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WHITENIFE: Asia's largest marketplace for ethical & sustainable fashion goods

Mumbai, India
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Asia's largest marketplace for ethical fashion brands. Our 35+ partners receive marketing support & access to a fragmented eco-consumer base. Consumers have a single avenue to purchase ethically. We take a holistic approach to sustainability by supporting multiple socio-environmental problems.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if the world of fashion unites to empower communities, conserve environment while celebrating their love for design & craftsmanship. #CelebrateEthicalFashion
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

1)Increasing demand for throwaway fashion is resulting in water shortages, crowding landfills, forest depletion, labor exploitation & environmental degradation 2)Poor awareness of sustainable fashion amongst consumers 3)Lack of a global marketplace that connects eco-consumers to eco-brands 4) Many eco-brands shut down due to lack of marketing & sales support 5)Lack of trust & transparency between consumers & brands, resulting in green washing.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

1)We are Asia's largest marketplace for ethical fashion goods.By bringing together many ethical fashion brands we magnify our global social impact. 2)We are building a community that share the awareness & drive for eco-fashion 3)We curate each brand based on their design, craftsmanship & ethical values.We work closely with EFF, GOTs, OTEX, Positive Luxury &SAC to verify brands. 4) We provide free marketing & sales support to brands that pledge to: fair trade, natural fibers & dyes, women empowerment, child labor elimination, craftsmanship conservation, cruelty-free production, veganism, upcycling & zero wasteage, conflict free mining & social development 5)We build trust &transparency with consumers by sharing impact from their purchase.


Top 50 most innovative companies by Kairos Society on NYSE, featured in "Young Leaders 3.0" by Jason Ma, Entrepreneur, Verve, Times Of India, Architectural Digest. Designed the crown of Miss World Australia 2014, Member of Ethical Fashion Forum, and more.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Designer: Sasibai, founder of Earth Heir, designs scarves that empower trafficked women survivors. We provide her a platform & marketing support, that provides her access to a fragmented base of eco-consumers. By supporting many such brands/designers that address different socio-environmental causes, we magnify our global social impact. Consumer: Nimit, a responsible citizen, would previously struggle to shop sustainably but now has the luxury to shop from many ethical fashion brands from a single online platform. He is made aware of the positive impact he makes with his purchase. Youth: Gazal, a denim designer dreams of becoming a sustainable fashion designer after studying the brands on our platform & interacting with us at our seminars.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We have created a technically advanced marketplace that houses 35+ brands from 16 countries & ships globally. Some of our brands: use natural fibers/dyes (Sage LaRock), provide education to the Moroccan community (Abury), empower women (Ala Mairi, Earth Heir), pledge to zero wasteage (Beach 2 Boudoir), adopt cruelty free production(Anne Wiggins). We extend our support to an additional 4-5 brands/month & have curated a database of over 1200+ ethical fashion brands that we wish to support in the near future. We have created a rapidly growing social community of 5000+ eco fashion enthusiasts & provide marketing support to our partner brands in leading fashion publications to help generate leads & awareness. To inspire young designer, we have confirmed to host an ethical fashion design competition across 17 design schools. We operate in a drop-shipment model to reduce our carbon footprint.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We vision to be the largest community of ethical fashion consumers,designers & suppliers.Y1-Y3: we will focus on brand portfolio expansion,category extension & consumer acquisition. We wish to extend our marketing & sales support to verified eco brands to magnify global social impact.We will extensively engage with socially responsible corporates, young designers, & fashion enthusiasts via digital marketing activities thus uniting the fragmented eco-consumer base.Y4-Y5: we will introduce our corporate marketplace to allow designers to purchase raw material from sustainable & verified suppliers

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We retain 20% of all sales generated for our 35+parter brands from our platform. Our marketing investments are secure as our partners legally apoint us as their exclusive Indian online retailers. It has its own brands-World of Elfh & MC2 that contribute to its revenues. MC2 reproduces NASA images on silk scarves & donates 5% revenue as space scholarships. MC2 sales largely come from corporate & wedding gifting.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Although there are a few nascent global players, we are Asia's 1st & largest marketplace for ethical fashion goods. Unlike our competitors: 1) We curate each brand directly and carefully to prevent green washing 2)We allow customers to shop by cause & share the impact of their purchase 3) We also focus on building a community in the developing countries where sustainable fashion is less understood 4)Apart from supporting other ethical brands, we create in-house labels to provide education & support animal welfare. 5)We use Carbon neutral shipping & drop shipment to reduce carbon footprint.

Founding Story

Ms. Sonia Agarwal found WHITENIFE in 2012, to work with innovative, animal friendly materials. After extensive R&D, Whitenife introduced Elfh- a patented, peta certified, mineral based composite, which is 89% close to genuine elephant ivory. Whitenife is recognized for its bespoke signature Elfh Tusks, Sculptural Elfh Jewellery and also had the honor to design the crown for Miss World Australia. In 2015, in order to extend support to other rising socio-environmental issues we decided to open our platform to selected ethical fashion brands around the world, making us Asia's 1st marketplace for ethical fashion goods. We now vision to become the world's largest community of Ethical Fashion.


