Voices Anirban Ganguly Anand Neelakantan Shinie Antony Ravi Shankar Amar Bhushan Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev MAGAZINE Buffet People Wellness Books Food Art & Culture Entertainment NEW DELHI january 3 2021 SUNDAY PAGES 12 Forces of Nature Sustainable fashion has been breaking ground in India, as ethical consumption becomes a global lifestyle trend, creating a new breed of eco-designers. 2021 promises to be a rewarding ‘waste not, want not’ year. By Sharmi Adhikary F ashion is a fashionable cause. Pantone has named Illuminating (bright yellow) and Ultimate Gray as its 2021 Colour(s) of the Year, but the soul of fashion is turning Green. Sustainable fashion is the accelerating trend in the world of pret and couture, as ethical lifestyles in eating, building, living, travelling, motoring and shopping hint at making the world a guilt-free place. One truck capacity of textiles is landfilled or burnt every second somewhere in the world, according to the Isle of Wight-based Ellen MacArthur Foundation that is pushing fashion to move to a circular economy The fashion indus. try’s annual production is 400 billion square metre of textiles leading to cutting room floor waste of 60 billion square metre. In the present pandemic-mutating world, crippled by global warming and deprivation, and where fashion and lifestyle choices directly affect the environment, sustainability isn’t just a bandwagon for trendy consumers to thumb a lift. It is a personal choice that involves protecting the Sui environment, pursuing and reviving dying traditions and lost legacies while also helping thousands of artisans rendered jobless by the coronavirus contagion. A variety of young Indian neo-fashion pioneers are breaking the boundaries of conventional creative imagination by using local and exotic materials like beeswax, watch parts, coconut accessories, cross-national techniques, employing exquisite but obscure traditions like rural tile-making and producing customised avant garde natural designs to take Indian design to the next level. Just like a cheeseburger, fast fashion is quick and novel, appealing but unhealthy for both the body and the environment. The world over, many fashion giants are moving away to the circular fashion economy whose three main traits are: (1) The same garments must be worn more and used more, (2) Creating apparel with safer renewable materials, thereby junking nonrenewable ones, and (3) Reinventing and refashioning old garments while recovering the textiles and fibres. As a production-based country India is directly , impacted by overproduction that leads to excessive consump- tion of chemicals, pollution of water resources, unequal standards of living and product waste. While the West has realised the importance of conscious consumption, India is yet to accept that its rich textile, motif and design heritage have the potential to lead the way for sustainable fashion. “If we do not start embracing sustainable fashion now, the future is grim,” warns designer Gautam Gupta, whose two-decade-old label has zero-waste philosophy He uses only . handspun, natural fabrics and dyes. The leftover cloth goes into making buttons, tassels and potlis, and appliqué work. Sunil Sethi, president of the Fashion Design Council of India, avers, “The beautiful thing about our country is our heritage. Our past was the most sustainable form of living. People say India is a latecomer to the sustainability game but to be honest, we were already living it until fast fashion and life messed it up.” Nothing is 100 percent sustainable. Simplification is the key Rina Singh launched Eka in 2011 with a singular . Turn to page 2 Founder Mahima Gujral Wadhwa Clothing with a green heart Backstory As a young Process Wadhwa realised that sustainable or slow fashion was perceived as ‘boring’, ‘earthy’ and ‘anti-fit’. “I knew that beautiful clothes could be crafted using better fabrics, slower processes and a green ethos.” Her products are inspired by Nature, made respecting the planet and the artisans who make them, and the community that wears them. She will repair old garments to extend their life span. Inspiration From ‘no one will understand what conscious fashion means’ or ‘the consumer is not aware’, the fashionpreneur noticed that many other houses are walking the same path as she. If you are shopping sustainable you’ve already lit the conscious side of your mind, is her motto. Collections Flora extravagance is evident in the dreamy hand-woven wool dress, hibiscusy off-the-shoulder Tencel tops, summer monster trousers, leafy bookmarks, daisy headbands etc. Their tribute to Covid-19 fight is a range of masks—sunflower masks, the souk mask, flower power mask and more. Coming soon are ‘Tropical Sunshine’ summer 2020 and ‘Wildflower’ winter 2020 edit. Viewpoint “We must be conscious of what we buy, right from the story it tells. It is a win not only for the buyers but for the weavers, block printers, craft makers, vendors who contribute to the cause.” Founder Kriti Tula SIGNATURE Doodles Backstory In 2014, Kriti began to collect fabric waste from factories around Delhi. Rejected for minor flaws, there were panels large enough to be stitched back together. The bootstrapped firm’s SOP is to handle one problem at a time and carefully curate their small supply chain. Process Artisans doodle on their pieces to fix a defect. The doodles are modules to start conversations and raise awareness among consumers about alternatives to fast fashion. Buyers shouldn’t have to compromise on style to consume consciously Result: short, well-finished . limited edition collections that save tonnes of fabric from landfills and down-cycling. The label makes seasonfree clothes with low-impact raw material, and provides better wages for artisans. Plus Go to the website to get recipes and formulas for zero waste winter skincare and gift ideas like reusable Japanese furoshiki fabric, upcycled masks, zip wallets, fully recycled notebooks. Collections Doodlage X Harago uses Signature Sui (needle). fashion graduate whose first job was with Dior, Wadhwa preferred to shop for high-street brands. “It was mindless consumption! My eyes opened to the mistakes I was making just to be ‘trendy’,” she confesses. She enrolled for a short course on sustainability during her post-graduation in Italy . Doodlage MyONEarth Founder Nitika Sonkhiya Signature Most products are made of bamboo, coconut shell and coir with coconut leading the passion count. Its bamboo makeup-removing wipes can be reused up to 200 times. Process Reuses coconut shells to make fashionable home décor products. It has developed a cork yoga mat that makes a great alternative to the chemical PVC mats. Conversation starters Coconut shell smoothie bowl, bamboo reusable cutlery kit, Ayurvedic pure handmade copper water bottle with honeycomb design. Bestsellers are personal care products such as organic neem wood combs, bamboo toothbrushes, cork yoga sets. Pencils and pens made of plantable seed paper. Some popular accessories are freshwater Keishi pearl earrings, recycled pearl earrings. An interesting innovation is using beeswax in the making of the brand’s Beesless food wrap. Mesh bag made with organic cotton. New collections Fashion crafts made of Kauna grass (water reed), jute and coconut shell bags. Price point: `690 to `1,990 cultural craftsmanship and ancient textile techniques such as block printing in Bagru, fine count handlooms of West Bengal, lungis and handloom denim from Tamil Nadu and heavier handwoven fabrics from Rajasthan. Read khadi bedspread shorts, ikat string pants, Jetson jumpsuit and virasat shirt with one button closure. Each piece is exclusive and made only on order. Delivery time is 10-14 days. New in are a Yui pink dress, denim member jacket, Gail pants, Nika wraps and more. Viewpoint “While it’s not easy to achieve a holistic sustainable label, we need to think about the planet and people over profits.”
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