The trend-setters

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Here’s an introduction to some of the people in India who have made a difference in the sustainable fashion space

Fashion Curator at IMG Reliance

Gautam Vazirani, one of the leading voices in sustainable fashion in India, has been running developmental initiatives at IMG Reliance/Lakmè Fashion Week, working with diverse organisations/ stakeholders such as United Nations in India, British Council, Lenzing Austria, Ministry of Textiles (Govt. of India), Raymond and Usha International; the focus is on creating meaningful synergies between fashion, textile, artisan and creative industries for growth of sustainable livelihoods. He strongly believes in fashion that is “conscious of its impact on air, water and land and empowering people who are involved in the making of it.”

As a curator at IMG Reliance, he has been instrumental in winning the 'Best Country Award' for India at International Fashion Showcase UK during London Fashion Week in February 2017.

Gautam promotes ideas/principles of sustainability as a core business agenda for fashion industry stakeholders. He consistently strives to bridge the gap between industrial innovations, mainstream fashion, grass-root stakeholders and consumers, especially in the Indian context. “Sustainable fashion in India has the potential to create an enormous level of work opportunity for the artisans in the rural areas and preserve heritage traditions and skills,” he says. “It also offers millennial consumers fashion that not only looks good and feels good, but also does good in terms of true empowerment.”

Sustainable materials researcher, designer and founder of Jambudweep

“My practice is focused on making waste materials come to life again—the rebirth of materials that were once exiled to towering landfills or incinerators. The advent of the mining industry in the industrial era brought about an obsession with virgin materials. Industries see raw material go into powerful machines that turn them into shiny new products, turning a blind eye to the little pieces of ‘industrial scrap’ produced with each manufacturing operation. Not only is this catastrophic for the environment but large quantities of materials that require highly sophisticated processes, copious amounts of energy and resources for manufacturing in the first place, are wasted.

The Indian subcontinent has a rich tradition of recycling. This largely informal sector collects and segregates profuse amounts of industrial ‘waste’ on a daily basis. Many of the materials we regard as waste have the potential to become raw materials for new products and processes. My projects are focused on rethinking the use of industrial waste materials by combining the knowledge and skills of traditional crafts with modern materials.

In one process, the sophistication of traditional craft is capable of turning the most unrelenting of materials into fluid surfaces through complex weaves. Many similar projects can use creative processes for enabling such an organic transformation of industrial waste into usable products… From furniture to lifestyle accessories, fashionable garments to technical complex intricate surfaces, these materials will be a glimpse into a handcrafted world of industrial waste.”

Founder, No Nasties

No Nasties is said to be India's first 100% organic and fair trade clothing company. Apurva, who was shocked by farmer suicide rates in India, left his career in lasers and micro-chips in the United States to return to Mumbai and dive into the deep end with sustainable fashion. The T-shirts he produces are a result of getting back to nature on cotton farms, drinking chai with factory workers and pushing new printing technologies, Apurva and the No Nasties team are committed to growing the fair trade movement in India.

Founder, Funky Kalakar  

Funky Kalakar uses scrap tyres to make the soles of the shoes, which otherwise would have ended up in landfills and generated land / air pollution. “Further,” says Amit Jain, founder Funky Kalakar, “the fabrics used to make our shoes, including the inner linings, are 100% cotton. Funky Kalakar is also coming up with its new handbags collection which will be made completely out of recycled / recyclable fabrics. We have received ‘PETA approved Vegan’ certification as our products do not use leather or any other material made by killing animals.

Funky Kalakar is in five countries (England, Ireland, India, US and Canada) and aspire to reach to 50 countries in the next three years, according to Amit. “Our mission is to educate the customers about the hazards of fast fashion and the huge amount of wastage these generate along with labour exploitation and various kinds of pollution. Our desire is to see more people buy into the need for sustainable fashion as a lifestyle and reduce the wastage and pollution our world is assaulted by daily,” he says.

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