Sonia Agarwal- CEO & Founder (B.Sc. Business Management, Babson College; Luxury Fashion Marketing, Instituto Marangoni) Parul Varma- Brand Manager (PGDM in Business Design, B.Sc. Computer Science) Ankita Rawat- Designer (B. Design- Accessory Design, National Institute of Fashion Technology) Sagar Nevatia- Sales Executive Harsh Mehta- Business Development Assistant Outsourced Divisions: Dedeepya Reddy - Digital Strategy Consultant Faisal Amin - Digital Media Buying Consultant Tarun Garg - IT Consultant Danish Hashmi - Web Developer Nitin Chauhan - Web Developer Rashita Kotian- Social Media Executive Monty Singh: Social Media Executive Dilip Jain - Graphic Designer Mansi Kurdikar - Content Writer
Value Chain: Where does your work fit into the apparel value chain? [check all that apply]

Manufacturing, Consumption.

Your Role: What is your relationship to the apparel industry? [check all that apply]

Brand Representative, Consumer, Designer, Technologist, Trading Company Representative.

Target Population: What stakeholder groups do you engage or empower in your work? [check all that apply]

Brands, Consumers, Designers, Factory Workers, Law Enforcement, Technologists, Trading Companies, Women, Youth.

● Intervention Focus: What are you trying to achieve / influence? [check all that apply]

Access to Essential Services (i.e. Healthcare and Education), Access to Finance, Accountability, Conscious Consumerism, Environmentally Sustainable Practices, Anti-forced Labor or Anti-Human Trafficking, Recycling or Circular Economy, Physical Working Conditions, Transparency.

Lever for Change: Select up to 3 ways your work is helping to transform the industry.

Data, Media, Technology.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

Hidden from View: Conditions in Forests, Farms, and Factories are Only Visible to a Select Few, Consumers Aren't Motivated to Care: Neither Compelling Reasons Nor Easy Means to Change Consumption Habits, Sustainability is Not Yet in the DNA: Fast Fashion’s Current Model Disincentivizes Value-Driven Economies.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Unite More than Voice: Tap into Community Capital and Collective Resources, Activate Local Know-how for Driving Solutions: Build Opportunities for Workers to Become Leaders, Disrupt Business as Usual: Target Key Players Who Can Influence the Bottom Line.

Innovation Inspiration: When you first conceived of your project, did you think of it as applicable to the apparel industry?


If you answered "no" to the previous question, which industry was your project originally aimed at transforming?

Community development, Conservation, Economic development, Environment, Poverty alleviation, Rural development, Sustainable development.

● Replicating in the Apparel Industry: If your project didn't initially target the apparel industry, how are you specifically tailoring it to do so now?

We expanded our marketplace to include designers/brands that work with sustainable textiles, apparel, accessories.

Are you nurturing or inspiring others to be changemakers? If so, how?

Yes, we inspire young & established designers to design ethically & provide them with marketing/sale support & other incentives.

● Tell us about the partnerships that enhance your approach. How have you collaborated with others in the industry to increase your impact?

Our team constantly curates ethical fashion brands. Our affiliated with the Ethical Fashion Forum & certified by Peta also helps


Great initiative by Whitenife! I would love to be part of the ethical fashion community that you are building and I also liked the collection on your website.

This is an excellent model. It will surely help increase awareness and drive change within the fashion apparel industry. Good Luck!

I am a fashion lover. It is so great to see that fashion can be still fashionable without making damages to the environment. I always believe in the philosophy of environmental sustainability and this is exactly how we can come together and take our step towards sustainable fashion.

I am also a fashion enthusiast person and a nature lover. I always used to struggle to find eco-fashionable products in the market. Be it online or offline! Now Im so glad to hear about Whitenife platform. Really appreciate the intention towards saving environment in an innovative way.

This project looks very comprehensive and has a strong social conscience. Also great video!!

Whitenife provides unique, contemporary fashion from a new generation of designers committed to creating beautiful, Quality Products while maintaining high levels of social responsibility and environmental sustainability.Great going folks ..Best Luck !!!

It is a very inspiring and innovative project. It was a pleasure reading about your initiative. sensitivity and regard for ethical fashion comes through very clearly from your description of the project and we see a great potential for collaboration. However, perhaps the project could be strengthened from the impact and sustainability perspective. Specifically, it would be great to learn more about how you reach out to potential manufacturer's/suppliers especially small scale, rural-based enterprises or social organisations who find difficult to expand marketing potential and reach out to global consumers. How do you identify these groups and maximize impact for them and your enterprise. Second, on the other end, how do you create marketing and sales channels? Are your sales largely through e-commerce or online channels or through fair-trade shops? How have you made your niche in the fashion-trade industry and how do you educate the consumers? It would be helpful to read more about these aspects. Thanks.