These six brands are moving against the tide of fast fashion by ensuring ethical production and environmental responsibility.
THE SUMMER HOUSE
The Summer House was founded by Shivangini Padhiyar and Rekha Datla who made a choice to say no to the easy way of sourcing materials. Since its inception in 2015, the label has set a strong tone for the changing the Indian fashion scene with their commitment to their workers and to the environment. The organic cotton they use is sourced from GOTS -certified units, and they leave their fabrics undyed as far as possible, using only azo-free and natural dyes whenever required. They also promote ancient weaving practices and ensure fair wages.
Shop at: Thesummerhouse.in
These jeans focus on environment and sustainability while also giving you a custom fit. Founded by ex-Levi Strauss and Company professional Shyam Sukhramani, Korra chooses natural or recycled raw materials with an emphasis on sourcing each element locally. They source only raw selvedge denim that is made from either organic cotton, or at the minimum, from 25% Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) content. Since they are raw, the jeans consume no water in the making process.
Metal accessories like buttons, rivets and zipper tabs are made entirely of brass and assembled by hand. Even zipper tapes are made of recycled polyester yarn. Unlike mass manufactured garments, each pair of Korra jeans is made from the start to finish by a single tailor to increase traceability and a sense of integrity in the process.
Shop at: Korra.in
Though Avani follows traditional production techniques, their products are designed to compete and scale on international platforms. So you will find stoles made of luxurious silk and wool blend, and all-natural water colours made from a blend of natural dyes and essential oils that are completely safe to use.
An NGO based in the Kumaon hills of Uttarakhand, Avani seeks ways of livelihood generation for local communities while encouraging sustainable production. Using only natural dyes and materials, they make textiles, toys and art supplies following environmental best practices and sensitivity to the cultural context of the villages where they work.
Co-founder Rashmi Bharti has been working in the field of rural development for over two decades. Seeking to tap the entrepreneurial and creative abilities of the villagers in the hills, she came up with an artisans’ collective to produce naturally dyed silk and wool textiles. Today, a majority of the artisans the organisation employs from the local communities are women, and they have touched the lives of thousands of people so far, spread across more than a hundred villages.
Shop at: Avani-earthcraft.com
Launched by Sahar Mansoor, a University of Cambridge alumna, environmentalist and zero-waste lifestyle practitioner from Bengaluru, Bare Necessities champions waste-free living. All ingredients are organic, local and fair trade. Their products are non-toxic, non-GMO, and cruelty-free – even the packaging is 100% recyclable and eco-friendly. We love their luxurious Busy Bee lip balm (Rs 235).
Shop at: Barenecessities.in
These delicate pieces of jewellery have a solid root in sustainability and social empowerment. ‘Mool’ means root or the essence from which all life stems and flourishes. This Delhi-based fashion label reuses discarded material and applies traditional crafts to make fashion accessories and designer objects.
Each piece you buy also ends up supporting women artisans from slums of Delhi and Pune, and provides them with a regular livelihood.
Founded almost a decade ago by Paramjeet Bernad, who has a background in theatre and social work, along with Kshitij Amodekar, an architect who also works for the environment, the model for the organization is to make it a self-sustaining, growing entity and focus on reuse and recycling to recreate fresh, innovative designer products. Underprivileged women or those with a history of violence and abuse are engaged and their financial security and independence is a top priority for the founders.
The artisans meticulously collect waste cloths (katrans), colour-sort them and turn them into an eclectic range of jewellery, which is soft on the skin and goes well with contemporary clothing.
Shop at: Jaypore.com, Avishya.com, Emalhar.com, Worldartcommunity.com
For those looking for an environmentally friendly, good karma product that is also high on active ingredients and really delivers results, here’s Kronokare. These products are free of invasive chemicals, sulphates, silicones and parabens. Instead, they contain essential oils, botanical extracts and precious seed oils, and are not tested on animals. Try their aromatherapy range for the body, which includes body lotions, shower gels, hair products and soap. Their ‘Let’s Face It’ range includes an excellent City Detox Face Wash (Rs 495) and Flower Power Face Toner (Rs 245).
Shop at: Kronokare.com