Architecture is a unique career that bridges the gap between the worlds of construction and art, and most architects have creative hobbies. Today’s guest made her creative hobby a full-time job when, after 15 years as an architect, she transitioned into the world of sustainable fashion in 2019. Namita Reddy is a professional architect and the founder of Samsara Sari, a sustainable clothing brand made from pre-loved saris. In today’s episode, we find out how Namita found her passion for architecture and the twists and turns of her architectural career. After being inspired by both her mother and a strong female leader at the same architecture firm, Namita shares why she never really felt limited by her gender. We also discover how Emily and Namita met and how the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator helped them both. Tune in to hear where Namita wants to take Samsara Sari in the future, how she is focusing on the sustainability aspect, and so much more in a fascinating conversation ranging from fashion to architecture and all things in between!
Sn. 3, #29 Namita Penugonda Reddy: Sustainable Fashion
Emily received her BA in Women’s Studies and JD from Temple University. Early on, she worked as a legal advocate for women in domestic violence cases. After practicing law, Emily began working on the business side of things. She is the co-owner of AAA School of Trucking, a truck and heavy equipment safety training firm, which she has spent the last 10 years growing into a thriving national business through government and military contracting and corporate partnerships.
As an executive in the transportation industry, darting from client meeting to trucking range required safety boots that met her style standards, and when she couldn’t find them anywhere, she created Juno Jones Shoes. Emily trained in shoemaking in Cuernavaca, Mexico and at the Brooklyn Shoe Space, and assembled a powerhouse team of designers, consultants, and industry experts to bring Juno Jones to life. Through Juno Jones Shoes, Emily is fulfilling her dream of not only providing women with safe, stylish footwear options for their jobs but of helping to normalize and empower women in traditionally male-dominated fields.
For more information go to junojonesshoes.com.
Namita Penugonda Reddy
Namita Penugonda Reddy is the founder and designer of Samsara Sari, a sustainable brand of clothing, accessories and home textiles made from pre-loved Indian saris that was launched in 2019. She is a former designer-in-residence at the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator program, which trains people in the business of fashion.
Her love for the arts led her to an education and career in architecture. After receiving a Masters Degree in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, Namita worked in the field in New York City for 15 years.
She worked at SPG Architects, a boutique architecture firm that specializes in high-end residential, retail, and corporate projects. She helped design for clients including the Ralph Lauren Polo Sports flagship store, AOL marketing offices, Andrew Martin Showroom and high-end residential properties in New York and Cape Cod.
Namita always had an entrepreneurial spirit and was eager to incorporate her design background and love for textiles with her Indian heritage, by turning her idea into a business.
Samsara Sari is a sustainable brand that bridges multiple generations, modern and traditional, and two cultures. The brand preserves an Indian art form, a heritage, and a memory through celebrating the beauty of the sari. The mission is also to promote cultural awareness, inspire people to be proud of who they are, and give back to the community locally as well as globally.
Namita’s pastimes include spending time with her family, working on design projects for her house, and traveling when she can.