Rosh Govindaraj is the founder of Issara; a luxury leather goods brand. Growing up in multiple countries (Malaysia, India, Australia) Govindaraj was more influenced by cultural nuances than specific designers. Also inspired by fine architecture rather than designer bags; Govindaraj never focused too much on trends and preferred dressing to suit her lifestyle. The designer’s own wardrobe is populated by men’s clothing, and dislikes that clothing or accessories are attributed to a certain gender. This became the reason for which Govindaraj was extremely dedicated to create her brand. Thus, the creation of Issara.
“The name Iss-ah-rah is a Thai word meaning “freedom” – this is a liberty that I hold very dear. “
Govindaraj creates pieces which are timeless and relevant regardless of the season. She sticks to clean lines that are unisex. Motivated and amused by the fact that something she can conceive and sketch, can be made into a tangible, physical product with practical use, the designer is fuelled by this to continue designing every day.”It’s like magic I love seeing my vision and style being enjoyed by customers all over the world.” (Govindaraj, 2016)
Govindaraj spoke with HausMag, and explained to us the ideal Issara girl. She/he is smart, tech savvy, and an discerning buyer someone who cares more for quality and craftsmanship rather than a brand name; “I design to complement a certain lifestyle – one that involves lots of travel and a professional/digital nomad style of working. I keep all of that in mind when designing and the rest just kind of flows.”
Govindaraj had awful experiences of losing her bag, and several phones lost and stolen. Learning from this, the designer wanted to put an end to the pain of losing all necessary information. Resulting in the partnership with Trackr, the world leader in trackable technology to ensure that Issara bags would never be lost. “Then trackable technology became quite accessible and I thought it just made sense to combine our everyday carry with modern technology – after all tech is supposed to improve our lives. Now you’ll be alerted by an app on your phone before you leave your bag/wallet behind, using a proximity sensor. Or if your bag is lost or stolen you can track it on a map, be guided to it and can ring it to find it! All powered by a tiny Bluetooth tracker with a simple watch battery that lasts 12 months. It’s astounding.” (Govindaraj, 2016)
The team focuses on sustainable production and consumption while maintaining timeless design and luxury materials, over trends that rely on planned obsolescence. The brand has strong involvement with Fashion Revolution and champions the hashtag, “#whomadeyourclothes”. Issara is set to be a young leader in sustainable production.
Govindaraj shared with us her advice to fresh graduates saying, “Network by adding value and sharing your vision. Find yourself a mentor. Keep working at your goals and get a side job if you have to. Not having financial stress to deal with will make your creative process infinitely more enjoyable. Stay true to your design philosophy, although this is allowed to change over time. Evaluate inwards and seek the advice of those who are “experts” at the things you’re not good at.”
With special thanks to Rosh Govindaraj for her personal comments and press materials.
Support Issara and their fashion-technology-meets-sustainability journey at their kickstarter here.
Written by Mae Ragab
Edited by Sonia Wan