Environment Day: 5 Indian brands championing sustainable fashion

These labels also focus on preserving local craftsmanship

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In recent years, the fashion industry has witnessed a significant shift towards sustainability and ethical practices. With growing concerns about the environmental impact of fast fashion and the exploitation of workers in the supply chain, consumers are now seeking out clothing brands that prioritise sustainability. These brands not only concentrate on designs but also on good working conditions and preserving local craftsmanship.

A quick look at five Indian brands promoting responsible fashion:

1. Doodlage

Doodlage is renowned for its original approach to upcycling and waste reduction. The modest supply chain has been expertly selected by Kriti Tula, a 33-year-old fashion designer. Doodlage is renowned for repurposing leftover fabric and textiles to make inventive new patterns, hence minimizing the amount of waste that would have otherwise ended up in landfills. But why the name Doodlage? A pun on the word "doodles" or the practice of doodling. Every piece created at Doodlage includes extra doodles made by the artist during the creative process to address a problem specific to their composition. The origin of the brand's name, Doodlage, and its significance demonstrate how distinctive it is.

2. Nicobar

A company that believes in culture as much as commerce and that journeys are usually as worthy as destinations. Nicobar was born when Raul Rai and Simran Lal noticed how the fast fashion pendulum was swinging and yearned for products that are designed to last, and are inspired by natural design and materials. They aim to create a line that champions easy, effortless style, clothing that can be worn for years, and homeware that is with you for life. Even with their packaging style, they show how earnest they are about the idea of sustainable fashion. They use crumbled paper and egg trays instead of air and foam pouches to package fragile items.

3. Upasana

For the past 20 years and more, Upasana has been focused on grassroot movements centered around fashion, sustainability, ecology, weavers and artisans. To Upasana, design is just creative problem solving. “I consciously do not view fashion from the prism of beauty or vanity,” says the 50-year-old founder of Upasana, Uma Prajapati. They support organic farmers and their families by enabling them to switch to organic agricultural practices. However, Upasana states that “organic in itself does not mean necessarily mean sustainable’’. Uma is now exploring using only locally-made fabric.

4. Okhai

This is one the finest sustainable fashion brands with an exclusive selection of handcrafted dresses, handcrafted kurtas, hand-embroidered sarees, and many more. Okhai’s apparel includes heritage crafts like Ikat, Jamadani, and Ajrakh. Over the years, Okhai has expanded its reach to bring more rural communities into the fold. The members of the self-help groups formed by Tata Chemicals Society for Rural Development (TCSRD) are the backbone of this handicraft project. Okhai helps in sustaining various crafts in India by partnering with different craft-based organizations and providing them with an online platform to sell their products.

5. B Label

This Mumbai-based company that showed us how it is high time we rethink our fashion choices and opt for sustainable clothing. The brand uses hemp which is better than other fabrics in many ways. It is stronger than any natural fabric and is hypoallergenic, moisture absorbent, fire retardant, and a good insulator while being one of the few fabrics that breathe. B Label is India’s first hemp-based clothing and lifestyle brand line that focuses on creating fashion and accessories “unbound by time and season”.

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