Never has the fashion industry been more aware about the effect it has on the environment. The conversation around sustainability and circular design has only gotten louder over the last few years and now, we're at a point where designers and shoppers alike realise the importance of supporting eco-friendly fabrics and practices. So, we're introducing a new category at our annual R-Elan ELLE Graduates 2019 award ceremony this year, to honour sustainable labels that are both conscious and creative. Here are the nominations:
Inspired by India's vibrant and diverse craft traditions and culture, designer Pallavi Shantam founded label Buna in 2017. Buna's fabrics are hand spun and handwoven in West Bengal and block printed in Rajasthan. Its Fall/Winter 2018-19 collection also featured handwoven wool from Himachal Pradesh.
"The idea is to make universal clothing that reflects Indian heritage, using sustainable and zero-waste methods. Ancient textile practices in our country have been ecological—like khadi, which has a very low carbon footprint, and is much richer and more breathable than its machine-made counterpart," she told ELLE India.
Khyati Pande's ITR features flowing silhouettes, contrasting colours and minimal yet strong details. The label aims to promote, preserve and maximise the use of traditional handicrafts, while making sure the designs are contemporary. The collections are also hand-made.
3) Naushad Ali
The designer's eponymous label is all about minimalism and its creations are rooted in Indian traditions and crafts, while still featuring contemporary cuts. Naushad has been working with weavers across the country and developing new fabrics. The Pondicherry-based label operates on a zero-waste policy and works towards the economic sustainability of handloom weaving as well.
4) The Plavate
The label's collection has featured creations handwoven by traditional weavers (largely women artisans) from Assam, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh. It also incorporates natural dyes made from fruits and vegetables. "My mother used to make clothes for us when we were kids. It left an impression on me. And when I decided to start The Plavate, I just knew I needed to make clothes the old-fashioned way," founder Meenuk Tiwari told ELLE India.
Designer Tanushree Basu's label works with artisans across West Bengal who weave, embroider and stitch the creations by hand. Shorshe ('mustard' in Bengali) is known for using light textiles such as organic cotton, khadi, linen, muslin and jamdani, making its designs super comfortable and easy to wear.
Shreya Oza's label makes use natural dyes and natural fibers, and its collections involve a blend of organic raw materials and experiments with new techniques on the loom. Recently, Shreya even experimented with paper fabric (made from banana pulp and 100% cotton fibre).