Did you know that the fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries today and that it employs a significant number of child labourers? It is responsible for 10% of all human carbon emissions, drying out water sources, polluting water bodies, and sending large amounts of microplastics into the ocean. This is in addition to dumping over 85% of textile waste each year. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) also estimates that 17 crore children are engaged in the fashion industry to fulfil consumer demand.
While the fashion industry undoubtedly comes off as unethical and wasteful, not every brand follows this rule book. Many responsible fashion brands are not only creating amazing fashion collections, but they are also making a genuine effort to do so responsibly and sustainably. Here is a list of 7 brands that are setting an example by producing responsible, sustainable, and gorgeous fashion:
Founded by Nitin Mehrotra in 2017, Dressfolk is based in Delhi. They draw inspiration from all across India. Nitin felt the need to draw from and utilise India’s rich culture and heritage of indigenous resources and craft traditions. Dressfolk was born, driven by the simple ethos of breaking the monotonous, uninspired chain of design in fashion. They aim to convert Indian crafts into contemporary clothing for women that is not only comfortable but also in sync with current fashion trends.
Dressfolk incorporates sustainable methods in the production of their garments, only using eco-friendly materials and elements in their manufacturing process. To preserve the authenticity of a particular craft, the brand also engages with its native region in a bid to ensure that production takes place in direct consultation with experienced artisans.
In 2016, Mahima Gujral Wadhwa was shocked to learn about the extent of pollution that the fashion industry was directly responsible for. She soon turned to the practice of mindful purchasing and conscious living. During this journey, the idea of SUI took form. SUI aims to make conscious clothing a powerful and exciting choice through a brand fuelled by its green heart. For this designer label, a green heart is one that not only respects nature but also the people who painstakingly craft and design their clothing.
The fashion label SUI is based in India and Singapore. True to its name, just as the sui (needle) connects thread to a piece of fabric and transforms it into a beautiful piece of clothing, the goal of SUI is to connect the thread of nature to the fabric of fashion. This brand mostly works with hand spun and handwoven cotton, organic cotton, hemp, recycled fabric, and Tencel.
In their quest to make fashion more soulful and responsible, Soul Space has initiated a thrilling movement to transform fashion. They are driven by a goal to interweave style with sustainability by creating ethically-produced apparel, made with purely organic materials.
While Soul Space garments are stitched to perfection, the greatest attention is also paid to every detail of the finished product. From using the best quality of yarn to other raw materials to the use of manufacturing technology, everything is done thoughtfully and responsibly, carefully minimising their impact on the environment.
Oceedee is a high-quality luxury shoe brand that promises to deliver fashion without compromise. Their shoes add glamour, sensuality, and confidence to the attire of modern-day women. Their design philosophy is to keep their products minimalist, with a touch of modern aesthetic sensibility. Careful attention paid to the minutest details of their shoes adds to the sophistication of their footwear. Their capsule and seasonal collections further showcase and stand testimony to the brand’s core values of sustainability and sophistication.
Their shoes are carefully handcrafted: from sole to body, the entire shoe is cut and put together by hand to attain perfection. Each shoe is made with chrome-free and eco-friendly leather sourced from India.
Going by the name of the label, Juanita fashion must, by definition, be effortlessly elegant. Their garments are organic, handwoven, and sustainable. Juanita is committed to reducing the carbon footprint of the apparel industry by doing its part in conserving water, especially in those Indian regions that are already suffering from severe water shortages.
Juanita collaborates with weaving clusters located in Bihar for everything, from raw materials such as yarn and looms, to methods of production and styles of weaving. Each cluster produces different weaves and products, which are all beautifully showcased in the brand’s collections. Furthermore, Juanita has also collaborated with Akhand Jyoti, a non-profit organisation committed to eliminating curable blindness in low-income states in India.
Lafaani takes its name from the Urdu word for immortality, and through it, conveys its essential ethos: to produce long-lasting and durable merchandise. Through their handmade products, they also immortalise the toil and labour of the artisans involved in the production process.
The brand emphasises sustainability and incorporates the same in production, consumption, and even post-consumption processes. Their design philosophy emphasises multi-functionality, design for longevity, close connections with craft communities, and upcycling, or giving a second, renewed life to products.
Although the fashion industry is rife with practises that are difficult to reckon with, we hope you have found some inspiration from these pioneers of responsible brands who are so deeply committed to affecting sustainable change in the fashion industry. In the age of the wealth of information at our fingertips, we, as consumers, can easily become more thoughtful about the fashion we purchase. After all, in a time of such innovation, we have made great strides in ethical, sustainable, affordable, and local eco-friendly brands.