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Rina Dhaka: Fashion with a Cause
Oct '09
Popular Indian fashion designer, Rina Dhaka has partnered with 'Shop for Change Fair Trade', marking a revolution for the Indian fashion industry. Rina Dhaka introduced her debut designs made from Shop for Change certified cotton during the Wills Lifestyle Fashion Week which concluded just last week.

'Shop for Change Fair Trade', an NGO, was created to build successful international models of fair trade certification and was established by Tradecraft Exchange (UK) and International Resources for Fairer Trade (India).

Rina had designed and presented a garment using 'Shop for Change' certified cotton from Chetna Organic Agriculture Producer Company. This first step of support towards a fairer system for India's cotton farmers is of significant importance for the Indian fashion industry.

The concept of Fair Trade had struck a chord with Rina Dhaka, as her father was a traditional farmer who grew cotton and wheat. Speaking on her association with Shop for Change, Rina Dhaka said, “Growing up, I remember a lot of unhappiness among farmers who sold to middlemen and didn't get the full value of their crop that was due to them.

She added by saying, “This disillusionment drove most farmers out of business and knowing this reality, I am pleased to see something being done to address these issues and give farmers a chance to make a decent living and by supporting 'Shop for Change', I am trying to do my small bit.”

Elaborating further on the same the ace fashion designer told exclusively FashionGear that, the very idea of fair trading and sustainability has always inspired the Indian culture.

According to her the market has always been consumer driven,while Khadi was a symbol of the country in the 40's and 50's,but later the fashion industry largely moved away from its connection to Indian cotton.

Gradually, again as the industry and the consumers are becoming more aware about eco-fashion and fair trade philosophy, they are shunning chiffons which are lucrative for the designers and this, she thinks is the biggest challenge, because the organic or the eco-sustainable fabrics, despite of being highly beneficially, are hard to handle for couture and high-fashion garments.

Therefore it requires the collective efforts of the retailers, brands and the designer community in order to make this concept feasible for the mass fashion or ready to wear, she explained by saying.

When asked what she would like to convey to her fellow designers from the same fraternity, she said, “The designer community has always been sensitive enough towards the society as well as the ecology, therefore the only concern that remains, is the consistency which the community should maintain while doing their bit for the ecology and the society”.

Rina has previously won the best designer award in Miami Fashion Week 2004 and is known as a designer for 'Women who think'. Her famous clientele are the who's who like, Naomi Campbell, Martha Marzotto, Uma Thurman, Tara Palmer Tomkinson and Vittorio Radice.

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