Life & Style

Kidswear goes natural

0to5 strives to provide organic, chemical-free clothing for children

Though ‘Organic’ has been the buzzword for quite a while now, it has been dominant only in food and lifestyle segments, but of late, slowly but surely, it’s been making inroads into another important area – clothing. In Hyderabad, one brand that’s gradually making its mark in this niche area has been 0to5, which caters to children’s wear.

Started by 34-year-old Swathy Minakshi, the organic and comfortable clothes here are made from naturally grown cotton and are available for newborn babies and young kids. She reasons that the skin of children is very sensitive during the early years, making them susceptible to rashes and other health hazards when exposed to chemicals in artificial dyes or materials.

Swathy explains, “We work with khadi (hand spun and hand woven) which gives livelihoods to traditional craftsmen. We also work with natural cotton that is machine spun which enables us to get some nice prints. Irrespective of the weaving type, all our clothes are dyed only using herbal materials like karakkaya, indigo, anar, madder, annatto and onion.”

Organic baby clothing is made from chemical free natural fabrics like cotton, wool and hemp. It is devoid of chemicals either in the cultivation stage or the processing stage. Organic cotton is grown using non-GMO seeds and involves natural practices like use of animal manure based bio-fertilizers and pesticides. It also involves integrated pest management through biodiversity.

As a result the cotton is devoid of any pesticide residues.

First roots

Swathy, who does not have any prior background in design, says that the idea first came to her when she had her first child in 2014.

“Like any other parent I wanted the best for my child.” she smiles adding, “My husband, Abhinav Gangumalla, being a sustainable farmer, we could manage safe food. But when it came to clothes we had literally no local choices. So I experimented with stitching some basic cotton clothes. Our interest in safe clothing helped us explore various aspects of it, like pesticide-free cotton and chemical-free dyes. We started interacting with weavers and dyers who use natural dyes. One thing led to another and we ended up with a treasure trove of knowledge on the subject. So in 2016 we finally decided to take it to the next level by making clothes for people like us who want the best for their little ones. I trained a couple of women from the economically deprived neighbourhood near my house and thus came into existence 0to5.”

While they make both Indian and western wear for young boys and girls, their Indian wear is mostly for festive occasions.

They also make cute dungarees, skirts, shorts and frocks apart from other casual wear. The entrepreneur says that it was her personal experience in using khadi, which gave her the needed impetus to convert ideas into reality. She elaborates, “We believe that every child deserves a chemical-free childhood. During our interaction with the traditional weavers and dyers, we realized that we were blessed with sustainable practices which were not being appreciated or used enough.”

When asked about the challenges she faces at work, Swathy smiles, “It is very difficult to make people understand what is wrong with what they are wearing. On the design side, people are habituated to wearing bright colours and natural colours are very elegant, but not bright.”

The price range is an affordable ₹500 to ₹1800, and 0to5 also customizes clothes and delivers orders in about 10 days, for a little premium.

For more details, check out their website at www.0to5.in

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 4:47:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/chemical-free-clothing-0to5-swathy-minakshi/article25742505.ece

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