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read Part I
Two assorted threads are converging in fashion.
Traditional aspect of textiles enriched with the creativity and modernity of
the fashion designers. Consumers today are not just consumers buying what is
manufactured or marketed. They are brand ambassadors, and co-creators of
merchandise. They are custodians of a product and also style managers. Though
customers manipulate the apparel industry, a major influence on the fashion
sector is from the designers. They create new designs, and showcase them on
ramp shows much to the awe of the general public. The impressions created by
the designers are inscribed by the customers which makes their role
indispensible in creating sustainable clothing styles.
in clothing style is not just the concern of manufacturers and customers. Renowned
designer Deepika Govind's idea on sustainable fashion gives a third dimension
to the concept. She believes, "Sustainable fashion is virtually an
offshoot of the `ethical fashion movement, where individuals in the fashion
industry take responsibility for the manner in which the garments are produced,
keeping in mind its effects on the environment and human beings. In other
words, its a socially-conscious environment-friendly fashion. "
Agnimitra Paul's statement about sustainable fashion is an expression of her
self confidence. "Sustainable fashion for me is fashion down the years,
which is evergreen, which is ecologically very sound and it is not something
only about fashion and trends, it is also about my individuality and expresses
for natural fibres:
Natural fibres have been
fundamental to our society since the dawn of civilization. Every year
approximately 35 million tones of natural fibres are harvested from plants and
animals. Over the years, with the wake of environmental safety, natural fibres
are increasingly seen in our clothing, home furnishings etc. Natural fibres
have also become a preferred choice of fashion designers; globally. Deepikas
views also reflect the same. She says, "Designers opt for natural fibres,
minimizing or shunning use of synthetics altogether. Those committed to the
cause use natural fibres grown without the use of chemicals / pesticides. For
example, choosing organic cotton over regular cotton (a crop that consumes a
high degree of pesticides). Others in the industry try to ensure fair working
conditions for skilled labor (tailors / embroiderers, etc), energy efficient processes,
minimizing consumption of precious natural resources and the use of low impact
designer mentions that she had worked on creating and developing several eco-friendly
fabrics and pure blends like khadi & modal/tencel; soya bean & knit;
eri the Peace silk stoles & sarees; and Denim Green- an organic denim line.
Water and energy consumption is also lesser for organic fabrics comparatively
over the other ones. "A pair of jeans from my organic denim line consumes,
perhaps, a 100th or evens less water than a normal pair of factory-produced
jeans, and far less electricity. The effects are achieved by hand and
chemically - free techniques, as opposed to the effects one finds on a regular
pair of jeans. "
her sustainable designing initiatives Deepika states that she had developed a
line of stoles and shawls in Eri, the Peace Silk, Eri being a completely
non-violent silk, followed by a collection of Eri sarees. Fabrics are also made
by softening the otherwise coarse Eri yarn and then imbued it with Indigo and
Agnimitra too; speaks about her contribution in enhancing the natural
fibre sector. "Textiles and fabrics like jute, khadi, etc.; if they can be
used in our designs and make it look more glamorous the mass is going to
follow. Now, when the mass follows there is the money and the weavers and the
craftsmen can survive. So this is how I feel the designers can give their bit
back to the community."
role in the process:
designers are more instrumental in bringing about a change in the society. What
is the role of a designer in stimulating the consumer's interest for a
sustainable clothing choice? Deepika quotes cheerfully, "By creating an
awareness that it is possible to find an alternative to synthetics in natural
fibresthat one can look sharp and stylish in eco-friendly clothing as well and
that it is worth investing just that little extra to achieve a healthier,
better way of life."
further observes, "As an individual, it is important to be sensitive to
the Earth that nurtures and nourishes us. And as a designer, to use the medium
of fashion to express this concern....and to actively do something about it.
states that fashion arena is controlled by designers a lot, and by Bollywood
the Indian film industry which again is controlled by the designers which
emphasizes the role of fashion designers. Sharing her experience regarding the
most recent sustainable designing collection, Agnimitra talks about the Blender's
Pride show where Khadi and Madhubani paintings were creatively blended. "Khadi
is perceived to be non-glamorous. Currently fashion is about being subtle and
understated. I used Madhubani paintings on the Khadi fabric and there were
ethnic dresses like anarkalis and sarees and at the same time there were modern
western dresses also. So it was very different since I used Madhubani paintings
on khadi and the indo-western look was appreciated by all."
Beyond the customers who
manipulate the apparel fashion industry, design is another principal protagonist,
and fashion designers are those who control the segment.
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