From Reliance Trends to Tjori, ethnic fashion brands trip over GI

As a small community from TN battles Reliance Trends, Tjori over GI violations, it signals trouble for many more

fashion brands
(Left) A pouch embroidered in the Toda community’s trademark black-and-red embroidery that is at the centre of the dispute | Photo: iStock

It was a routine promotion by one of the big online ethnic-wear retailers, but one that went horribly wrong. Even as it drew the attention of the growing tribe of ethnic fashion enthusiasts, as it was meant to, the ad also set off the alarm bells among the Todas, a tribe that lives in the Nilgiri mountains of Tamil Nadu.  Surprised to see a retailer promote their trademark black and red embroidery work (pohor) without any acknowledgement of its GI tagged origins and worse still, labelling it wrongly, the community fought back with legal notices with help from a group of lawyers, ...