The greatest traits Indians have is that when a crisis hits we band together like no other. The one things that I couldn’t disagree with PM Modi on was #VocalForLocal. We truly needed a movement to support small businesses because they’ve been struggling ever since the pandemic hit. Thankfully, in this digital age, most small brands were able to capitalise on the pros of social media and use it to their benefit. Thanks to the Vocal For Local hashtag I was able to discover many sustainable brands. Brands that focus on traditional handwoven crafts, sarees made from eco-friendly fabrics or brands making clothes from waste.

It has been an illuminating process to see how diverse a country India is when it comes to creativity. While I genuinely would love to help these brands stay afloat, I’ve also been conserving my finances. Not to mention, I really want to try and live with what I have and own. Minimalism is the gateway to a sustainable life and one has to start small. Understanding sustainability can be incredibly overwhelming and the best way to deal with the anxiety is to make small goals. They may seem small but with each step, you take on a more sustainable lifestyle.

Here’s a list of 10 sustainable fashion brands to continue supporting post-pandemic:

1) Okhai

Okhai offers contemporary, handcrafted apparel and lifestyle products all created by rural artisans. Proceeds from sales go towards the welfare of the artisans themselves. Their aim is to encourage women from underprivileged backgrounds to expand their skill-set. Okhai constantly works towards translating India’s rich, cultural traditions into modern designs that will appeal to all. More than 2,300 artisans are currently benefiting from this program and are earning about Rs. 500/- to Rs. 16,000/- depending on their skill level and the hours they work. This allows women to manage their households and also work simultaneously. Let’s support sustainable fashion in full-force.

2) Ela India

Ela means leaf in Malayalam and is a Kerala based brand focusing on the use of sustainable fabrics. The brand was launched by Bindu Nair, a former journalist. The pieces are designed keeping in mind classic silhouettes with Indian motifs. The fabrics are light in weight and perfect to brave the Indian summer. Ela also retails Kerala Kasavu sarees in handloom cotton with gold and silver borders.

3) The Summer House

The Summer House’s conscious choice to question every process of production and wanted to do better. All of their fabrics are sustainable and sourced to not abuse earth’s resources and made in their very own production studio. Their teams receive the necessary training required to enhance their skills. They ensure that they are fair and responsible in their practices and physical and mental health of their team takes the highest precedence.

4) Strings Attached by Sama

5) Bodements

Bodements was born to Mumbai-based stylist Divya Saini who brings us vintage finds from the streets of Paris. The brand is committed towards slow fashion and propagates the culture of buying pre-loved garments. All the garments are handpicked by the stylist herself from around the world. What better way to foray into a sustainable lifestyle by buying and promoting pre-loved and pre-worn clothes.

6) Suta Bombay

Suta was launched by two sisters Sujata and Taniya. They started off their journey in the business of fashion after a conversation with weavers in Wes Bengal. They were taken with the way sarees were made and saw that weavers put all their skill and love into creating these beautiful pieces. Both of them quit their full-time jobs to pursue their love of sarees and sustainable fashion.

7) Doodlage

Doodlage upcycles industrial waste into wearable fashion. The fabrics are sourced in smaller pieces and then panelled together before the designs get cut. A lot of mixing-matching, patching and embroideries that go into their designs. Doodlage’s seasonless collections are what make their pieces timeless. You’ll notice that comfort is at the centre of their designs and their silhouettes would look fantastic on any body type. The best part about the brand it that they will help alter and repair your garments to extend their lifespan. The brand uses all the other waste they produce and turns them into accessories or even paper to package their products. All the pieces are sustainably and ethically produced and are plastic-free.

8) VRTT Vintage

VRTT Vintage is a joint venture by Hanna, Gabriella and Diva who are all based in Mumbai. They launched VRTT to breed a more conscious consumer. The brand brings you pre-loved, luxury goods curated by these fabulous women of course. Want that latest bag? Think again and live sustainable with a small act like purchasing new, old goods.

9) Sirohi by Skilled Samaritan

Skilled Samaritan was founded in 2012; they worked with people in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to implement solar light in these areas. During their time there, they learnt that the women were well-versed with traditional styles of weaving. Since January 2019, they’ve been creating functional and well-designed products using waste materials and natural sustainable fabrics from around the region. The aim is to provide women without a formal education with income opportunities by leveraging their skill set to make sustainable and marketable products that are made entirely from waste and salvaged materials. Their focus is to revive and re-intoduce traditional art forms from the interiors of Northern India. They provide training and workshops for these women in clean and healthy spaces.

Which sustainable brands are you most likely to support during this lockdown? Let me know in the comments below.

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