Has anyone ever thought about the cloths that we wear? Where the cloths come from? How was it made? Who made it?

With a lil help from the House of Anita Dongre 32 students from the University of Edinburgh (UoE) flew down from Scotland to India to embark on an immersive Sustainable Fashion trek from May 27 to June 1, along with students from the Indian School of Design and Innovation (ISDI).

We are living in a society where sustainable development is at it its peak. Climate change, overpopulation, pollution—the list of pressing environmental concerns plaguing our planet is endless and distressing. There’s no doubt that we need to become more conscious of the way we conduct every aspect of our daily lives, and become more attentive consumers, especially with our clothes. It has now started to gain more popularity when high street bands adapted their method. Brands like H&M and Zara, and even high-end labels like Gucci, have pledged to put sustainability at the heart of their businesses.

The interactive experience allowed students to fully engage in the way the Indian textiles industry operates, and to gain a lay of the land.

The trip began in Mumbai at Mani Bhavan in Gamdevi, after which the students made their way to the ARTISANS’ gallery at Kala Ghoda to participate in a textiles workshop led by founder Radhi Parikh. They also made a field trip to the Technocraft factory in Murbad, Maharashtra, to learn about cotton-spinning and weaving.

On the third day of their trip, the students visited Palghar, which was a transformative experience as they were able to see artisans in the process of working on Grassroot, the House of Anita Dongre’s sustainable, craft-based fashion line.

On Day 4, the undergraduates spent the day at the House of Anita Dongre headquarters in Navi Mumbai, where they met the designer herself. They also made a trip to her retail store in Khar West, to see where her final masterpieces end up before they are sold.

The Sustainable Fashion trek allowed interaction between students from different disciplines across the university, encouraged conversation, and opened up a dialogue about social mobility, dignity of labor, gender issues and the democratization of crafts.

As a result of this trip, several students have elected to write their final-year dissertations with organizations they encountered during their visit, and others are thinking about franchising BoHeCo products in India. Finally, every student is taking back a physical souvenir that will last a lifetime, thanks to the power of sustainable fashion.

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Asif Ullah Khan

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