Meg and Komie Vora of Delikate Rayne
What can we say? We’re partial to sibling-owned companies–particularly those that are woman-owned, environmentally responsible, and proudly lean feminist. Enter Delikate Rayne, an L.A.-based clothing line that sisters Meg and Komie Vora say embodies “the dynamism of the empowered female.”
With an investment in the welfare of the environment (“our carefully selected vegan leather is eco-friendly and PVC-free”) and a whole lot of girl power (“male-dominant social norms prevail in our native country, [where] gender expectations linger”), this cruelty-free brand is bringing an edge to the vegan fashion scene.
What was the turning point in your careers that made you jump from software development and jewelry design (respectively) to ethical fashion?
Meg: At the risk of sounding cliché, having our own line is something we always wanted to bring to fruition. That coupled with seeing the void in the industry for cruelty-free fashion that wasn't so granola like is something we wanted to help fill.
Komie: When we realized there was a void in the market for a cool, cruelty-free, fashionable line. We needed to spice up the community. Everything we saw was stale. We wanted to bring life to that.
How would you describe the Delikate Rayne aesthetic?
Meg: It’s clean, effortless cool meets dreamy experimental.
Komie: Delikate Rayne embodies the Triple E factor: edgy, ethical and everlasting.
In the spirit of timelessness, who are your style icons?
Meg: That’s really mood-dependent for me. In this particular moment, though: Gaia Repossi, Zoe Kravitz and David Bowie.
Komie: I say this a lot, but I don’t gravitate toward a particular person. I love seeing how women from all over the world dress, so I love how the internet has made that possible with sites such as Tumblr, where you can see styles and trends from all over the globe. I’m small, so it’s interesting to see how women of my size make certain looks work for their bodies.
A campaign image that captures the Delikate Rayne spirit.
Where does your interest in ethical fashion stem from?
Meg: We were born and raised vegetarian–and still have never even tasted meat before. Our parents are responsible for a lot of the consciousness we learned at an early age in regards to having feelings about the environment and animals. I swear our mom is the plant whisperer. Plus our father was raised Jain, so that lifestyle of non-violence was something we became aligned with from the get-go.
Also, I’m really into all the coverage documentaries have been giving to the waste and toxic practices [with which] the fashion industry is aligned. If you haven't seen The True Cost, you must. It will totally change your perception.
Komie: I feel like we were born into it. We were exposed to that type of lifestyle ever since we were kids being raised vegetarian, with our mom and dad being Hindu and Jain.
What is the best and worst part about running your own business?
Meg: When sh*t hits the fan, it’s all on you, and that can be completely overwhelming. On the other hand, though, when you experience the triumphs, it’s that much sweeter because you played such a pivotal role in the success you are experiencing. That is a beautiful feeling.
Komie: The best part is that you are in control of what you want to do and how you want to do it. The worst part for me is that I am very hard on myself and sister. I’ll keep pushing and pushing for the best. I'm such a perfectionist. It is a catch 22. Even if you are in control and making all the decisions, the worst part is that if something goes wrong or not how you wanted it to go, you have to accept that mistake, digest it and deal with it. The only person you can be upset with is yourself.
Meg and Komie Vora. Photo courtesy of Delikate Rayne
What do you look for when you’re sourcing materials? Do you find that sustainable vegan materials are hard to source?
Meg: Our number one thing would be, is it actually 100 percent vegan? Making sure there no animal byproducts. With certain materials, you have to be extra careful. Also, the quality–does it look cheap? How does it feel? Is it going to hold up? Then it’s about the sustainability, followed by what the end product will look like. We usually have the silhouette or particular style narrowed down before looking for the fabrications. At the very least an idea of what we want the garment to look like. We then look for textiles we feel would translate well in those styles.
Cruelty-free leathers used to be challenging. Recently they have gotten so much better in terms of quality, though. Every year the vendors continue to step their game up, which is exciting–more colors and styles with improved construction.
Komie: Quality is very important to us. We try to source fabrics that are a great alternative to if it was the actual real thing (leather, fur, silk, etc.). I think we are at a time where people are starting to demand ethical fabrications, so we are slowly having access to more and more options.
Vegan brands often have company mascots. Do you guys have any, and can we meet them?
Meg: We did. Two floppy-eared dwarf bunnies, Pumpkin and Theodore...R.I.P. Oh, but we do have a trio of squirrels that come visit us everyday and nibble on our succulents. They could be considered our unofficial Delikate Rayne studio mascots, and they make cameos on our Snapchat, too.
Komie: Yes, we have Meg–she serves as multiple purposes for the company! On a serious note, unfortunately, at the moment we do not. We use to have bunnies. R.I.P., Pumpkin and Theodore.
A Delikate Rayne campaign shot.
How does your relationship as siblings differ from a typical business relationship? Do you each have “roles” that arise from a family dynamic?
Meg: We already know for the most part each other’s strengths and weaknesses. That’s definitely an advantage. You don’t really have that luxury when working with strangers until you get to know them better, if ever. Also, you don't have as much trial and error, so you can get things done more quickly or know out the gate what is and isn’t going to work. We spend so much time together that we just have this innate intuition about each other. It’s bizarre, but helpful.
Komie: We are best friends as well as business partners. The relationship doesn’t change much, but we are strict on one another when it comes to business. We hang out a lot, but we definitely need our own space at times. I’m the baby of the family and the more quiet one, for sure. I’m actually really shy.
How do you respond to the sentiment that ethical fashion is unaffordable and people who say they can’t afford a product like yours?
Meg: It’s better to save up and splurge on that one special something than to have a collection of a lot of random stuff that doesn’t make sense. Society continues to teach us more is better. Unfortunately, this is what is ingrained in people’s heads, and it follows them 24/7. We need to get individuals to unlearn this belief. They need to realize that is about quality over quantity. Anything of quality has a higher value and therefore is going to be more expensive. There are so many other factors involved in making something of this caliber. That process is what you are paying for. The end product is something you are going to hold on for a long time–it’s not some disposable item meant to be thrown away after wearing it twice.
Fast fashion is killing the planet and tons of humans in third world countries, where the majority of those pieces are made. As people continue to be educated on the true cost of their clothing, hopefully they will make better purchasing decisions and realize in the long run that the products are not expensive. They are an investment.
“In the long run, the products are not expensive. They are an investment.”
Komie: Educating people is the most important part. I have friends who say the same thing to me, and once I explain why our price points are the way they are–they’re made in the U.S.A., sustainable, ethical, timeless, and so on–people start realizing they aren’t getting ripped off. They are actually buying a product that is more beneficial for them in the long run. Think of it as an investment while doing something good for the planet. Do you invest in your body? Do you pay a higher price for food that you consume? Yes? Then why not invest in a wardrobe that is not only timeless but also healthy for you and the environment?