Although sustainable fashion isn’t as mainstream as we all would want it to be, many young designers are choosing to join the slow fashion movement.
Here are young, forward-thinking Indian designers who’s work goes beyond beautiful design and highlights fair practices, social responsibility, and environmental sustainability – elements that truly set their creations apart.
Ruchika Sachdeva for Bodice
At 28, Sachdeva is the founder and creative director of Bodice, her label that takes inspiration from menswear clothing and history, and translates them into androgynous garments with quixotic elements.
Based in New Delhi, India, Bodice has pioneered a polished aesthetic that continues to play with ideas of modernity and exploration while working with indigenous materials and techniques. This formula has produced a recognisable identity, which is carefully constructed through the integration of androgyny and the reinvention of classics, with a subtle hint of irony.
Swati Argade for Bhoomki
When you make a Bhoomki purchase, you help preserve the earth and support traditional artisans around the world. You shrink your carbon footprint, you help keep poison out of our rivers, you support endangered textile traditions, and ensure that factory workers receive a fair wage and thrive in humane working conditions.
Bhoomki features brands who source organic, recycled, and/or artisan fabrics. Their in-house line is cut and sewn in child-free factories where workers receive a living wage under humane working conditions. Whenever possible, they manufacture in NYC, use low-impact dyes, and offset shipping costs with carbon credits toward renewable energy initiatives. They do all of the above without sacrificing superb craftsmanship, quality, or fit.
Inspired by Rajasthan’s rich heritage, showcasing Indian aesthetics with a modern sensibility, and offering bespoke bridal, couture, pret, menswear and handcrafted gold jadau jewellery: This is Anita Dongre – a metaphor for supreme craftsmanship.
From its artisan roots of a two man workshop, to a company of 3000 spread all over the world, Hidesign has stayed true to its strong heritage of craftsmanship and innovative design. Hidesign stands out for the sensuous naturalness of its high quality leathers and the smooth soft glow of its solid brass fittings in the leather goods it handcrafts.
Hidesign started in 1978, as a hobby by Dilip Kapur after his return to India after completing his PhD in International Affairs in the United States. The first few bags were different from anything being manufactured in Europe and America at that time. From small alternative shops in San Francisco and London, the bags moved to the first adventurous department stores s in London, California, and Australia in the early 1990. Hidesign launched its first exclusive boutique in India in 1998 and has quickly grown to 84 exclusive stores and a distribution network in 23 countries that has placed its product in over 2000 stores across the globe.
At his 2004 graduating show, a bagful of awards already in his puddle, this New Niftian always knew what he was in quest of. Thereafter, followed an unstoppable series of proud events – his first award winning show at the Singapore fashion week 05 in 2007, he reached his milestone participating in the London fashion week and in 2008, he experienced his highest point in his career presenting his SS’09 collection as a solo show at carousel Du Louvre, Paris. Passionately working for the cause of his native Bhagalpur master weavers, he received the young Entrepreneur Award by the British council in 2009. He’s been participating in Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week since 2005 and in WIFW’s SS12, he penetrated into the Indian wear market in grand way by launching his Rajputana collection.
Swati Kalsi, a textile and fashion designer, has worked with handcrafted textiles for more than a decade. Over the years, she has been noted to have brought contemporary relevance to the time honoured handcrafted textiles of artisans, thereby pushing to create a basis for their livelihoods.
She engages with artisans in interactive creative processes in order to enhance the artist in them, creating pieces of work treading on the edge of design, craft, and art. Through intriguing give-and-take and inconceivable twists and turns, emerges a unique design vocabulary that connotes timelessness, highlighting the quirks and anomalies arising out of the process of creating.
Her fashion label ‘Anupamaa‘ is synonymous with its philosophy of being wholly organic. With her vibrant prints, Dayal attempts to revive ancient hand-printing, dyeing, and needle-craft techniques. Her creations use vegetable dyes and hand carved wooden blocks prepared by master craftsmen ,and undergo natural colouring and drying processes.
Anaka Narayanan for Brass Tacks
Paromita Banerjee’s initiation into the creative arts has been inspired by her passion for photography and “just looking around.” Her label of ready-to-wear garments, “Paromita Banerjee”, is popular in and around India. It is inspired by the feel of handloom fabrics emphasizing their “hand-made” feel. Fashion to her is a way of life, a mode of story-telling, and a means of communication which breaks all barriers of creed, language, or community. She is a graduate of the prestigious design school, the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India and has been awarded a scholarship to Konstfack University of Art and Culture in Stockholm.