Our oceans envelop around 71 per cent of the earth’s surface, which keeps the planet alive by providing 50 per cent of the oxygen, with the oceanic currents carrying heat throughout. Hence to conserve the sea and marine resources for sustainable development, the United Nations and international law observe June 8 as World Oceans Day. As this year’s theme is ‘The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods’, designer Shivan & Narresh swimwear range merits attention. It is vertically manufactured from fabrics 90 per cent derived from recycled ocean waste. One can’t help but ask what inspired them to come up with a sustainable line.
“Conversations of sustainability have almost been like an undercurrent in the last decade, and found true definition in the past one or two years, majorly with the onset of the pandemic. All voices and concerns from across the globe reunited to build a stronger eco-fashion future to leave behind a sustainable design legacy for upcoming generations. This got us thinking of our social responsibility as designers,” says Shivan Bhatiya, Head Designer.
When the label started introspecting on their accountability towards the kind of fashion they make, they decided to shift their entire swimwear category on a sustainable path.
“This swimwear range is now made from 90 per cent recycled ocean-waste polyester, which brings us a step closer to completing the circle on designing pieces that are not only inspired from the ocean but also created by it,” says Narresh Kukreja, Creative Director.
Another key design solution that the label has felicitated during the pandemic is the introduction of knitted looms in their factory – handmade looms that are not industrial looms, mechanised by power. “This has not only helped us support and revive the dying hand-knitting art form of India but also become a lot more sustainable in our production chain. We can now create our own product directly from the primary stage of the yarn and eliminate additional processes of first sourcing the fabric and then manufacturing the product, which leads to a lot of industrial wastage. More importantly, through this process, we are now able to balance supply versus demand and produce only on-demand clothing, avoiding excess inventory, which again is a big step towards sustainability of both business as well as the environment,” adds Narresh.
So, does the label believe in seasonal or slow fashion? “I don’t think the answer to this question lies in following any one of these particular directions. In my opinion, an appropriate sustainable model would be a hybrid model – where, as conscious brands, what you produce is produced keeping in mind sustainability at the grass-root level and where all the backend processes are intact for creating the final product,” says Narresh.
Subsequently, even the consumers end up consuming the product with a sense of consciousness towards slow fashion. They understand and are willing to invest in brands that are willfully doing what they do instead of falling prey to fast-fashion movements that rely on seasonal fads and entertainment.
Photographs: Courtesy of Shivan Bhatiya and Narresh Kukreja