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Ethical and Sustainable Fashion Shopping can be fun and good for the soul  but it is not always straightforward and simple as it requires some research. Before we get into serious research stuff – Let us focus on you First.

What are you passionate about? The environment? Small carbon footprint? Handmade Fabrics? Fair trade? Locally sourced materials? No child or slave labour?

What you care about and what you value is different for everyone else. It is not easy to check all the boxes that make a product Ethical and Sustainable but things can become simpler if we narrow down what your priorities are  and what is available to you.

Ethically sourced Silk Top. To Shop the look Click on Image

It is important to know that the companies you are supporting and the clothes you are wearing did not harm the environment or people.

But lets not fool ourselves – the clothes themselves need to be attractive and something we want to wear. No matter how environmentally friendly they are if they don’t fit or the colour runs – we are not going to be happy with the! We need to find out –

What is most important attribute of an outfit for YOU.

These include:

  • price
  • durability
  • comfort
  • style
  • colour
  • material

Indigo dyed Fabric

Some of these may overlap. Before embarking on your shopping spree it is always a good idea to make a list of exactly what outfits you are looking for. Jeans, tops, dresses, work wear or party wear.

Online shopping can be the easiest and many brands have a transparent trail that will let you know exactly where the clothes were sourced, right from the material to the stitching. You can chose from the ones that share your values and ethics. Check out the brands mission and vision page.

In India we are specially lucky as we have an abundance of craft bazaars where we can buy handmade products directly from the producer groups.

In Delhi we have the Nature Bazaar at Andheria More and Dilli Haat at INA.  It is very cool experience talking  to the people who have made the products and are selling them right at your door step. You don’t need to travel to remote parts of the country to buy a Jamdani or a Chanderi. Often the crafts people are happy to collaborate with customers to produce one off custom made designs for a small fee. If the clothes you buy from crafts people don’t fit perfectly please get a tailor to alter it to your size. Our crafts people need us to make a living and when we buy from them we also give them valuable feedback so that they can improve their products and making them more contemporary and market friendly.

When looking for Ethical and Sustainable clothes do not be too hard on yourself remember every small step you take makes a big impact.

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Do you have a Passion for fashion?Do you care to make a positive environmental and social change? Are you looking to take the first step towards sustainable fashion?

You hold the key to doing both -Sustainability and Fashion at the same time. It is really not that hard – you are not expected to participate in a protest march or join Green peace – though, you could- if you like. It is a great way to meet new people.

Mulberry silk – Indigo.

Every journey towards the path of sustainability starts with the first step. One tree saved; one worker in healthier working conditions or fewer pollutants in the rivers.

The key to making a lasting commitment is to understand your own passion and values and then convert these into actions. Even the big names in international fashion are getting into Sustainable Fashion.

Vivienne Westwoods Sustainable collection

Buy less, choose well and make it last

This quote by Vivienne Westwood is self explanatory.

Here are some simple ways to get you started:

Sustainable clothes are well-made of a high-quality materials is more eco-friendly because they last longer and do not need to be replaced so often. I know it is hard, but resist buying things with impossibly low price tags and lose the buy-and-toss behaviour.

Cheap in fashion simply doesn’t exist. Those clothes you bought impulsively might have been cheap to you, but once you add to them their real cost someone else had to pay with their health or damage to the environment. Not so cheap anymore

Start looking at your clothes differently.

Does this piece look great on me?

Is an important question but Should not be your only question. How about asking these as well?

  • Who made these clothes?
  • What materials were used?
  • Were the materials sustainable?
  • Where did they come from?
  • Where were they made? 

Production of Mulberry silk

Being interested in the answers to these kinds of questions is the best first step towards changing the story for both the people who make our clothes and the environment.

Loom Tree is making clothes from sustainable materials, sourced from NGOs like SEWA and Sasha. We also run a community development project in Bihar and West Bengal. A mulberry plantation has been set up with a sericulture project. Hand spun mulberry yarn and handloom woven mulberry silk fabric is also being produced and will be in our stores soon.

To read about our Sericulture Project click here.

Do you like the story? please share your views in our comments section.

Natural coloured mulberry dress. Click on image to Shop the Look.

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Silk is an ingenious way to harness the wonders of nature

Why bother making your own silk? The Answer is Sustainable fashion!

Creating our own brand of Sustainable fashion and a keen desire to create products that are environmentally friendly while supporting local communities led us to the path of making our own silk. We wanted to gain a better understanding of what goes into the production of silk and how can we develop a product that truly helps people and adds value to the environment.

Sericulture a viable employment opportunity for women in Bihar

We chose to work in the state of Bihar as it not only meets all the ecological requirements needed for sericulture but also has high level of poverty and unemployment. The labour intensive nature of this project brings about a large amount of employment and up-skilling opportunities for women and men.

The process of sericulture aligns with the 3 major Millennium Development Goals set by the UN like; eradicate poverty and hunger; promote gender equality and ensure environmental sustainability.
Let’s break it down  :

Benefits:

– Generates employment throughout the year, with an estimated 11 person days’ employment for each 1 kg of raw silk production.

Employment, both on and off-farm activities

– Maintains and strengthens rural economies: more than 80% of the gross value of silk fabrics returns to the local area of production  benefiting the farmer, cocoon growers, yarn reelers  and weavers.

ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY:

– Mulberry is a perennial crop. It contributes to soil conservation and provides green cover

– Waste from silkworm rearing is recyclable for agricultural use

– Dried mulberry twigs and branches can be used as fuel

– Mulberry can be cultivated in areas of often unused land, e.g. hill slopes, watersheds.

natural mulberry

click on image to SHOP the look.
PROVIDES EMPLOYMENT FOR WEAKER SECTORS OF SOCIETY:

– 60% of those employed in sericulture are women Low InvestmentThe investment needed to start sericulture activities is low and silkworm rearing can start within 6 months of mulberry planting

– Sericulture can be practised with very small land holdings; 1 acre dedicated to sericulture can support a family of 3, without the need to hire labour.

indigo mulberry

Click on image to SHOP the look

Achievements so far:

  • Mulberry plantation on 20 of acres of arid land.
  • Established nursery with 4 Lakh saplings planted distributed to the local farmers
  • 50 local farmers trained
  • employment generated for over 100 people.
  • 1000 kg of silk yarn produced
  • Garments ready for sale

image source

 

 

 

 

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