Our story starts with the little South Asian girl that grew up in the United States. Growing up, when she wore Indian clothes, she felt distant from her western self, and in western clothes, she felt her identity was incomplete. She was embarassed to speak her native language in public, straightened her natural hair to feel "pretty," and desired nothing more than to feel accepted. To her, being a South Asian American meant that she’d have to choose between South Asian or American.
We, along with millions of other first-gen children are those little girls.
From turmeric lattes to “Henna tattoos,” to yoga, our traditions and cultures have been tokenized, appropriated, and manipulated. With at Mantra and Co. are reclaiming our culture, our way, with our narrative. Our team comprises of college students hailing generationally from different parts of South Asia. As first-generation children, each of us understands the pressure of assimilation and have had our own battles in accepting our identities as first-generation, South Asian American children.
Through our apparel and accessories, we hope to replace embarrassment with pride, fear with embracement and instill a sense of community within the first-generation community while making a tangible impact in South Asia. As such, a portion of our proceeds will help fund a non-profit hospital in Chennai, India, Premika Varadhan Clinic.
Our hope is that with Mantra and Co., that little girl will no longer have to choose between both of her identities.
nrithi subramanian, founder
A second-year college student based in Dallas, Nrithi founded Mantra and Co. in an effort to create representation through and tangible impact through art, while embracing her South Asian American identity. Inspired by her culture as a South Indian and her desire to make Mantra accessible, Nrithi works to make Mantra and Co. a haven for South Asian americans.
shifa karim, vice president of marketing and outreach
Shifa, a third-year college student adds to the Mantra team by integrating Mantra seamlessly into the broader South Asian community. Shifa works with different organizations to spread our brand and mission. Shifa spearheads all efforts to make Mantra accessible all over the United States and the world.
yuktha sureshkumar, vice president of media
Hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Yuktha has been a part of the team for three years and navigates all things design. With her unique ability to envision and create designs fusing the east and the west, Yutkha serves as Mantra and Co's artistic design head.
zain dhatwani, communications chair
With a knack for all people-oriented things, Zain speciallzes in collaborating with external organizations. With an appreciation for Bollywood, Zain seamlessly integrates trends and pop culture into Mantra.
adeenah choksi, outreach chair & blog curator
Adeenah brings her vivacious writing and nuanced background into Mantra, as the creator of the Our Safe Space Blog, creating an inclusive platform. Additionally, Adeenah focuses on her initiative, South Asian Sunday, to create a spotlight for community-oriented members.
lena shariff, social media chair
A rising freshman, Lena handles all things social media, with a focus on Tik Tok. Lena works to make the brand accessible to a diverse audience through content creation, while integrating her humor to add a spark to all of our content.