`Fashion with compassion` finds international takers

Last Updated: Oct 27, 2010, 14:26 PM IST

New Delhi: `Going Green` has been a catchword in global fashion circles for long and Indian designers are waking up to the fact that being environment friendly can also help rake in the moolah, thanks to the lucrative international market for ethical fashions.

At the ongoing Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, designers, from veteran Wendell Rodricks to newer names like Samanth Chauhan, are using traditional weaving techniques, natural fabrics and the international buyers are impressed.

While Rodricks` collection `The Kunbi Tribe` used cotton and silk dyed with colours indigenous to the eponymous Goan community which inspired the garments, Chauhan stuck to the natural tone of the `ahimsa silk` from Hyderabad`s Kusuma Rajaiah, who is the only person in India who produces silk
without killing silkworms.

Rodricks says that ecological fashions are the future, with sustainability becoming the byword around the world for consumers and fashion houses are now looking for guilt-free pret and couture.

"It`s fashion with compassion. The production of kunbi sarees showcased in my collection are reviving a lost weaving technique and the clothes have not been made at the expense of nature. That gives it a edge because it`s a non-toxic product”.

Mariah Al Mazroor, a buyer from Kuwait says that `green` fashion is the latest trend sweeping catwalks in London and New York.

"We have big names like Stella McCartney who are pioneering non-polluting fashion and designers across the fashion capitals are doing the same. It makes sense because high end retail stores like Barneys now give preference to the
eco-friendly lines," she said.

Barneys recently commissioned sustainable lines from Phillip Lim and Stella McCartney.

Other labels like Banana Republic, Guess, and H&M have also launched green lines, making sure that they don`t lose out on the increasing demand and popularity of all things green.

But Samanth Chauhan who was earlier working with handloom silk from his native Bhagalpur in Bihar, says that the trend is still a fledgling one in India.

"Top designers are still doing leather, but I think market demands will soon change that. Buyers have reacted positively to latest collection. It has interesting designs in a new pattern and everyone is just loving it," said Chauhan.

Rodricks, who was one of the first Indian designers to begin working with organic fabrics and colours, says that the tedious process is what keeps designers away.

"Many designers are afraid that the natural dye will stink, but it is not so. Yes the process can be slightly longer, but it is fashion with a conscience," said Rodricks.

PTI