IMPRESSIONS from a Cross-section

Sonia Agarwal
Sonia Agarwal
CEO & Founder

‘The terms eco-friendly and organic are common but everyone perceives them differently.’

Company Details

Business Area:
Online marketplace for ethical and sustainable fashion products


What is the size of the market for sustainable fashion in India and abroad? What is the concentration of Indian sustainable brands on your site? How do you ensure products you source are sustainable?

There is growing awareness about ethical fashion in the United Kingdom and in the United States of America. The same cannot be said about India. According to our database, ethical fashion designers are a ballpark figure of 2,500 from around the world. Of them, 400 are from India. India is growing in ethical fashion. Even upcoming student designers are curious to explore this field.

Demand for ethical fashion is heterogeneous with many more options today than ever before. The Whitenife portal has 90 per cent women-centric products and 10 per cent for men of which accessories and women’s garments are the highest contributors to sales.

Whitenife began showcasing international luxury brands and designers. Gradually, India is becoming more conscious about the need for better ways to manufacture things with less dependence on natural resources. Textiles are one of the largest contributors towards our economy, so this awareness directly influenced the textile and fashion market. Now, there are 45 international brands under our umbrella of which 15 new brands are from India. In future, the ratio of international and home brands will be equal.

Asia is a rapidly growing market and is becoming one of the new fashion hubs for global customers. Revenue from Asian countries is increasing. Designers from Asia are fewer compared to the West but a great sales generating company for Whitenife is the brand MC2. They have fabulous products of licensed images from NASA, which they print on silk scarves. They donate 5 per cent from those sales to space scholarships. Companies like Earthier recycle car tyres to make laptop cases and other accessories.

The terms eco-friendly and organic are common but everyone perceives them differently. There is a technique called Green Washing which is a major step in creating an ethical product. We look further during two rounds of audit with the brand. The first round comprises details like supporting causes. Whitenife is supporting 11 causes like women’s empowerment and animal conservation. We ensure that the brands take up at least one of them. During production, each brand has its unique way of doing its bit for the environment. Some conserve water. Others start at the design stage, consolidating the new concept of slow fashion which negates fast fashion with designers guarding the fabric or the threads to increase lifespan of the garment and its utility.

Published on: 07/06/2016

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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