Did you know that the fashion industry accounts for about 10% of the world’s carbon emissions? Did you know that it takes 700 gallons of water to produce one cotton T-shirt? Did you also know that your favorite fashion brands like Forever 21 and Fashion Nova score less than 10% on the Fashion Transparency Index? Now, these are all just a few horrifying facts about the fashion industry. There is, indeed, a lot more!
In this new era of social media and Y2K fashion, it is extremely easy to get influenced by celebrities, models, influencers, and in fact, your peers. This has given rise to new fashion trends and clothing which has in turn given rise to the term we now often hear, which is “Fast Fashion”. Fast fashion was one of the huge and growing trends in the past few years. People were, and are still obsessed with fast fashion brands like Shein, Zara, and Fashion Nova. These fast fashion brands copy designs from budding designers and try to reproduce these items as cheaply and quickly as possible. They are also known to have significant issues regarding the fabrics used in the production, working conditions, wage rates, child labor and so much more.
However, with sustainability and eco-friendly practices becoming the core focus, especially during the pandemic, fashion designers and the fashion industry have paved new ways in adopting sustainable practices. In this blog, we are going to look into 7 Indian fashion designers and their brands which uses novel fabrics and sustainable practices in their collection.
Spearheaded by Akshat Bansal, the winner of the Emerging Talent award at the joint fashion week, which was organized by the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), attracted a lot of eyes this season. This was because of his eco-friendly collection which harmoniously blended technology with art on textile from marine plastic waste. Bansal believes his approach is to “create something relevant to the world”, by which he means, giving people a choice without restricting clothes to any gender, caste, or country. Bansal has a keen interest in making clothes that are tech-centric, sustainable, and climate-friendly. Tie and dye clothing was one of the most prominent and heavily featured works in Bloni’s collection. Initially, he experimented with different fabrics like chanderis and crepes, then to make it more sustainable he tried different dyeing techniques on marine plastic waste and recycled textiles. He firmly believes in sustainability and puts great effort into making his brand sustainable with novel fabrics and techniques.
11:11/ eleven eleven
Pioneered by the entrepreneurs Shani Himanshu and Mia Morikawa, 11:11/ eleven eleven, focuses on highlighting sustainability in their production process. Renowned for its usage of indigenous cotton and 100% natural dye, the brand also uses native techniques such as hand painting, hand spinning, quilting, miniature tie-dyeing and so much more. The label is making conscious efforts at promoting Khadi and they are also specialised in making products that are 100% handmade which are dyed naturally using colours extracted from leaves, petals, and barks. The designers of the brand also have a clear vision and purpose on what their brand is and they produce slow-made clothing by collaborating with a group of artisans located all across India.
Insom is a homegrown label, which provides organic and upcycled clothing using 100% zero-waste techniques. Sajal Jain, who was very much interested to learn about the intricacies of how one can be fashionably sustainable,Sajal took up the sustainable and ethical fashion course as her major in college. According to Sajal, vegan fashion means “making clothes and accessories in harmony with nature and without harming animals''. Insom uses scraps and leftover fabrics to create clothing that is an ensemble of both comfort and style. Sajal believes that creating clothing this way, redirects the unused fabrics from going into landfills - meeting sustainability and eco-friendly practices!
Avnish Pandya who is the co-founder and director of B label, a clothing line under the Bombay Hemp Company, is an Agro-based enterprise. This brand takes the route to sustainability. All the garments in B label are made with Hemp, one of the strongest natural fibres on the planet. Garments made from this fibre are biodegradable, carbon negative, organically grown, saves water, proven to last for years and is also UV resistant and Anti Microbial.
Source: B label
Upasana is a conscious clothing circle which is located in Auroville, Tamil Nadu. It was founded in 1997, by Uma Prajapati, where people with passion joined forces for a newer future of fashion. The people at the campus believe that “life is interconnected and that beauty is beyond body and thus, the process of creation is as precious to us as giving you a beautiful product”. They aim to create sustainable fashion that takes care of environmental costs.
This is a completely organic fashion label which was founded by Apurva Kothari. It is located in Goa. The brand offers a plethora of clothing which is made from 100% organic cotton, fair trade and vegan materials. They have also introduced planet positive clothing and they strongly assure their customers that every product purchased from them will have a positive impact on their planet. All of their cotton is organic and sourced from small-scale farmers in India. Their garments are made by Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills in India and their working conditions are extremely ethical- no child labour, no worker exploitation, no unsafe factories, no toxic pesticides and no farmer suicides.
Source: no nasties
This brand is a home-grown fashion brand which was founded by Prateek Kayan. Brown Boy that specialises in Men’s apparel. All the garments are made using 100% organic cotton, are hand-printed and PETA approved. Since this brand also wants to fight the injustice in relation to human resource exploitation, it uses only 100% fair-trade certified cotton for its products.
Source: Brown boy
Three principles that this brand swears by are – recycle, upcycle, and zero-waste. To explain this further, designers at Doodlage, upcycle the factory waste, recycle post-consumer waste and convert their own waste into paper and accessories. They share the excess waste from their collections with NGOs which then create reusable sanitary napkins for women in rural areas. The founder and creative director, Kriti Tula, also mentions that all these are done by their team of artisans who work in ethical production units around the country. Kriti mentions that “recycling or upcycling allows us to use what already exists instead of using more natural resources to create fresh materials”. She also believes that working locally “reduces the amount of carbon footprint of each product that travels back and forth”. The motto behind doodlage is “Buy less. Choose well. Make it last”, which is indeed a motto that we all should also swear by!
These are all just a few Indian brands and designers who work on bringing fashion and sustainability together. There are numerous brands who put in their blood,sweat, and tears to make the fashion industry a safe place for everyone. Clothes should not just make a person look better but also make them feel better. So let us follow the path to sustainable fashion and encourage small businesses which are ethical and sustainable and stop encouraging brands which are the opposite!