What can fashion designers do to minimize the environmental impact caused by fashion? Can traditional fabric crafts be still preserved, and also hit the notes with fashion savvy consumers?


Apparel and fashion industry is often accused for causing severe environmental impact. Fashion's footprint is often caused by the vast quantity of water and energy consumed, and the waste contributed. But now there is a significant change in the same, proving how love for clothes and latest trends can make a positive difference to the planet. Clothing industry is increasingly influenced by the buzzwords; 'green fashion' 'organic' and 'sustainable'.



Designer: Gaurang Shah


Gone are those days when eco-friendly fashion was considered to be expensive and elitist. Today, sustainable fashion is omnipresent from quirky online portals to high profile malls, and high street outlets. Global trends are driven by customer's preferences towards an ethical lifestyle. A report on Ethical Consumerism by the Co-operative Bank states that sales of ethical clothing during the period 2007-2009 rose to 275 million USD, a period when recession was at its peak.

A Fashion that doesn't fade:


C:\Documents and Settings\megha\Desktop\sustainable fashion\Gaurang_3522small.jpgThe concept of sustainability is going through a miraculous transformation. Generally sustainable fabrics are more associated with coarse fabric, boring colors, and unappealing look. With the magical touch given by creative and environmentally focused fashion designers, sustainable fabrics are now taking pride by being featured in ramp walks.


Fashion designer Gaurang Shah believes that sustainable fashion is here to stay. He describes it as a "Fashion which does not fade away." This Hyderabad based designer, has recently won the best designer award for utilizing of Indian weaves and craftsmanship into his collection in the Lakme Fashion Week. He says, Fashion which can create a rage due to its technical creativity, revival of old craftsmanship etc is what is sustainable to me.


Traditional fabrics are always sustainable. They can be made more stylish by giving it a contemporary touch. In this way, the value of heritage can be preserved and at the same time, the clothes would also be in par with the modern trends. Gaurang's views also support the same. "Traditional clothes are always sustainable because it is related to the culture and tradition of a particular sect. For example kanjeevaram saree is sustainable as they are an indispensable part of a south Indian marriage so is phulkaris for Punjabi weddings. The fact remains the new flavor which we should add to these fabrics to make it a hot favorite for even the younger generation so that the rituals don't die out. "


Contribution of the fashion designers:

With all the glamour for sustainable fashion, acclaim for the exposure, and public acceptance; to a great majority goes to the fashion designers. How can designers play their role in the league of giving back to the community?


Gaurang says, "To some extent I have been successful in reviving the age old weaving and embroidery techniques and making it sustainable in the long run. For doing that I had to keep in mind a lot of things like the changing color preferences, choice of fabrics and the aesthetic appeal.

The old things only has to be offered but with a different presentation in a different platter as per changing times. People won't even realize but ultimately end up following those trends if we give a twist to it. We must always keep in mind the changing fashion trends and mould our creativity likewise to offer something new all the time in the already existing things which would never let the fashion fade away. That is a smart way of sustainability...neither we have to give up our priceless traditional methods nor our style...the mantra definitely lies in smartly gelling the two. "



Designer: Gaurang Shah


When asked about the personal philosophy that motivates a designer towards sustainable fashion designing, Gaurang eagerly shares his heart felt appreciation for Indian hand-woven fabrics. "At a time when people took to wearing only chiffons, georgettes and nets I still believed in me and my love for hand-woven. And with God's grace today I have been successful to some extent to bring them back in vogue again and creating a rage for the stylishly crafted hand-woven. "


He further shares about his sustainable designing initiatives. "As mentioned above, studying the present style trends, color preferences, use of hand-woven fabrics which are very skin friendly and durable, use of natural dyes etc, gelling creativity with textile science in order to create better fabrics technically as well as aesthetically and most importantly my passion and faith in my creativity. "


Sustainability is gaining utmost importance among designers and society as a whole. It is not just an end point, but an incessant process of learning and adaptation. Sustainable fashion designing not only changes our lifestyle, and trends, but also influences the way we think about design.