No longer restricted to conferences over steaming cups of coffee, the word sustainability is now being put into practice in fashion industry. Sustainable fashion has become the mantra of some enterprising designers who are ensuring reduction in carbon footprints while they make innovative designs, modern cuts and show imagination in their use of varied colour palette. All this entails using environment-friendly fabric, adopting ethical business practices and using indigenous embroidery and craft techniques which results in local artisans getting jobs.
One of the reasons for combining commerce and commitment is that in the global village the awareness level about ecological degradation is high. This also means using handloom in innovative ways and giving khadi a new lease of life on never before used outfits. With the new dispensation giving a boost to handloom, sustainability is the new cool word in the fashion lexicon.
For Gaurav Gupta ethical fashion is something that he has been actively involved with over the past two years. "Personally I would like ethical fashion to become the new mantra of everyone working in this field. Ecological concerns are becoming more and more necessary in today's fast changing world."
Emphasising how he puts theory into practice, Gaurav says: "My factory has ethical working condition for 200 employees. Even if inspiration is Western, we use everything local right from fabric to technique. This is in consonance with Made in India theme. Principles of waste management are followed. For example if a skirt has to be cut from a ten metre cloth then we ensure that the construction is done in such a way that 99 per cent of the material is used.0"
In couture, fabrics worth "lakhs of rupees" get wasted in fashion weeks. "It gets dumped in landfills.
This industrial wastage needs to be avoided. You would never find a part of fabric used by me in landfill. We ensure that not even a tiny bit of fabric is wasted."
No child labour policy is strictly followed by Gujarat-based designer Purvi Doshi. "No exploitation of children to get fabric is strictly adhered to. This is an important constituent of ethical fashion.
I like to describe it as pure fashion. Unfortunately child labour is rampant as can be seen from how some MNCs operating in neighbouring nations, particularly Bangladesh, contravene child labour rules for their convenience.
To ensure that no child had to sweat it out to do embroidery on my outfit I regularly go to these units, even in villages, and get work done right before my eyes."
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