Fashion: A silver lining

Here's the brighter side to the pandemic losses the industry has faced.
Last Updated : 03 October 2020, 20:15 IST

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The pandemic might have disrupted everything the fashion world went by, but there’s a brighter side too. India’s young fashion designers are already changing gears towards sustainability and promoting homegrown clothing. (This also happens to sit nicely with the ‘vocal for local’ concept).

Mindful every step of the way: “Sustainability, for me, is creating more mindfully. Creating fewer pieces too,” begins designer Ridhi Asrani, further adding, “We make our jewellery in limited quantities to keep our footprint small. Also, fewer designs per collection keeps our design process exclusive and helps us create more mindfully and consciously. Each piece can be worn easily for years as they’re entirely handcrafted and we offer repair and re-polishing services.”

The birth of plant-based fashion: Considering how plant-based diets are having a major moment in the culinary landscape, how can plant-based fashion be far behind? “I’ve always attempted to use environmentally friendly and ecologically conscious materials in all aspects of our products’ lifecycle. In fact, we have recently launched a line of clothing fabricated from the fibres of eucalyptus, orange, aloe vera and banana plants,” avers designer Anjali Bhaskar.

Green and clean: For sustainability to take root in our sensibilities, designers must extend the concept onto not just their offerings, but processes as well. “Making our studios more energy-efficient, using packaging made with reusable or sustainable materials and taking care to ensure the post-purchase life of the products — all these matter,” says fashion designer Sayesha Sachdev.

Furthermore, designer Ridhi believes that creating an atmosphere of transparency around the design process and supply chains at all stages is empowering. “You owe the consumer an understanding of how and why we create. Crediting our artisans rightfully by way of mentioning their names on packaging labels and working towards give-back initiatives are also essential, as our designs hold no value without their impeccable work. Also, using recycled water for the production processes can easily be achieved by a lot of businesses,” she says.

A work in progress: Ecologically conscious brands may be finding takers now, more than ever before, but designer Anjali Bhaskar opines that her line has always been striving and aiming towards a sustainable future with a minimum carbon footprint.

“Every designer/individual can start with imbibing at least one aspect, whether it’s avoiding waste or upcycling or reusing and repeating their old outfits. Our craftsmen use only cruelty-free raw materials,” she says and adds that upcycling has been part of the very ethos upon which her brand was built.

Team building matters: Sustenance is a reality only if conscious efforts are made to empower people who need it the most – Indian artisans from impoverished backgrounds. “We work with a team of six artisans who are from Bikaner, Jodhpur and Alwar. This way, they get to uphold their craftsmanship as well as improve their quality of life,” reiterates Ridhi.

Thinking along similar lines, Sayesha drops three doable ways every designer can incorporate sustainability — “Use design as a functional tool to improve patterns and reduce wastage. Use natural fabrics over polyesters and synthetics. Uplift and empower; use your brand as a platform to give local craftsman and artisans a voice. Promote their work, provide them with work. They need it most to survive right now, so do what you can to revive what is local.”

Published 03 October 2020, 20:06 IST

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