Their amazing products have absolutely no stitching or extra fabric.
Indian fashion brands are leading the way for new and sustainable fashion which transcends beyond beauty to achieve a higher standard.
With an extensive fashion history, artisanal textiles in India boasts an unmatched craft heritage.
In fact, Indian designers have set out to bring a necessary change in the world of fashion, known as sustainable fashion.
This means putting the craftsmen, craftswomen and the planet above all else.
As fashion continues to evolve, it is imperative brands consider worker’s rights and the environmental impact of constructing their products.
Unfortunately, the textile industry is one of the most wasteful and polluting industries in the world.
According to Edge, the “fashion industry contributes 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions due to its long supply chains and energy-intensive production.”
Also, it is the world’s second-largest consumer of water supply. In fact, it is responsible for 20% of global water waste.
“People bought 60% more garments in 2014 than they did in 2000” according to World Economic Forum.
Not only that, but 85% of all textiles are thrown into landfill sites annually.
We explore ten sustainable Indian fashion brands that promote zero-waste fashion for a better future in textiles.
Located in Pondicherry, Auroville, Upasana promotes and firmly believes in zero waste and upcycling fashion.
The brand consciously creates sustainable fashion as well as designing special projects working closely with several sectors across the nation.
These include the Varanasi Weavers programme which was launched to support Varanasi’s weaving community.
Another project titled Kapas was created to help Madurai’s organic cotton farmers.
According to Upasana’s website:
“Clothing has power, the power to change lives. The lives of farmers, spinners, weavers, printers, tailors, designers and many more who have invisibly woven their souls into what we wear.
“Upasana honours them all, consciously, at every stage of crafting our products.”
“We create clothing to touch the soul instead of just the body, we believe life is interconnected. Beauty is beyond vanity.
“The process of creation is as precious to us giving you a beautiful product.
“We honour flaws in weaving as part of honouring life, streak of shade in dye as part of natural shades.
“We silently celebrate the fading of natural dyes as we gracefully watch ourselves change through time.
“We design for morality while honouring life, nature and inner growth.”
Upasana has also issued a platform known as Upasana – The Conscious Fashion Hub.
This is aimed at helping environmentalists, social workers, designers, farmers and student consider and find solutions to various social dilemmas.
This sustainable yet stylish brand also offers impeccably luxurious clothing.
This is one for the boys. Sustainable fashion which is not only vegan but also organic and fairtrade.
Founder Prateek Kayan from New York gave up his finance job and travelled back to his home town in Kolkata, India where he started his brand, Brown Boys.
Kayan was aware of the detrimental wastes of fast fashion and its impact on the environment.
To combat these hazardous practices, Kayan started his own brand to practice what he stood by – sustainable fashion.
According to Edge, cotton farming is “responsible for 24% of insecticides and 11% of pesticides.”
However, Brown Boys uses 100% fair trade certified cotton in their items of clothing ensuring fair wages for farmers.
Brown Boys features a great collection of sweatshirts, vests, shirts and much more. This brand is the epitome of organic urban street style.
According to the Brown Boy website, it states:
“Social entrepreneurship is an integral part of our founding principle.
“We are 100% fair-trade and absolutely do not indulge in sweatshops. Knowing how rooted exploitation is within the clothing industry we had to be the change we wanted to see.”
This sustainable fashion brand looks to sourcing raw materials from factory waste.
It is stated that an average person buys 60% more clothing than they did fifteen years ago. However, as time has progressed, this percentage has risen.
Unfortunately, we are buying and discarding clothes frequently and are keeping them for half as long compared to fifteen years ago.
However, Doodlage aims to fight this injustice against the enviroement. In fact, this Indian fashion brand is helping reduce the number of clothes that are thrown in landfills.
Doodlage sources discarded textiles and breathe life into these left-over fabrics.
As well as using left-over fabrics, Doodlage also selects eco-friendly materials such as corn, banana fabric and organic cotton for their designs.
Circulating in mainstream fashion, they make accessories, garments and home products.
Doodlage caters for both men and women from shirts to jumpsuits and much more.
With conscience and creativity, Doodlage has also collaborated with other organisations for various projects.
For example, the brand worked with the NGO, Goonj to create reusable sanitary napkins. These were then provided to women residing in rural areas.
House of Wandering Silk
Established in 2011, House of Wandering Silk is based in New Delhi, India.
Their handmade products are made using upcycled materials to form aesthetically appealing jewellery, shawls, wraps and clothing.
House of Wandering Silk also works with marginalised craftswomen from countries like Pakistan, Laos, Uzbekistan, Cambodia and Afghanistan.
Another great initiative taken by the brand is sourcing talented artisans from remote areas. They then design products to suit their needs.
Stepping away from the popular domain of ‘trend-based products’, House of Wandering Silks works to achieve greater value for their customers.
The brand takes inspiration from Gandhi’s popular quote:
“There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness.”
Therefore, House of Wandering Silk ensures their products promote crafts, support marginalised communities all while preserving the environment.
Speaking about their aim, House of Wandering Silk says:
“Our founding purpose was simple & singular, but powerful: to provide fairly-paid, dignified and sustainable livelihood opportunities to marginalised women, with the objective of empowering them to achieve economic independence and create better lives for themselves, their families and their communities.”
Another brand which tackles sustainability in fashion is No Nasties. In fact, it says it in the name of the brand, there are no nasty products used in their clothing.
Speaking about the brand, the website states:
“No Nasties is an organic, fair trade, vegan clothing brand based in Goa, India.
“We work with a farmers’ co-operative and a fair trade factory to make all our 100% certified organic cotton products. It’s the real deal.”
The brand aims to support farmers and the agrarian economy in India with 70% of people still relying on agriculture as their means of living.
