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Fashion
August 14, 2018

6 Sustainable Designers Pick Their Most Liberating Creations

Text by Sadaf Shaikh

The designers showcasing at Lakmé Fashion Week’s Sustainable Day talk to us about the relationship between clothes and freedom

Rajesh Pratap Singh

A piece of clothing that symbolises freedom for you
“The khadi-indigo handloom collection that we christened ‘Rare Pure Freedom’ would be the perfect nomination for a collection that signifies freedom to me. It had hand-stitched khadi denim jeans and other fabrics made in villages. It was basically a collection that represented the voice of the youth from every decade.”

Tell us about your sustainable collection this season…
“This season’s collection is being made in collaboration with TENCEL, a sustainable fibre made from wood pulp. The process of manufacturing is a highly controlled one with minimal wastage and is therefore extremely sustainable. Garments made from TENCEL biodegrade in six weeks when introduced to compost. As a brand, we have always believed that a timeless product is the first step to sustainability. If you can wear a style that defines a trend and survives the changing fashion seasons, you are already partaking in a process of minimising consumption.”

Rina Singh of EKA

A piece of clothing that symbolises freedom for you
“I worked on an ad-hoc creation last year which actually ended up becoming the theme of my Spring/Summer collection. Our block-printing is done in-house, and if you observe, the top layer of the fabric gets the maximum amount of colour with the palette and motifs getting subsequently diluted as you proceed underneath. We reuse fabrics and layers, and one day, I suddenly happened to realise how beautiful they are — which led me to create something spontaneously. These patterns represent a free movement of design that is unrestricted and uninhibited. It allowed me to stretch my imagination, with no particular ideology or motif in mind. This pattern of characters beautifully incorporates the spirit of EKA and the freedom of design. It made me feel content and liberated, which is what freedom essentially means to me.”

Tell us about your sustainable collection this season…
“EKA’s designs are not driven by latest fashion trends, nor do we attempt to recreate them. Our collection focuses on timeless classics, and beauty that never wears out. Our designs always have a storytelling aspect to them. This time around, we decided to weave our narrative around the women that wear EKA. We met with ten women and clicked them in their own space in order to understand how they make our designs their own. Our collection is cultureless, borderless and ageless, and everyone is free to integrate it into their lifestyle. Our audience became our brand, and this helped us reimagine the context of our clothes.

EKA’s philosophy is very clear — we work only with natural fibres, out of which 60% of the fabrics created by us are made on a handloom. I design all my textiles in-house and always reference Indian textiles in new interpretations.”

Naushad Ali

A piece of clothing that symbolises freedom for you
“According to me, Khadi is one of the most porous fabrics known to us. The effort and time invested into weaving one piece of Khadi on the handloom reflects in the finesse of the final product. It symbolises freedom and is a traditional phenomenon which binds contemporary Indians to our age-old history.

The Khadi sari was created as a part of our SS 17 collection. The woven sleeve we have attached to the unstitched sari is an unambiguous representation of the garment’s attachment to our glorious past. It is one of those aspects in the present culture which has come a long way without any alterations. A constant companion to women who have fought for equal rights much before the modern ideas of feminism came into being, the Khadi sari stands as a trophy for self-reliance. It is a classic embodiment of the versatile clothing of a contemporary, fashion-conscious woman.”

Tell us about your sustainable collection this season…
“This season’s inspiration comes from a small village named Musiri in Tamil Nadu where simplicity and modesty still bind the people. The very essence of their culture and all the little things they do to celebrate life fascinated me. Connecting these dots and twisting a few lines here and there, we will be presenting our version of Musiri at Lakmé Fashion Week.

The bucolic landscape of muddy fields and clear skies, contrasting wall colours and lush green trees have been converted into an earthy colour palette for the collection. Picking distinctive elements, we have reworked the stripes and checks on handwoven saris, making them more abstract and colour blocked. The basic cotton fabric takes up a lot more weight and is quilted in interesting forms to give it a style statement.

Sustainable fashion and craft revival are integral aspects of our design motto. With respect to the provenance of the craft, our collection reflects a seamless intersection between our passion for minimal patterns and artisanal practices. Through this collaboration, we are looking at the potential of these designs to transcend national borders. This, in turn, will give momentum to our movement of making sustainable textiles an alternative trend as opposed to fast fashion, which is something we have always imbibed in our guiding philosophy.”

Karishma Shahani of Ka-Sha

A piece of clothing that symbolises freedom for you
“For me, it has to be the sari, because of the choices it gives the wearer with regard to how it can be styled. It has stood the test of time and continues to evolve even today.”

Tell us about your sustainable collection this season
“We are working with a fabric woven by Kota women weavers in Rajasthan in association with Craftmark. The idea is to highlight this handcrafted textile and its characteristics along with promoting its modern-day use.”

Pallavi Dhyani of Three

A piece of clothing that symbolises freedom for you
“I believe that there is something infinitely liberating about a free-size garment that fits all body types. Personally, I am a huge fan of oversized pieces and this one, in particular, has a dual personality that allows the wearer to dress up or dress down with equal ease.”

Tell us about your sustainable collection this season…
“I am working with Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki cluster and its adjoining area which is home to around 50,000 weavers and 20,000 looms. The collection includes handloom fabrics from the cluster and I have tried to incorporate it in styles which are not only modern but also encourages consumers to adopt it daily-wear. The idea is to generate enough work for weavers so that the looms can continue to run all around the year. For our Lakmé Fashion Week showcase, we have worked on a line which can easily morph into staple-wear. I believe handloom can only go a long way if we make room for it in our day-to-day lives.”

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