Sustainable fashion: The key to survival in the glitzy apparel industry

When all things look bleak, sustainable choices seems to be the only way for the fashion industry in India to stay afloat.

Showli Chakraborty | Updated on: Saturday, April 10, 2021, 09:39 AM IST


Fashion as a whole hasn’t had much of a boost in this red-lettered year when the pandemic took over everything around us. Bad as it has been for business, designers and stylists in B-Town have come up with new ways to keep their fashion game going.

Ace fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee recently announced on Instagram, “Consumption in the new world will primarily be about sustaining grassroot communities preserving legacies – cultural and ecological. Nations with an effective craft heritage will rise up to create new and meaning economies.”

In his own collections, the designer emphasises that not just traditional motifs but also heritage material should be a base for any stylist to work on. The looks he has created veer from an indigo matka saree with hand-embroidered tilla borders paired with a matching blouse with zardosi neckline detail. Or perhaps a black silk matka kurta with antique zardosi details paired with a woven khadi and zari dupatta and an embroidered miniature gilet.


He even recommends women to wear a black woven khadi and zari saree, paired with a khadi blouse and an embroidered miniature gilet. Or even an embroidered mashru kurta and gharara paired with an embroidered tulle dupatta. Or perhaps a printed organza saree with embroidered borders and a quilted silk blouse.


Right from Deepika Padukone to Anushka Sharma; Priyanka Chopra to Alia Bhatt – all Bollywood A-listers have sworn by Sabyasachi style ethics, as seen from their public appearances.

Heritage India

Heritage motifs in the fashion industry are slowly becoming more and more about evoking nostalgia in the clothes you wear. Designer Abhishek Dutta agrees, “This is the time when we don’t have many events happening. So celebrities aren’t going out much. However, shoots are happening once in a while and a lot of it is happening indoors over Zoom meetings and other online video conferencing tools as well. So, designer clothes are still in demand though people are not going out as yet. And that is exactly where sustainable fashion comes in. This is the time when people wear sustainable clothes more – things they can rework and restyle to fit every occasion.”

Designer Abhishek Dutta

Abhishek Dutta has designed for Irrfaan Khan (Qarib Qarib Singlle) and Nawazuddin Siddiqui on several occasions.

“There is a particular coat in khadi which Irrfan really liked. In fact, he wore it on several occasions and a picture of him wearing that coat also finds a place in the poster of the film. So sustainable fashion is the way forward, something that speaks volumes about your knowledge of craftsmanship,” he avers.

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For menswear this season, noted designer Tarun Tahiliani suggests long asymmetric bandhgalas with trousers, butti cotton silk printed kurtas with churidaars or perhaps a jade sherwani in raw silk fabric with zari work. For women, he has introduced anarkalis and kalidaars in tulle with resham and badla embroidery. Other heritage innovations include lace applique with resham embroidery or for a simple yet classy look, try anarkali paired with sheer silk chikankari dupatta and a churidaar.

Regional style

Fashion in India is sure to become more regional and ethnic as the target consumer group has now changed to the urban upper middle-class. Traditional Indian styles stand out in the designer collection because of the extravagant use of vintage brocades and embroideries. And designers are all for taking the best advantage of our rich textile heritage and technique, which also finds a huge customer base all across the world.

 fashionabhishek/ Instagram

Other trendy motifs are Ikat made by Ikat weavers in Odisha. Kalamkari, which is the hand-painted or block printed textile art from Andhra Pradesh, is also a scene-stealer. Also climbing the charts is the glamorous Benarasi weave from Varanasi complete with gold and silver metallic threads woven together to create exotic delicate brocades. Bishnupur silk along with khadi handloom and taant from Bengal are as popular among consumers as the tie ‘n dye or bandhani from Gujarat and Rajasthan.

“A new sense of style has suddenly emerged in the industry these days — from recreating the 1980s-90s looks to colourful and vibrant colours with asymmetrical patterns and disruptive styles. Due to Covid, variety is also seen in safety gears like bling masks and colourful gloves. Matching masks along with the outfits is the new thing. Trying classics can never go wrong and this is what Bollywood is trying these days. Printed and colourful corduroy sets for airport looks; fringes and crop tops for parties and appearances; opting for vibrant colours is the new trend these days,” says fashion influencer Jainam Vora aka Vorasahab.

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Published on: Saturday, April 10, 2021, 09:39 AM IST