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It’s time for ethical fashion

Going Green’ has been a catchword in global fashion circles for long, and Indian designers are waking up to the fact that being environment-friendly can also help rake in the moolah, thanks to the lucrative international market for ethical fashions.

fashion and trends Updated: Oct 31, 2010 14:48 IST

Going Green’ has been a catchword in global fashion circles for long, and Indian designers are waking up to the fact that being environment-friendly can also help rake in the moolah, thanks to the lucrative international market for ethical fashions.

At the ongoing Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, from veteran designer like Wendell Rodericks to newer names like Samanth Chauhan, a lot of them are using traditional weaving techniques and natural fabrics, and the international buyers are impressed.

While Rodericks’ collection ‘The Kunbi Tribe’ used cotton and silk dyed with colours indigenous to the eponymous Goan community, which inspired the garments, Chauhan stuck to the natural tone of the ‘ahimsa silk’ from Hyderabad’s Kusuma Rajaiah — the only person in India who produces silk without killing silkworms.

Rodericks says that ecological fashion is the future, with sustainability becoming the buzzword around the world. Consumers and fashion houses are now looking for guilt-free pret and couture.

“It’s fashion with compassion. The production of kunbi saris showcased in my collection are reviving a lost weaving technique and the clothes have not been made at the expense of nature. That gives it an edge because it’s a non-toxic product,” Rodericks adds.

Mariah Al Mazroor, a buyer from Kuwait says that ‘green’ fashion is the latest trend sweeping catwalks in London and New York. “We have big names like Stella McCartney, who are pioneering non-polluting fashion and designers across the fashion capitals are doing the same. It makes sense because high-end retail stores like Barneys now give preference to the eco-friendly lines,” she said.

Barneys recently commissioned sustainable lines from Phillip Lim and Stella McCartney. Other labels like Banana Republic, Guess, and H&M have also launched green lines, making sure that they don’t lose out on the increasing demand and popularity of all things green.

But Samanth Chauhan, who was earlier working with handloom silk from his native Bhagalpur in Bihar, says that the trend is still a fledgling one in India. “Top designers are still doing leather, but I think market demands will soon change that. Buyers have reacted positively to the latest collection. It has interesting designs in a new pattern and everyone is just loving it,” said Chauhan.

Rodericks, who was one of the first Indian designers to begin working with organic fabrics and colours, says that the tedious process is what keeps designers away. “Many designers are afraid that the natural dye will stink, but this is not true. Yes, the process can be slightly longer, but it is fashion with a conscience,” said Rodericks.