At a time when ‘sustainability’ has become the buzzword, green luxury has assumed much significance. Brands are innovating ‘green fashion’ to lure in millennial consumers who yearn for “ethical produce”. Luxe designer brands like Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood, Tome, Eileen Fisher and high street labels like Zara, Mango, H&M have all launched their sustainable collections in the recent past. While a premium label like Gucci, known for its kangaroo fur footwear, has pledged to go fur-free, following the likes of Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Hugo Boss that now boast a 100% fur-free policy.
Back home, various ‘ethical’ masstige brands are lapping up millennial consumers with lifestyle and apparel products that are made from natural ingredients. Designers like Anita Dongre and Ruchika Sachdeva have introduced their sustainable labels like Grassroots and Bodice.
Experts say, consumers, especially in India, are increasingly becoming eco-conscious while making a purchase. A survey on ethical shopping by Mastercard shows that over 70% of Indian consumers give importance to ‘ethical’ and ‘sustainable’ while shopping.
Rina Singh, designer and founder of apparel brand Eka, says luxury today is not only indulgent and extravagant but is driven by trust and a shared responsibility for the environment. “Green luxury can be a game changer in the country as luxury is often first trickled down to the innovators and early adopters, which finally is emulated by the masses.”
“The millennial generation is very much concerned about natural products since they know the effectiveness of such products on their body and skin. They are smart and can gain lots of information from online sources,” says Doyoul Lee, country head for South Korean naturalism brand Innisfree India, which concocts beauty care products from natural ingredients found at Jeju Island.
Experts say sustainability is a broad term for everything from recycling, ethical fabrics, to low-waste production. The $3 trillion global fashion and apparel industry is a major contributor towards environmental pollution and carbon footprint. A single cotton T-shirt takes 1,000 litres of water.
Sounak Sen Barat, the designer at House of Three, which is into ‘smart, sustainable’ fashion, says sustainability goes by multiple definitions. “If you’re creating revenue for a weaver’s family consistently, then your work is sustainable. Being environmentally conscious is another definition of being sustainable. I think technology and tradition need to go hand-in-hand to achieve the desired results where our production practices put the least pressure on natural resources, produce the least wastes, and leave behind a minimum carbon footprint. If you are making slow fashion, producing goods that put less pressure on resources and the environment, then you are being sustainable,’’ says Sen.
Ethicus, a brand of organic cotton sarees, claims to be directly involved with farmer groups in Karnataka for growing organic cotton. Vijayalakshmi Nachiar, co-founder of Ethicus, says conventional cotton is one of the most pesticide-ridden crops in India. “We work with tribal farmers and encourage them to grow environment-friendly cotton, eliminating the use of pesticides and insecticides, and helping to reverse the damage done to the flora and fauna. We produce textiles using handloom weaving,” says Nachiar.
Eka, which designs billowy silhouettes, layered tunics and costumes, says their textiles are hand-woven and hand-crafted, with their yarns being free from heavy processing, and thus, being natural. Singh says besides these techniques, the apparel requires minimum maintenance and this, in turn, helps the environment with not much stress on the use of renewable resources. “We prophesize to buy more of coordinates and versatile pieces that are seasonless and timeless and can be mixed and matched.”
According to Sen, some of the fabrics House of Three retails are khadi muls made with handspun handwoven super-fine 150s and 200s counts by Bengal weavers. “Another is sutra handloom fabrics made by weaving handmade yarn with eco-friendly technology by Andhra Pradesh weavers.”
Various ‘ethical’ masstige brands in India are lapping up millennial consumers with lifestyle and apparel products that are made from natural ingredients
Experts say sustainability is a broad term for everything from recycling, ethical fabrics, to low-waste production
$3 trillion size of global fashion and apparel industry, which is a major contributor towards environmental pollution and carbon footprint