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Sustainable fashion: Veteran designer Madhu Jain innovates with bamboo-silk ikat

The designer, who has actively worked towards conserving India’s textile and crafts, is launching bamboo-silk ikat that adds to Indian fashion’s sustainable future.

fashion and trends Updated: Aug 16, 2017 15:43 IST
Snigdha Ahuja
Snigdha Ahuja
Hindustan Times
Madhu Jain,Designer,Fashion
Aashali Shukla in Madhu Jain’s creation.(Rohit Chawla)

Her name is synonymous with ikat — textile processed with resist dyeing — and now, Delhi-based design veteran and textile conservationist, Madhu Jain is doing her bit for the growing need for sustainability in fashion. Jain, who has been in the fashion industry for three decades, has come up with bamboo-silk ikat — an innovating weaving of bamboo with yarns of khadi, cotton, chanderi and wool — which will be launched in Delhi later this week, after 15 years in the making. “This new textile does not eat into the earth’s meagre resources. With bamboo being plentiful in India, it will provide livelihood options for bamboo growers. Also, it’s biodegradable; so the fabric will leave negligible ecological footprint. It’s a fabric of the future,” she says.

Aashali Shukla in Madhu Jain’s creation. ( Rohit Chawla )

Though Jain has always been eco-positive, it is only now that the concept of environment-friendly fashion has become a hot topic. And what does she think about the future of sustainable fashion in India? “My response would be a resounding yes! It would be irresponsible for people not to take human and environmental impact into consideration in any production process, including the world of textiles and fashion. We need to bring down the carbon footprint. Thankfully, the concept of eco-fashion is catching on and I increasingly find more and more designers following the trend that I started 30 years ago,” she says.

Designer Madhu Jain has been in the industry for three decades. ( Avantika Meattle )

The aim is not only to bring in innovation, but also to revive India’s crafts. “In the mid-1990s, when I collaborated with BRAC Bangladesh—one of the largest NGOs in the world—I had an epiphany. Working with rural artisans and weavers across Bangladesh, I worked to revive Nakshi Kantha embroidery and Dhaka muslin, both of which had almost vanished from the textiles map. That experience cemented my resolve to devote my work to ensuring artisanal livelihoods,” she says.


Picture: Rohit Chawla

Makeup and hair: Ashima Kapoor

Creative styling: Angnarboo Sherpa

Jewellery: Amrapali

Location: The Roseate

Model: Aashali Shukla

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First Published: Aug 16, 2017 15:43 IST