult of the designer and more about the planet and its people. (Bhoomki loosely translates from Hindi to “Of the Earth”.) She opened Bhoomki Boutique to provide a space for customers to discover brands committed to social and environmental responsibility. Bhoomki is one of the few boutiques in New York City dedicated exclusively to conscious fashion and is celebrated for its focus on affordable and sustainable luxury. Its best-selling line continues to come out of Bhoomki’s design studio where Swati and her team create collections cut from environmentally low-impact artisanal fabrics sourced from labor compliant suppliers.
Swati has a Bachelor’s degrees in Art History and Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Master’s Degree in South Asian Studies with a concentration in film from the University of California, Berkeley. She has also studied garment construction at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.
In 2017, she was chosen as one of four women entrepreneurs by technology giant Intel in their campaign #SheOwnsIt. Swati’s work has been featured in such publications as Elle, Lucky, Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Associated Press, Brooklyn Magazine and The Nation.