By: Himakshi Phukan
"Most of the designers are eco-friendly, even by default, through their use of upcycled materials and organic fabrics and by producing in small quantities. Ultimately, the design has to be great - no one will buy it if it looks like a hemp sack."
- Amber Valletta.
The human's dependency on nature marks the deep relationship shared between them. Nature's gifts to man are innumerable which are appreciated and preserved for their longevity. One such contribution made by nature in fulfilling human needs is natural & eco friendly fabrics. Comfortable to wear and durable in quality is what makes people crave clothes made of natural fibres. Typically artificial textiles are available in the markets at low rates that took all consumer's attention. However, the awareness of keeping themselves healthy and disease-free has got them interested in using eco-friendly products. India doesn't lag in joining hands with the Go Green campaign initiated in the year 2018. With the hope of creating a greener world, to save the world threatened by environmental hazards, using eco-friendly products through recycling & reuse of waste materials was one such step taken for a better future. India and its use of natural resources in making art and craft carry extravagance and become the source of attraction in the Indian markets. It seems like every natural element is a gift to man, whereas Indian artisans add magic to it. India, being enriched with natural resources, the traditional practices of weaving and dyeing never get extinct.
"Whoever thought that the global fashion industry and brands would use our very own indigenous natural and sustainable fabrics as a part of their stunning collection?" Have a glance at the top eco-friendly fabrics.
The Tale of Khadi
When it comes to the use of sustainable textiles, it dates back to the old history of the Khadi Movement was started by Gandhi Ji in 1918. His teachings of utilizing raw materials like cotton in making clothes brought the idea of independence among people and became the symbol of India's Freedom Struggle. The process of Khadi clothes begins from spinning cotton into yarn and converting the cotton yarn into the fabric using looms by the art of weaving. Silk and Wool are also preferably used in the present times. Khadi fabric is known for the coarseness, rugged texture, durability, and comfort it gives to people throughout the year. Khadi has paved its way to being among the top-notch fabrics used in the fashion industry today. Notable Indian Fashion Designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee's extensive use of Khadi in his every collection sets it apart. His creativity in turning a poor man's cloth into a bridal attire gives a complete royal feeling of a wedding. He won the title of Best Designer at an international fashion contest called Khadi Goes International: he got a scholarship to visit London and do an internship in the Victoria & Albert Museum. Moreover, Ritu Kumar's collection of designed apparel has Khadi as the primary fabric because of its lustrelessness and quality of absorbing colours. Earlier, Khadi didn't belong to a popular class but, its quality and style have enabled it to gain international recognition. The scorching sun of the summers won't let you overlook the clothes made of cotton. This fabric has set its high standards in the Indian market since time immemorial.
The Global Allure of Organic Cotton
Not all cotton fabrics are pure and made of natural cotton seeds as organic cotton fabric. There are varieties of cotton fabrics available in the market at affordable rates. Most of them are a mixture of natural and synthetic fibres to produce a refined form. A new variety of cotton fabric known as Organic Cotton has taken the market in contemporary times. Known for its non-allergic quality, reduce soil & water pollution, absorptive capacity, and the sense of comfort it provides is what makes this fabric stay on demand, even in countries like the US, UK, Japan, Europe, etc. As there is no adding of chemical fertilizers in producing organic cotton fabric, it doesn't have a colour palette, and it is machine washable with cold water. This sustainable fabric has marked its significance in the apparel industry of India & the world. In the year 2020, the research found that a Swedish Fashion Retail Brand produced 100% organic cotton garments, and it ranked top among the users of organic cotton in the world.
The cotton industry in the US acclaimed organic cotton as the sole protector of the community that served economically, ecologically, and socially. Traditionally obtained fibres from the stalks of the Cannabis Sativa Plant, the Hemp fabric is a thousand times more wearable than a cotton shirt. Its characteristics like durability, softness, strength, microbes resistant power, breathability, etc., have made consumers prefer hemp apparel over cotton fabric in the summers. The textile gets softer with every washing with cold water but always remains static in its quality.
Apart from garments, various products like healthy food, organic body care products, construction materials, biofuels, bioplastics, etc., are produced for commercial use. The most desirable quality of this fabric is Ultra Violet rays resistant ability, for which it is ideal for every age group and skin type. Climate change has become a serious global issue, whereas international celebrities have shown utmost concern for sustainable fabrics on the other hand. It is appealing to notice designers worldwide like Giorgio Armani, Ralph Raulen, Calvin Klein have worked on hemp clothing and made it a familiar textile in their usual collection. The global icon Emma Watson always believed in the power of ethical and sustainable fashion wear to make the world a better place to live. After presenting her innovative dress made of recycled plastic bottles and organic silk at Met Gala 2016, she, with the help of an Italian designer Alberta Ferretti created a line titled Pure Threads of organic cotton and hemp garments.
Earlier known for the production of bags and sacks, this fabric has traversed its boundaries and can leave an impact on today's fashion trends. Extracted golden fibre from the stems & ribbons of the jute plant, the Jute fabric is an eco-friendly, soft, dense, and affordable fabric with many ecological benefits. Nowadays, blending jute fibre with organic cotton produces comfortable summer wear that is highly recommendable to resist heat. It doesn't have any added chemical fertilizers for which it causes no harm to the skin. Today jute fabric has found its way to homewares and home decor items like curtains, carpets, chair coverings, rugs, mattresses, hessian cloth, tapestries, wall hangings, etc. It also has some unique properties ranging from biodegradability to recyclable fabric, for which the agricultural sector, textile industry, and other industrial sectors use jute fabric to a great extent. India is the largest producer of this versatile fibre with 75 jute mills, followed by Bangladesh. The Indian Government introduced the Jute Materials Packaging Act of 1987 and implemented all over the country that the workers in commercial sectors must pack the commodities in Jute Packaging Materials. Prabh Mohanty, an Indian fashion designer, has been using jute fabric in her collections since the 90s.
The new fashion trend to use second-hand or recycled clothes is another convenient option for eco-friendly clothing in recent times. Loaded with a large number of thrift store pages on Instagram, let everyone know about the growing severity of the deteriorating environmental condition, and promote environmental awareness to secure the life of people.
Indian environment-friendly fabrics won't let the consumers mourn over their health in the time of ecological crisis. Even it won't let you degrade your fashion sense in any way rather than it doubles up. It seems interesting how designers across countries have put immense effort into creating a new aesthetic look for these fabrics. For their noble properties, sustainable textiles can retain in the fashion industry for an indefinite time.
Use & Promote eco-friendly fabrics to get a higher reach and Save the world from
another catastrophe. Shop your Beautifully crafted natural & imperishable fabrics from Some Hands with Hearts.