We created our brand with a deep concern for ecology and for the health of each person working with us. We set out to use our garments to increase the awareness and understanding of the natural world and how each of our actions has an impact on the planet. We have tried to minimize the use of tree-based packaging, for example. This is why we only use naturally dyed fabrics. They do not pollute waters and protect the health of the makers and the women wearing them.
We use fabrics that are natural and compostable for our collections. We use both handwoven and machine woven fabrics. We source our fabrics locally from NGOs that employ local people, local fabric stores, textile mills and indigenous craft clusters who develop special fabrics for us.
Organic cotton is grown from non-genetically modified seeds and the plants are not treated with any pesticides. It benefits each person in its life cycle - soil, farmer, producer and the wearer. We treat all our fabrics only through the natural dyeing process, making them completely biodegradable. Using organic cotton improves skin conditions in people who have skin problems, enhances soil health, reduces exposure to harmful chemicals and ensures a safe and healthy environment.
Khadi Cotton and Silk
Khadi refers to a traditional Indian fabric that is handspun and handwoven. It uses no electricity in the production of the fabric thereby employing a larger number of people. SK specifically uses khadi cotton and khadi silk. The fabric, which goes at least as far back as 2800 B.C., has a unique property: it is known to keep people warm in winter and cool in the summer. It absorbs moisture and easily soaks sweat and keeps the wearer cool and dry. On washing, its look is enhanced. Khadi fabrics are 3.24 times more energy efficient than mill fabrics along with minimum waste and carbon footprint. Khadi under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi was established as a symbol of self-reliance, which we want for our makers as well as our customers.
Our Linen yarn is sourced from Belgium and France and woven in India. It is one of the most biodegradable, strongest fabrics and naturally moth resistant. It’s made from the fibers of the flax plant. Our linen garments are completely biodegradable as the dyes we use are plant based. Linen can withstand high temperatures and it absorbs moisture without holding bacteria. In fact, it becomes softer and more pliable the more it is washed. Linen is one of the most sustainable options on the market.
Although at first touch it might feel fragile, it is one of the strongest fabrics there is. It is a lightweight and breathable fabric. It is flexible. Silk is good at maintaining the body’s temperature. It’s thin but offers perfect insulation - cool when it’s hot, warm when it’s cool. Our khadi silk is even more so. Silk clothes are good at keeping their shape because of their elasticity. However, as silk has a relatively high emissions intensity, particularly in the yarn and fabric production stages, we are actively looking at alternatives.
Cupro is a ‘regenerated cellulose’ fabric made from cotton waste. It is made using the teeny tiny silky cotton fibers, known as linter, that stick out of the cottonseed and are too small to spin. Much like Tencel and Modal, cupro is a plant-based material that is chemically processed to produce the resulting fabric. Cupro is said to have all the positive qualities of silk: it’s silky-smooth and drapes just like the luxurious material. Cupro is technically a recycled and cruelty-free alternative to silk, but it’s not exactly ethical and sustainable. We are looking at other vegan silk alternatives worth looking into.
Our fabrics are naturally hand-dyed by a small-scale women-owned artisanal studio, Adiv Pure Nature, in Mumbai, and a non-profit organization Aranya Naturals, in Kerala. Part of the flowers used for dyeing are recycled from great ancient local temples. Other natural dyeing materials are sourced locally. Using these natural resources eliminates water pollution and chemical hazards to the dyers. Each garment varies from the other, it’s the characteristic of natural dyeing. The conditions the plants grow in affects their color, which makes each garment one of a kind. Natural dyeing is a little like home cooking versus industrial food. The process requires careful placement of every flower by human hands, every step of the process has the care and attention of a woman or a man. They’re contributing to helping us have better lives while being good for the ecology as well as our minds.
Our aim is to promote the use of non-toxic, natural dyes on textiles to create responsible, ethical and environmentally friendly garments. Each garment is special and one of a kind along with being theraputic. The details are in the following section.
HEALING PROPERTIES OF NATURAL DYEING MATERIAL
Marigold flower and Fern Marigold
It supports skin healing and contains natural antiseptic properties. It also fights off common fungal infections, reduces inflammation, sensitivity, dryness & swelling. It is used to treat burns, wounds, rashes and damage caused by UVB radiation. It also provides anti-aging effects to the skin.
The powerful antioxidants in the pomegranate peel keep skin hydrated and protect against pollutants, environmental toxins and act as a blocking agent from UVA and UVB rays. They also act as an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and help restore the pH level of the skin and fight acne, pimples and rash.
This herb has been used to treat various skin allergies and improve wound healing. It’s known for soothing dry skin and reducing allergies.
Indigo has antifungal and antibacterial effects and is used as antiseptic wash for skin wounds. Fun fact: In Japan, samouraï warriors wore an undershirt dyed with indigo under their armor. It helped the combat wounds heal faster.
It is used to hasten the wound healing process, treat sunburns and rashes. It helps remove scars and acne marks.
The flower has multiple properties. It is good for red, irritated, acne-prone or dry skin and improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also makes the skin glow and balances natural oil. It is particularly beneficial for dry skin or acne. Finally, hibiscus supports the skin’s natural defenses. It helps protect against environmental stressors, improves the look and feel of mature, dry and sensitive skin. Text for these benefits have been taken from the Ayurvedic text book Dravyaguna Vijñāna by Dr, J.L.N. Sastry & Dr. Tanuja M. Nesari.
This fruit helps treat wounds and improve healing. It has strong anti-bacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. It has an abundance of powerful antioxidants and nutrients like vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, iron and copper. It makes harda a key player in treating various skin issues like acne, rashes, etc.
THE NGOS WE ARE WORKING WITH:
ADIV PURE NATURE
The majority of our dyeing is done at this women-owned artisanal manufacturer of naturally hand-dyed textiles, in Mumbai, India. The flowers used for dyeing are recycled from ancient local mosques and temples – roses from Haji Ali and marigold flowers from Siddhi Vinayak, one of the richest temples of India. Adiv only works with natural textiles, including organic and/or handwoven fabrics woven by artisans in India.
Aranya is a charitable foundation dedicated to the rehabilitation and generation of sustainable livelihoods for the differently abled children and young adults in Kerala, South India. Artisans create handmade products while adopting sustainable production techniques and methods by up-cycling, recycling and using natural materials. These artisans have been trained by the world renowned Shibori Scholar, Curator & Artist - Yoshiko Wada in the resist-dye technique of Shibori.
Nestled in the Kumaon region of the Himalayas, Avani is a community built on the principles of sustainability and local empowerment. Avani, a non-profit organization, includes a network of nearly 800 artisans and farmers who work together to grow, process, design and create products that generate income for local residents.