Environment-conscious Indians are turning to sustainable clothing. (File photo)

Summer fashion style goes comfortable, environmentally sustainable

Sustainable fashion is headlining the summer fashion. Make natural fibres like cotton, linen, khadi, pure silk and handloom, your Summer BFF

Namrata Kohli | New Delhi

UNIQLO just launched its 2024 Spring/Summer Campaign ‘Summers are for Linen’, starring Bollywood actress Katrina Kaif. “During hot summers, breathable and lightweight fabrics are a necessity. I love this collection as it is so versatile and offers timeless style for anywhere – whether I’m at work or enjoying my day at home” says Katrina Kaif who is seen wearing Linen Shirts, Cotton Tapered Pants, and Jumpsuits through a montage of summer walking with friends along the beach to tranquil moments spent at home and taking a stroll in nature in this comfortable yet stylish collection.

Conventional cotton, khadi magic, silk blends and classy linens are all in vogue in summer wear as they take new forms and avatars as tailored jackets, dramatic capes, engineered saris and resplendent lehenga tops. Invest in natural fabrics, this summer. According to Dr Sanjay Gupta- Vice Chancellor, World University of Design, “In 2024, India’s sustainable fashion scene is set for a transformative and eco-conscious summer. With a rising awareness among consumers about sustainability issues, driven by initiatives such as ‘Make in India’ and schemes like the Amended Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (ATUFS) from the Ministry of Textiles, the country is witnessing a significant shift towards environmentally friendly practices. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s advocacy for sustainable fashion, particularly Khadi, further amplifies this movement, promoting traditional Indian textiles and local artisans. Alongside, the market sees a surge in sustainable brands, driven by informed consumers advocating for change. The landscape of sustainable fashion in India is teeming with vibrant possibilities, from innovative fabrics to advancements in fashion tech and the rise of circular fashion, promising a future marked by innovation, consciousness, and a greener outlook. I am very happy to see a small but definitive trend towards upcycling. People are abandoning fast fashion and repurposing their old T-shirts, trousers, jeans, suits, saris for making an upcycled fashion statement. Upcycling increases the usable life of the garment and contributes in a big way to the environment.”

Summer Fashion: Stylish Yet Sustainable

Today you have top rated designers and brands making sustainable stylish and showing fierce passion for traditional clothing and making it relevant for contemporary audience.

Make sure you invest in the right fabrics. When you shop to make your summer wardrobe, the fabric you choose will make a big difference. “Choosing clothes made from sustainable fabrics like linen and pure cotton isn’t just about style; it’s about being mindful of our planet. Many fashion-forward individuals opt for these materials because they contribute to environmental preservation. There is an increasing focus on eco-friendly materials, ethical production practices, and recycling/upcycling,” says Sanjay Nigam, Founder, Fashion Entrepreneur Fund, FEF India Fashion Awards, and Talent Factory. He adds that unlike synthetic fabrics that harm nature, natural fibers like linen and cotton help reduce pollution. Besides being eco-friendly, clothes made from linen and cotton offer exceptional comfort, especially during hot weather. They keep us cool and stylish without compromising our environmental values. Although they may require a bit more care than synthetic fabrics, their durability, comfort, and eco-friendly qualities make them an excellent choice. Embracing sustainable fashion isn’t just about following trends; it’s about making a positive impact on our world. It’s about selecting clothes that align with our values and demonstrate that we can look good while being kind to the planet.

Sustainable is stylish this summer and brands working towards this end include 11/11, The Pot Plant, Red Sister Blue, Bunosilo, Runaway Bicycle, Brass Tacks, Metaphor Racha. Some of the best linen clothing brands that make it contemporary are Kaveri, Linen Club, Cotton World, BharatSthali. Besides, every big brand has introduced a linen or a handspun fabric in its collection. “Contrary to expectations, Cantabil isn’t new to linens,” says Deepak Bansal, Director, Cantabil Retail India Ltd- “They’re diving into linen blends, focusing mainly on men’s shirts. Expect a variety: half-sleeve casual shirts in Cotton Linen blend (21 options, 2599 MRP), full-sleeve counterparts (8 options, 2899 MRP), and a lone men’s casual trouser (Cotton Linen blend, 3799 MRP). Ladies can enjoy a Long Tunic in Poly Linen Blend (2199 MRP) or a chic Kurti (Poly Linen Blend, 2499 MRP). Cantabil’s linen collection is predominantly tailored for men, with recent ventures into women’s wear.

Key styles at the brand Summer Somewhere include a slinky satin red slip dress perfect to ring in the new year, a breezy linen abstract printed co-ord set that can be worn in so many different ways, and a pastel dip-dyed ruched dress. Says the brand spokesperson, “Our brand’s styles are made from 100% natural fibers that are low impact on the planet – utilizing much-loved fibres such as Organic Cotton, Viscose, and Linen. We only use Azo free dyes (low impact dyes) that do not contain carcinogenic compounds. The brand also uses digital printing technology, with GOTS-certified inks. This process consumes 70% less water, uses less ink, reduces the impact on air pollution by 60%, and also has less risk of chemical run-off to the environment.”

