The New Fashion Initiative

Shivam Punjya: The New Fashion Questionnaire

The New Fashion Initiative regularly invites a leading voice in the sustainable and ethical fashion revolution to answer 17 questions about themselves, both personal and professional. It’s our green and socially conscious spin on Vanity Fair‘s beloved Proust Questionnaire. This month, our interviewee is the founder and creative director of the brand Behno, Shivam Punjya. Punjya founded the brand with the goal of addressing poverty and global health through traditional and non-traditional enterprise channels. Punjyaʼs professional experiences include luxury hospitality conglomerate InterContinental Hotels Group in London to GreatNonprofits.org, a tech-based nonprofit in the Silicon Valley. Upon completing his B.A. in International Political Economy from U.C. Berkeley, Punjya led extensive fundraising campaigns for the overseas branch of Pratham, India’s largest education advocacy nonprofit. Punjya graduated from Duke University with a M.S. in Global Health from the Duke Global Health Institute. During his time at Duke University, Punjya also studied social entrepreneurship at the Fuqua School of Business. Most recently, Punjya also served as the President of the board of Fashion Revolution (USA) where he was previously its Country Coordinator.

What is your favorite article of clothing?

My maternal grandfather’s cardigan. Its scent makes me feel like he’s right next to me. 

What is the most wonderful thing about the fashion industry right now?

The conversations around sustainability and the industry needing to slow down and go back to the fundamentals. 

What do you think is the most shocking thing about fashion today?

The fact that it’s taken this long to have these conversations around sustainability and the industry needing to slow down and go back to the fundamentals.

I think we’ve touched on a lot of issues at a surface level and now we need to dive significantly deeper and start connecting the dots.

Shivam punjya

What’s your favorite place you’ve ever traveled to?

Mexico City — such a phenomenal space with beautiful people, art, food, culture. 

What is your favorite indulgence?

A late night snack.

What makes you happiest?

Being with my family. And hugs and head massages from my sister. 

What environmental or social problem are we overlooking?

I think we’ve touched on a lot of issues at a surface level and now we need to dive significantly deeper and start connecting the dots.

 Are you more introverted or extroverted?

Generally an extrovert, but do appreciate some moments alone. But I thrive on others’ energy and company. 

What do you do first in the morning?

I have an awful habit of checking my phone first thing when I wake up to skim emails and texts that come in through the night. Then it’s a quick workout and then masala chai for breakfast. 

What was the happiest moment of this past year?

Launching behno’s collaboration with the National Down Syndrome Society; it means the world to support an organization doing imperative work for its community. It’s also a very personal community for me– my sister, Nini, has Down syndrome.

The best professional moment of your life thus far?

Launching behno six years ago was life changing for me– it’s been an and continues to be an incredible journey!

What was the last outfit you wore that made you feel amazing?

To be honest, it’s been different at different times; nowadays, I feel amazing in comfortable clothes that allow me to be home at a personal and professional level.

Favorite movie?  

I’ve been completely engrossed in the golden age of television we’re living in. It’s been amazing 

How do you recharge?

Hanging with family and friends is immensely fulfilling. I live for it. 

What three words describe you best?

Dreamer, conscious, social

What makes you laugh the hardest?

My dear friends. 

Favorite book?

 House of the Spirits by Isabelle Allende