Ethical fashion has been in a conversation in recent years considering the harmful effects of fast fashion on health, environment and biodiversity. The carcinogenic chemicals used in the fabric dyes have caused diseases to the labourers working in garment factories as well as the consumers using them. To address these concerns several fashion designers have adopted ethical ways of producing fashion. However, the majority of these ethical fashion designers focus on the environmental factor of the fashion industry. The designer duo Lecoanet-Hemant from Kerala are among the few who are addressing the health effects by creating Ayurvastra.
Ayurvastra is a concept where the fabric for clothing is treated with ayurvedic herbs that possess medicinal properties. This cloth then is used to make garments which have healing properties for certain ailments.
The multi-award winning duo is refining the concept of ayurvastra, with a line of garments under the label Ayurganic. The first step is to procure GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified organic cotton. Once the swatches are delivered, they’re bleached in a natural aloe vera solution, then dipped in natural gums so they can absorb and hold on to the colour and medicinal properties of the herbs. After dyeing the fabric for a minimum of six hours in ayurvedic herbs, it is cooled, washed and kept in a dark room for a minimum of 15 days. The longer the cloth is kept in the darkness, the more steadfast the colour and healing properties.
The water used to dye the fabric is believed to be medicinal as well. This is to be consumed or bathed in to enhance health and beauty. The designer duo has set up their processing unit in the heart of the Agastya forest in Kerala. The forest is a source of more than 1,200 herbs, used for various combinations that range from immunity to better sleep, to glowing skin. Many different herbs (including red sandalwood, sweetflag, vetiver, wild turmeric) are used; however, neem is the main ingredient with 20% concentration.
In this world of fast fashion where garments are constructed in as less than a couple of hours, choosing to delve in a project such as Ayurvastra requires a strong commitment and a lot of patience. However, with more such initiatives by designers and with brands promoting such initiatives by providing a proper platform, Ayurvastra has a lot of potentials to contribute in the field of health, wellness, beauty, environment and ethics in the fashion industry.
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The CSR Journal Team