There is always a new fashion trend every season. To make a style statement, we tend to over shop and do not understand the climate-related repercussions of it.
Outfits that go out of trend are eventually dumped adding to the ever-growing pile of waste. It’s only sometimes that these are donated. Nowadays, even in desi families, old clothes are rarely stored and saved for younger generations as everybody wants the latest trends. Communities are not alone in contributing to carbon emissions. Fast-fashion brands are increasingly profitable and employ exploitative business models that mass-produce clothes and keep their workers in inhumane working conditions with low wages. The lifespan of the quality of these clothes is also low, leading to many ethical consumption issues.
The influencer culture is tied to the fast fashion industry as well, as it promotes consumer demand and replication by the masses. Any influencer caught wearing the same clothes twice is labelled a boring repeater, a sin in the world of fashion.
Fashion industry is the third largest polluter in the world and generates 10% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions, releasing 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide every year, according to the United Nations Environment Programme and Ellen MacArthur Foundation. But there are some brands trying to make a difference.
There are a number of homegrown sustainable fashion brands in India who are changing the narrative. Here we have curated a list of brands, who are eco-friendly and run by women:
Founded by Leesha Agarwal, Adah is a zero-waste and ethically-conscious handloom fashion brand. The fashion house uses colourful dyes and different fabrics.
After experiencing the deteriorating effects of fast-fashion, Agarwal decided to become a changemaker. The brand sources every fabric from the handloom weavers directly, preventing any middlemen who cash in on the profits made by weavers, ensuring fair pay. Not only that, the tailors are given credit for each outfit they make, thereby promoting their work and giving them due recognition.
Moreover, any kind of fabric waste is repurposed, recycled, and upcycled into wallets, scrunchies, diaries, headbands and various other accessories. The brand takes its ideology very seriously and makes the tags using recycled tetra packs. They also do not use any plastic in their fabrics or packaging.
Based in New Delhi, this fashion brand was founded by Mahima Gujral, paving the way for ‘green’ clothing. Nowadays, more than 60% of fabric fibres are synthetic and made from fossil fuels, which makes it hard to decompose, hence Gujral’s choice of raw materials are hemp and organic cotton, which are durable, anti-bacterial, and certified with the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
Sui uses herbal dyes to colour their clothing and recycles the wastewater used in the process. The brand also makes use of leftover fabric by upcycling it and makes it a point to use recycled packaging.
Their sustainable initiative knows no bounds as they partner with the non-profit organisation—Women Weave. The women who are part of this NGO contribute to the handspun home fabrics, which requires no electricity and saves energy.
Doodlage is the brainchild of Kriti Tula, a well-known eco-fashion house set in New Delhi. The brand creates outfits and accessories by recycling and upcycling fabric trash. Tula has been recognised by Forbes India for her work towards the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Her team collects surplus of defective and stained scraps of clothes from textile manufacturers and garment factories. And from their own fabric waste they create multiple accessories like notebooks, laptop bags, and wallets. Completely ditching plastic, they also recycle the waste into paper to produce their own packaging.
Sheena Uppal is the Delhi-based founder of label Renge that translates to ‘lotus’ in Japanese. She comes from a family that has been involved in the textile industry, which makes her even more aware of the amount of wastage that happens. Getting her initial training as a designer from London College of Fashion, she started Renge with a small team that makes garments by repurposing surplus cotton and linen fabric from mills and factories.
The manufacturing happens at a solar-powered factory in Faridabad where the dyed fabrics follow standards prescribed by the International Association for Research and Testing in the Field of Textile and Leather Ecology (Oeko-Tex certified). Uppal aims to have limited collections to encourage slow fashion.
They also turn leftover fabric into bags, masks, and pouches. Renge supports sustainable development projects like the Backwater Sanctuary in Karnataka and an animal care farm-cum-shelter, Friendicoes in Delhi.
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