THAT Lakme Fashion Week is adding sustainability to its proceedings (and this would include upcycling, responsible sourcing, slow fashion and so on) is evidence that the fashion industry is moving in the right direction. March 31 has been selected as the Sustainable and Indian Textile Day at the fashion trade show, and will feature everyone from veterans like Wendell Rodricks to Gaurang Shah, Paromita Banerjee and the much talented Ujjawal Dubey. At a time when we have begun questioning, ‘who made my clothes?’, this growing tribe of designers is out to prove that sustainable fashion or getting artisans and weavers into the picture need not be a one-season phenomenon. LFW, from March 30 to April 3, has live updates on their Facebook page.
Linen blends, Antar-Agni
Ujjawal Dubey from Antar-Agni is the bearded prince of anti-fit. With his raw and striking fabrics and unusual lounge-worthy cuts, this designer from UP has been writing a whole new style code for people like him — with strong individuality and not willing to be driven around by fashion’s dictates. Showing at both Amazon Fashion Week (this weekend) and LFW, Dubey is working with red in the autumn-winter line for the former and dull or muddy green and white in the LFW resort 2016 collection. Moving away a bit from the all-black palette he is known for, the designer’s khadi, developed in Meerut, is divine. ‘‘Fabric plays the hero and at the core of the thought process is simplicity,’’ he says.
Lotus stem, Anavila
A big hit in Chennai, even if her saris can play havoc with your budget, Anavila Misra continues to work with natural and organic fabric. ‘‘This is the first time we are showcasing an Autumn Winter collection as a brand. We have experimented with woollens and silks, but will blend it well with linen,’’ she says. She will also introduce lotus stem yarn/fabric, as a sari, no less, and in its natural colour. The look is younger this season.
‘‘I keep the craftsmen away from the fashion circle and give them work all through the year instead,’’ says Aneeth Arora. She believes in helping them innovate – ikat one season, polka dots and checks the next. ‘‘The surface work and colours change, but the fabric is the same.’’ This season, look for a white chikankari update from six seasons ago.
Wendell Rodricks, a pioneer in sustainable fashion and mentor to others like Paromita Banerjee, says India has come a long way with eco fibre options, thanks to technology. ‘‘I used banana and pineapple fabrics as early as 1993,’’ he adds, sharing his plans to work with silk cotton trees next. ‘‘We have them in Goa and it will be a welcome challenge.’’
Tan story, Paromita
Part of the textile vocabulary over 11 seasons, Paromita Banerjee will continue her long-standing affair with indigo, but this time there will be a new story with tan mustard. Look forward to separates like flattering loose pyjamas (Punjabi style), besides stoles and graceful kurtas. And do hunt down her patchwork bags and kimonos fashioned from upcycled fabrics.
Jamdani weave, Gaurang Shah
With over 300 weavers, Gaurang Shah has experimented with muga tussar, organza khadi and his favourite khadi Jamdani. This season, he will be showcasing a western silhouette, a first for him. You will see models glide down the runway in 19th century-inspired dresses with 12 to 30 metre skirts and long trains, all in the finest khadi Jamdani.
Surface design, p.e.l.l.a
Priyanka Ella Lama, the edgy Bengaluru designer behind p.e.l.l.a will present a collection called Maitake this season. Influenced by the distortion of time and still memory, the line will include lightweight handwoven and surface design manipulation. Known for her zero-waste design principles, she works with pure Eri or Ahimsa silk as seen at the Green Wardrobe initiative by LFW last month.