Bombay Showcase

The many colours of green

More and more, the ethics of fashion are slowly seeping into our subconscious, thanks to designers who effortlessly marry ethics and functionality with some absolutely cracking design.  

Every day, the fast fashion juggernaut compels us to buy bigger, more, faster, cheaper without a thought for the consequences, not just on the environment, but also on the ancient, vanishing crafts and craftspeople of India. But if fashion is the problem, fashion is also the solution. One of the coolest things about the industry is that it makes an excellent forum for a society that is struggling to work its way through difficult issues. More and more, the ethics of fashion are slowly seeping into our subconscious, thanks to designers who effortlessly marry ethics and functionality with some absolutely cracking design.

While it isn’t unusual to use traditional fabric in a contemporary context, few do it as effectively as Sheena Roy, founder and creative director of Mogra. Her whimsical, bohemian clothes are not just pretty though. “I believe that clothing should be inspired by and should inspire stories — like the fact that block printing in India is over 300 years-old and some families have only ever done that through generations, how women in the north-east weave for their families just like the women in Punjab embroider beautifully significant fabrics for their daughters’ trousseau,” says Roy. Mogra utilises local textiles and collaborates with artisans who use traditional methods rather than machinery that can be harmful to the environment. Roy’s favourite (and to be honest, ours too) is her ‘Liberate the Saree’ campaign, which sources saris and transforms them into charming dresses. “We are determined to work with unconventional fabrics, right from saris and lungis to shawls and towels — we look at every traditional craft form as material and not necessarily the objective,” she states.

Look for >Mogra designs on Facebook and >

Shilpi Yadav’s Khara Kapas was officially launched in February this year and has already received overwhelming response. “It’s evident that people are now looking for eco fashion labels,” she says. Yadav works with cotton, mulmul, jute and linen to create the earthy insouciant lines of her collection. “We work very closely with local artisans and our clothes are a fine blend of their crafts and our designs. We also promote fair-trade,” she says. Our favourite items? The floaty pink and inky blue paisley maxi and the ethereal ivory and gold sharara set in delicate mul.

Available at >

Much like Khara Kapas, Pallavi Bagaria’s PAL for all moments prides itself on its use of local fabrics and artisans. “To a larger extent, the fabrics, mostly cotton and weaves, are sourced from small vendors and weavers around the country. We would ideally like to reach a stage where we only commission and support small artisan communities.” PAL also refrains from using synthetics, hazardous dye and wasteful processing. “We are resourceful in using material like our carry-bags made from fabric scrap,” says Bagaria. But PAL’s clothes don’t sacrifice aesthetics at the altar of ethics. Bagaria plays around with strong motifs and colours to create comfortable, well-cut clothes. Their most popular piece remains the shirt dress — “We are told repeatedly that it is super-comfy and flattering and most of our clients like the idea that it can be styled as western and ethnic.”

Look for >PAL-for-all-moments on Facebook.

One of the most striking labels to catch our eye, Nomad alters the breezy banjaran ghagra into somewhat sleeker gypsy skirts. Nomad’s free-size ghagras are woven from cotton or handwoven chanderi and mashru, and come drenched in vivacious colours like hot pink and royal blue. Its current collection is made from hand-woven tissue chanderi and embellished with recycled flower cuttings from the previous collection. “We hand finish the garments with zari thread and handmade buttons,” says Nomad’s Harshita Gupta.

Available at Good Earth outlets and see: >diariesofnomad on Facebook.

Artisau emphasises slow, timeless fashion that boasts of sophisticated, modern lines; most of its clothes are made of natural materials and are designed keeping longevity in mind. “Sustainability to me is investing in clothing that is natural and will last and is not essentially based on trends,” says Simran Chaudhry, founder/creator of Artisau’s airy, flowy silhouettes. “As a bonus, we are able to hand weave our fabrics, using only natural materials.”

Available at Good Earth outlets and on >

Perhaps the most compelling sartorial backstory comes from Doodlage. “The founding principle behind Doodlage is based on sustainable eco fashion,” explains Kriti Tula, one of Doodlage’s founders. “Our raw material consists of what is considered ‘industrial and post production waste’. We take this and use it to make surface textures and garments through innovative and exploratory techniques. We also try to adapt a zero waste policy during production.” The material is reconstructed by craftsmen using techniques such as hand-block printing and hand embroidery. Doodlage is not just a do-gooder; its clothes are well-crafted with playful prints. “Our up-cycled denim collection with hand embroidered slogans has been one of our popular collections. It’s quirky with a conscience,” says Tula.

Available at multi-designer boutiques like Aza (23530212 / 9867451199), Creo (23672720) and Sobo (98217 77745).

(The writer is a freelance writer and editor)

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2021 4:25:12 PM |

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