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Fashion develops a conscience

fashion-and-trends Updated: Oct 05, 2009 20:13 IST
Rochelle Pinto
Rochelle Pinto
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

With animal rights group, PETA, ready to celebrate its tenth anniversary in India, ethical fashion is in for a major boost. Often misunderstood as being dowdy and unexciting, organic clothing has found a market among the eco-friendly fashion fraternity.

Ethicus, an ethical fashion label from Tamil Nadu, was launched to create a balance between impoverished farmers and the ecologically sensitive area that they were working in.

“The farmers in the area are forced to grow cotton because it’s the only crop that is not destroyed by elephants living there. We make sure that they use bio-fertilisers and pesticides so that it doesn’t destroy the fertility of the land,” says Mani Chinnaswamy , founder, Ethicus. The label also seeks to ethically raise the standard of living for these farmers by eliminating middle men. This has helped reduce the cost of the final product.

Range: Rs 5000 onwards
Availability: Soon to be launched at the Bombay store, Good Earth, Eco Corner and Kala Niketan

Raising costs
Staying true to her belief in sustainable fashion, Anita Dongre launched Grassroots, her organic clothing line. Made from organic fabrics and vegetable dyes, the collection is not too expensive and is focused on being trendy and feminine. “I always say that the clothes must attract a woman first and only then will she care about whether it’s organic.” Dongre agrees that the cost of growing cotton organically raises the final product cost by almost 30-40 per cent. “I have made the effort to use vegetable dyes for my clothes, but if demand increases, I would be forced to look at companies that make synthetic colours, but within safety regulations.”

Range: Rs 2,500 onwards
Availability: Anita Dongre, Inter-pret, juhu and Anita Dongre, Timeless, Palladium

Non-violent clothing
Bliss, the multi-designer store in Versova is run by Mallika Desai Thakker and aims to make designer clothing more efficient and eco-friendly. It plays host to Five Strands, the eco-friendly line by Dhirendra Singh which also employs ahimsa silk, a method of creating silk without killing the silkworm. “We want to promote designers who understand organic clothing,” explains Thakker.

Range: Rs 5,000 onwards.
Availability: Bliss, Versova

We care
The brand Lecoanet Hemant has launched a luxe organic clothing line, which made their runway debut at the Spring Summer 2010 Lakme Fashion Week. The lounge wear made from organic cotton and infused with ayurvedic oils is called LM Cares. The oils last for about 10 washes, though the soft fabrics last long after the essences are gone. There are lines for both men and women.
Price: on request
Availability: Muse, Kala Ghoda