Anita Dongre tells us why sustainable fashion is the need of the hour
With a desire to shine the spotlight on sustainable fashion, designer Anita Dongre curates a selection of weaves for our cover shoot—it’s a win for the environment and fashion
With a vision to showcase traditional Indian crafts in a way that makes it relevant yet luxurious and therefore, suitable for weddings, Dongre knows that it is equally important to highlight what’s involved in the laborious process. “Handpainted Pichhwai art and Benaras weaves are crafts that have been practised and perfected by skilled artisans over centuries. As designers, we have the power to bring these heritage crafts to modern brides and grooms,” she shares.
Sustainable fashion is the responsible use of resources in the creation of garments; it’s about being conscious of the environmental impact as well as ethical practices. Dongre also believes that women empowerment is a key factor in sustainable development. She says, “Educating women and providing them with skilled training is important. For fashion to thrive as an industry, the only way forward is to choose sustainability.” Moreover, the notion that sustainable fashion is a niche segment is a myth, as Dongre reveals, “With an increase in demand for transparency, fair wages and sustainable processes, eco-apparel and organic textiles have become rapidly growing markets. Therefore, choosing fabrics that can reduce carbon footprint has now become imperative. Furthermore, unlike fast fashion, sustainability encourages people to buy less so that they discard less—thereby minimising fabric wastage. Every sustainable piece is an investment towards a better, more functional wardrobe; it’s smarter and more economical to only add pieces that will increase the versatility of your closet.”
THE RIGHT CHOICE
With more people becoming conscious of their surroundings and the environment, there is a growing demand for sustainable bridal wear. When it comes to assembling an ecoconscious trousseau, there’s a lot to explore. “From breezy lehengas and naturally-dyed saris to fun separates such as cropped tops and skirts—there are myriad options to choose from. One can opt for gorgeous Benarasi saris that have been dyed and spooled by hand. For a sustainable bridal trousseau, pick handcrafted garments over fast fashion pieces. Moreover, pick garments that can be mixed and matched, and reused at various occasions. Similarly, for jewellery, buy from brands that work with local karigarsto create unique pieces, which can be paired with different outfits,” advises Dongre.
In fabrics, Dongre’s top choices are modal, handwoven silk, cotton and Benarasi weaves that look beautiful and are also lightweight and breathable. “One can experiment with engineered fabrics such as R-Elan, GreenGold and TENCEL™ Lyocell fibres that are biodegradable and compostable. Avoid synthetic fibres such as polyester, as they are damaging to both, human and environmental health,” she states.
FASHION GIVES BACK
There has been a significant change in the consumer’s approach towards handloom, eco-friendly textiles and traditional weaves, in recent years. Dongre feels, “Today, fashion is no longer limited to just trends and innovative designs; it is also a means to encourage conversations about sustainable choices. Celebrating and promoting our heritage crafts and handloom weavers can help bring employment back to the rural areas and reverse the effects of labour migration. I’m grateful to see that people are now using their wallets to demand change and to support indigenous textiles.”