BENGALURU: With no sign of the pandemic slowing down, it seems like the work from home (WFH) wardrobe that gathered momentum during the initial days of lockdown is here to stay longer than we expected. As I reflected on my wardrobe choices for this new normal, I was convinced that the timing was right to begin my slow journey towards a more conscious lifestyle. First, I had to iron out what’s important to me in a brand. Keeping in mind my personal ethics, I chose to adopt homegrown (think vocal for local) environment-friendly brands with ethical and transparent practices.
Next, since we are spending most of our time social distancing or indoors, I looked for sustainable, affordable and transitional multi-functional garments that can work for grocery pick-up or video conferences. My picks for this week would be Summer House and Nicobar, two responsible brands with everyday modern collections that make you feel put together while keeping it casual, with comfort being the key element.
Championing mindfulness is Bengaluru brand Summer House whose Instagram page describes them in 3 words: sustainability, craftsmanship and kindness. Rekha Dalta, founder of the brand, says, “We didn’t know we were doing anything special when we started a responsible brand. We just did what we thought was right.” There is just no reason why one should buy a `3,000-4,000 dress from a fast fashion brand -- one that got the dress made in a sweatshop without a care for the planet or the people making it, and with quality that won’t last beyond a season or two – when you can buy a dress for the same price from a brand that has provided fair wages and worked with quality sustainable materials that will last for years.
Speaking of their WFH collection made from hand marbled linen, mul cotton and plush poplins, Dalta says, “What we know of most of our customers is that they will be well dressed no matter whether they are -- at home, at work or out and about. Being a small sustainable business driven not just by design and profit, but by ethics and community, for this brand everyday luxury in context to fashion is how your clothes make you feel with quality and craftsmanship as usual being their focal point, and garments designed to last year after year.”
Since the launch of the brand in 2016, Nicobar has been taking baby steps towards reducing their carbon footprints and aid you in making more conscious consumer choices. From the get-go they have focused on making silhouettes that are timeless. Nicobar takes inspiration from journeys across the Indian Ocean. Their philosophy has been to design products that last, are not trend driven, are inspired by natural design and elements, and influenced by culture we grew up in. A Nicobar WHF look is comfortable, breathable, playful but put together, and an easy transition from working in the day to drinks over Zoom at night.
Their edit chronicles the daily routines of their customers -- “We’ve tried to put ourselves in their shoes and thought of what the new normal would look like for them, and how our pieces can elevate their everyday at-home experiences. We have paired garments and minimal jewellery that you can work in, work out in and also wind down over drinks with your friends.”Whether it is working from home or going to a physical office, everything we wear reflects our state of mind. Intentionally or unintentionally we communicate our mood to the outside world through our wardrobe choices. Making your choice from a home-grown or conscious brand is only a mood elevator. (The writer is a lifestyle consultant and mindful fashion advocate)