Unfortunately, India has one of the highest rates of farmer suicides every year. This is because they suffer from acquiring a stable income.
According to the 2018 National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), there were 10.2 suicides for 100,000 Indians.
In fact, “12,000 farmers” have committed suicide in Maharashtra alone between 2015 and 2018 according to India Today.
The report continued to state that 610 farmers tragically committed suicide between January and March 2019.
These startling revelations are just a glimpse into the distressing reality faced by farmers in India.
No Nasties aims to provide farmers with stable income and community development.
The brand also steers clear of child labour and ensures synthetic pesticides and genetically modified seeds are not sued in their products.
Founded by London College of Fashion graduate and Pune-based Karishma Shahani-Khan in 2012, Ka-Sha is certainly a sustainable Indian brand worthy of mention.
What may be considered one person’s waste is considered another’s treasure. This concept proves true for Ka-Sha.
The brand utilises left-overs and scraps to create mesmerising jewellery and garments.
According to Ka-Sha’s website:
“Ka-Sha focuses on clothing as a medium for storytelling to celebrate multi-layered cultures and ever-changing social conversations.
“In the purest form, we endeavour to celebrate handcraft in all its glory, hinged on modern functionality, reaching out from India with Love.
“Conscious and aware of our effects on the fabric of life, Ka-Sha focuses on implementing fair means of trade while building on artisanal crafts through our seasonal exploration of clothing and accessories.”
Ka-Sha also works with several craftsmen across the nation to bring its consumers the finest fashion.
The brand also set up the programme, Heart to Haat to effectively deal with waste in innovative ways.
It helps to upcycle and recycle textiles to create functional products.
This brand also ensures its workers are treated fairly and help them develop and grow in society.
Spearheaded by the talent entrepreneurs Mia Morikawa and Shani Himanshu sustainable fashion is at the heart of 11.11/eleven eleven.
Mia graduated from Central Saint Martin’s University of the Arts in Graphic Design while Shani attained a Masters in Fashion Design from Domus Academy, Milan.
The brand works to ensure links between weavers, farmers, vegetable dyeing and block printing traditions.
11.11/eleven eleven laid its foundations in producing ethical products while safeguarding workers and the environment.
Interestingly, the brand uses handwoven khadi which is a natural fabric from India.
Despite many fashion brands overlooking this fabric, 11.11/eleven eleven has promoted beautiful garments using this luxurious material.
According to the brand’s website:
“All cotton fabric used by 11.11/eleven eleven are 100% khadi cotton and dyed in 100% natural dyes, Khadi Denim, Kala Cotton, 200 county Khadi Cotton, Silk and Ahimsa Silk 11.11/eleven eleven (are) signature fabrics.”
The brand has a stand-alone retail store in New Delhi as well as a concept store in Tokyo, Japan.
Additionally, 11.11/eleven eleven also provides garments to 40 multi-brand locations in Indian, Korea, Canada, the USA and Japan.
Up next, we have another terrific sustainable Indian fashion brand, MAGA.
The Noida-based fashion brand has been using innovative and creative ways to design clothing.
As absurd as it may sound, MAGA uses onion skin, processed organic dyes attained from grass, coffee and tea in their items of clothing.
Not only that, but they have sourced left-over flowers used at weddings to create dye used in their garments.
Who knew such items could be used in the manufacturing of clothing?
As well as their eco-friendly methods, MAGA aims to promote fair-trade by collaborating with village artisans.
The brand is thriving in the sustainable fashion sector which can be enjoyed by everyone as it comes with an affordable price tag.
This Mumbai-based sustainable fashion brand specialises in fashion as well as home décor.
Founded in 2014 by Preeti Verma, in a small one-bedroom apartment, Runaway Bicycle has developed into earn a name for itself in sustainable Indian fashion.
Since 2014, the brand moved into a studio from where magic is created.
Despite Preeti’s lack of knowledge in fashion and lifestyle, she was equipt with the understand and power of traditional weaving methods.
She also knew that she wanted to incorporate and prioritise comfort and beauty into everyday life with her garments.
Using organic cotton, hand-woven fabric, natural dyes, khaadi and more, Runaway Bicycle boasts simplicity in fashion.
According to the brand’s website:
“Runaway Bicycle’s work today, essentially rests in linking the kills of traditional weavers and dyers spread all across India with those of the craftsmen working out of the studio.
“The collective skills they bring is an accumulation of knowledge passed down through many generations.
“Eventually resulting in garments and pieces of home décor, that defy trends and seasons, and will be handed down to future generations.”
The brand promises minimalism, sustainability all while ensuring quality is not tempered with.
Unlike many other brands, Button Masala has a rather unique and interesting take on sustainable fashion.
Their amazing products have absolutely no stitching or extra fabric.
In fact, their items make use of fabric in exciting and versatile ways with the use of buttons and rubber bands.
This allows for zero waste while ensuring quality, satisfaction and value are maintained.
Although it is difficult to imagine garments without stitching, the brand has adapted its production to ensure machines and tools are not required.
In fact, the technique used by Button Masala is one of the fastest garment-making methods.
It also considered to be one of the cheapest and sustainable techniques.
Button Masala’s Facebook page details its technique:
“The first concept of Button Masala was based on grid system. The buttons were stitched on a fabric at a distance of two inches.
“The separate fabric straps had buttonholes at the same distance as the buttons.
“The straps were then used to drape the fabric into a garment.”
After this, the buttons are secured with rubber bands.
Another great aspect of the brand’s clothing is that the items can be restructured and resized to suit anyone.
According to a report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in 2017, if the fashion industry continues its course without change, carbon emissions could increase to 26% by 2050.
However, if more companies follow suit of these sustainable Indian fashion brands, this trajectory could be decreased.