Khadi is back and how. As PM Modi says- “Khadi vastra nahin shastra hai..” The humble, hand-spun fabric is being reinvented for the modern consumer. Once the stereotypical uniform of sombre politicians and a symbol of self-reliance in India’s independence struggle, khadi is now the darling textile of India’s fashion houses, and is frequently spotted at pop-up shops, art biennales, and on runaways across the country. Conscious fashion consumers have been quick to adopt khadi denim jeans, and modern brides are making in decadent khadi lehengas in their trousseau.

Says 23-year-old Delhi based yoga expert Gaurangi Singh, “My first brush with ‘Khadi’ products was at the large Gramodyog Bhavan in Connaught Place many, many years ago. And years later as I heard that what goes on your body is as important as what goes into it, I became a conscious consumer and have gone back to our textile roots. It’s a myth that khadi is uncomfortable and coarse.”

At KAZO, their latest SS’24 collection features a range of linen shirts, trousers made from nylon and poly blend, and even summer-cooled cotton blended dresses, all crafted to enhance comfort and style. Says Deepak Aggarwal, Founder & CEO, KAZO- “We have curated a color palette that reflects the essence of nature, including earthy tones, soft pastels, and vibrant hues. These colours complement the natural fabrics we have used, creating a harmonious and eco-conscious collection.”

At UNIQLO, linen shirts are priced between Rs 2,490 to Rs 2,990, whereas other items, including pants and jumpsuits range between Rs 1,990 to Rs 3,990. According to spokesperson from UNIQLO, “Women today are prioritizing functional wear that can seamlessly transition from day to night, work to play. Beyond mere style, customers are now also seeking comfort and convenience. For summer, colours that add a sense of lightness and freshness to hot days are proving popular, including hues of beige, pink, blue, and green.” Talking about the best way to maintain these natural fabrics, the spokesperson says, “For optimal care of UNIQLO Linen, we recommend either machine washing with cold water or dry cleaning. The beautiful thing about linen is that the more you wear it, the softer it becomes.”

Accept Natural Traits of Natural Fibres

Wearing natural fibres is not for the faint hearted, or for those that are too particular about clothes creasing too much. While there are a range of finishes that can help these fabrics become crease resistant or easy to iron, these finishes more often than not interfere with natural drape, and breathability of the fabric. Says Kamal Khushlani- Chairman & Founding Director Mufti Jeans, “The first piece of advice is accept the natural traits and personality of the fabric. The use of these fabrics across the spectrum of fashion has been to communicate a sense of nonchalance that is a version of elegance. We understand that this may be acceptable at brunch, on the beach, through the weekend, and maybe a bit more difficult to pull off in a more formal setting. Linen is therefore best used when you are more casually bent than formally.” He advises that wearing your linen shirts with a light jacket in linen or cotton, but not a boring old blazer is more contemporary and pleated pants are the perfect partners in this crime. At Mufti, Khushlani says they promote a tone-on-tone style, picking hues of the same colour to go all over from shirt, to chino or coloured denim, to the jacket that accompanies it, as well as the suede loafer to complete the look.

For women, what is trending are natural fabrics. Soft, muted pastel shades like lavender, mint green, and baby blue are often popular for spring/summer collections. Flowy silhouettes, floral prints, and boho-inspired elements such as fringe and crochet remain classic choices for warmer months. Eye-catching patterns like geometric prints, tropical motifs, and abstract designs add a playful and vibrant touch to summer wardrobes. The fusion of athletic wear with casual and everyday clothing continues to be popular, offering comfort and style for various occasions. Dramatic sleeves including puff sleeves, bell sleeves, and exaggerated ruffles add flair and femininity to tops and dresses. Light and airy sheer fabrics like chiffon and organza add a delicate and ethereal quality to summer outfits. Clean lines, simple shapes, and monochromatic color schemes create chic and timeless looks suitable for the warmer seasons.

Linen is one of the best summer fabrics known for being the lightest of all. It is comfortable and has sweat absorbing properties. Says an insider from fashion industry Raj Sarthak Nigam who is Chief Strategist at Delhi based Fashion Entrepreneur Fund, “Most people live under the notion that moving towards eco-friendly and sustainable choices means spending more money, I think otherwise. Consciously choosing sustainable fabric garments does not necessarily have to burn a hole in someone’s pocket. They’re breathable and hold moisture absorbing properties. Synthetic fabric on the other hand, along with environmental damages, has the tendency to irritate the skin. While these fabrics may require a bit more care compared to synthetics, their durability and timeless appeal make them worth the effort. Beyond fashion, embracing sustainable materials like linen and pure cotton is a nod towards a greener future.”

Finally for maintenance, all clothing is ideally washed in cold water, delicate cycle, and best flat-dried in the shade. As much as possible, the finer woven fabrics can be line dried, ideally hung on hangers, while all knits should be flat dried. Wash your colours separately and keep lights from darks. This will reduce any colour continuation, and also the clothes are less creased post drying, making a light iron good enough to keep them looking pristine. The more care one takes of clothing, as all things, the longer they last.


Want to incorporate natural fabrics into your wardrobe to improve your style and well-being. Then sample some of these options:

Bamboo Grove Jacket
Linen Forest Land Square Co-ord
Khadi Handwoven Black Zen Shirt Kurta
Brand Akaaro
Handwoven Purple Black Engineered Cotton Saree
Brand Akaaro
Silk Saree PURVA
Cotton Megho Jamdani Cotton Dhoti Kurta Set
Brand Sepia Stories

Source: Market Research

Source: Business Standard https://mybs.in/2dUMfBg

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