The Weekend Leader - “Organic cottons and sustainably-sourced materials can be beautifully styled for the festive season” | Culture | Mumbai

“Organic cottons and sustainably-sourced materials can be beautifully styled for the festive season”

Surekha Kadapa-Bose   |   Mumbai


Vol 6 | Issue 45

This festive season, fashion has gone green with a vengeance. A trend, which started with Stella McCartney’s sustainable clothing line that wowed style pundits and won her Britain’s Designer of the Year award has spread across the world, including India, where individual designers as well as corporate fashion houses have created green lines made from sustainably-sourced fabrics.

Designers like Anuradha Ramam, Anita Dongre, Kiran Uttam Ghosh, Paresh Lamba and others have combined organic, hand-woven cotton, silks and khadi with traditional embellishments, especially exquisite thread and mirror work, and natural dyes and prints to fashion the perfect festive attire that is high on style and totally eco-friendly.

Eco-friendly fabrics are the flavour of this festive season (Courtesy: Biba)

Glam green clothing first grabbed eyeballs on international runway with McCartney’s designs. In fact, this has only inspired global brands such as Zara, H&M, Victoria’s Secret, Eileen Fisher, Ethica, Diesel and others to bring in their very own green lines.

Our desi couturiers, too, have been experimenting with homegrown handlooms ever since the Ministry of Textile has decided to specifically focus on reviving ancient weaves. 

Top designers like Ritu Kumar, Ritu Beri, Tarun Tahiliani, Sabyasachi Mukerjee, Anita Dongre, Aneeth Arora, Purbi Doshi, Vaishali Shahdungale, Deepika Govind, Anuradha Ramam, Paresh Lamba and others have made it their mission to promote eco-friendly fabrics and are creating beautiful collections to that effect.

Kolkata-based designer Kiran Uttam Ghosh, well-known for her eclectic silhouettes and textures, is convinced that outfits fashioned from eco-friendly fabrics are a great look for the festive season.

She says, “A glamorous outfit is not just about the fabric used but the silhouette, how it works with your body type, the colour, the entire look plus the accessories that enhance it. I myself have worn an organic cotton short white halter-neck dress with bold embroidery just at the neck.

“The length of the dress, the hint of collar bones peeping through and the purity and drama of the colour white worked up the glamour quotient.” Ghosh, whose label has a presence in eight countries, designs both prêt and couture, which embody a classic appeal.

Bengaluru designer Paresh Lamba, who specialises in men’s wear, emphasises, “Organic cottons and sustainably-sourced materials can be beautifully styled for the festive season. These materials cause minimum harm to the environment and can help to provide a future for the natural world.

“Synthetic materials often require the use of many chemicals and pesticides in production, which damages the local environment. Organic cotton is a 100 per cent biodegradable fabric that can easily be styled into elegant garments. It is important that eco-fashion pieces are both functional as well as aesthetically pleasing.”

Anuradha Ramam, a self-taught fashion designer, who seamlessly merges the traditional with the contemporary and is passionate about keeping the old textile crafts of India alive, too, recommends going green all the way.

“If you want to opt for Indian wear this Diwali, pick up some green clothes that are not only great to wear but also have an inherent feel-good factor about them. Even juxtaposing khadi kurta with a silk churidar and Bandhani silk duppatta or going in for a Chanderi lehenga with a khadi blouse will give your attire the oomph factor.

“Alternately, wearing a monochrome silk or mulmul sari along with a jacket blouse in khadi silk and some chunky silver or bead jewellery will definitely ensure that you have everyone’s undivided attention at an evening puja or party,” advises Ramam, who has been supporting over 350 weavers and artisans of Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal through her work.

The Delhi-based designer has put together a line that presents an interesting interplay of colours fused with timeless silhouettes. Hand-woven textiles and rich silks form the base for intricate embellishments, embroideries and subtle dye effects.

Like Ramam, fashion diva Anita Dongre is known for working with grassroots weavers and crafts people, particularly from Gujarat and Rajasthan. She has come out with festive and prêt wear in her signature Benarasi hand-woven silks among other indigenous fabrics.

Her ‘Grassroot’ organic label that follows a “Revive Sustain Empower” philosophy showcases ‘ahir’ embroidery from Kutch, ‘ikat’ from Karnataka and Hyderabad, ‘gotta patti’ from Rajasthan, weaves of Banaras, Warli and hand block prints.

As such, green clothes don’t necessarily mean only ethnic wear. There’s a wide array of western and fusion stuff to choose from. Fab India, the largest private platform for products made from traditional techniques, skills and hand-based processes, has been one of the forerunners of sustainable fashion.

Over the last couple of years, it has been introducing various collections of western wear made from hand-woven materials. Young women can go for skirts - long and short - crop tops, dresses, kaftans, kurtis and palazzos, while men have several options including expertly-cut jackets, ‘bandhgalas’, ‘kurtas’, shirts and narrow bottom trousers.

The mix-n-match magic works well for Ghosh. “In my collection, there is an organic cotton jacket coloured with eco-friendly indigo dyes, which has been a super seller for the season. While the jacket has a slouchy cocoon cut, I have combined it with a skinny indigo dyed slip dress to enhance its appeal. The two go well together and I call it the slouchy chic look,” she elaborates.

Of course, the ideal festive wear has to be about comfort as well as lots of colour. Rangriti from Biba, a popular brand for women’s ethnic wear, has come out with 15 collections called ‘My Colour, My Expression’. The range has a wide palette, from bright pinks and oranges to more subtle, earthy shades of brown. Cheerful floral prints are playfully arranged with neat patterns of “Dabu” prints to give a different touch.

Rajesh Jain, Business Head and Spokesperson for Rangriti, suggests, “Colours like deep maroon, mustard, brown, white, off white, dark blue are pleasing and give a nice look during the festival season. Ultimately, though your colour choice should depend on your skin tone. What suits you might not look good on another. So choose the silhouettes wisely, mix and match the colours, style and fabric to look dressed for the occasion.”

Truly, green guarantees glamour, good looks and, certainly, some great karma! - Women's Feature Service 

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