CHENNAI: In recent years, growing awareness for the need for sustainable practices has given birth to small businesses that are taking charge of environmentally conscious commerce. One such brand is Tintory, an online clothing store, created by engineer-turned-fashion designer Nivedha Vignesh. “For the longest time, I have been fascinated by the beauty and mystery of nature. I wanted to create something inspired by the environment that would be eco-friendly and produce zero plastic waste; that’s how Tintory came about,” says the 27-year-old.
Having worked in the fashion industry for a few years, she has been witness to the mountains of non-biodegradable waste produced by the sector. So, when Tintory was born, Nivedha took steps in the interest of the environment, starting with the adoption of natural dyes. She explains, “We have natural alternatives to everything that the fashion industry currently uses. For example, the madder plant or Rubia tinctorum is one of the oldest sources used to extract red dye.” Her brand houses a range of contemporary, plant-tinted clothes that are completely natural.
Going back to the roots
Besides being environmentally focused, Tintory also draws inspiration from indigenous craftsmanship. The brand works with Khadi Trust, an organisation located in Subbulapuram village in Theni and employs local weavers. One of its major goals is to work with and revive the Indian handcrafting and artistic communities to preserve the lost art in its original form. “The weavers use handlooms that are some hundred years old. They are elated that their craftsmanship is not lost yet and is gaining recognition,” she says.
Tintory uses original block printing and contact printing, among other indigenous methods. Giving insights into the latter, Nivedha says, “With contact printing, the leaves are directly used on the fabrics to impart the print. While not all leaves can be used for this purpose, most medicinal leaves have the required properties. I have used Eucalyptus leaves.” Her debut collection was named Sonnets of Summer, drawing from the freshness of new leaves. Her latest collection depicts the darkness of the universe, especially influenced by eclipses, called Penumbra — The Capsule Collection. While jumpsuits and wrap dresses are the main feature, prints are not part of this collection. “All the fabrics were yarn dyed (as opposed to dyeing after weaving the fabric),” she explains.
In order to keep up with its competition’s packaging prices without compromising brand values, Tintory set on a search for a 100% natural, environment-friendly, reusable and biodegradable alternative that would also support the crafting community. “After much trial and error, I stumbled upon a local shop using boxes made of palm leaves. Traditionally, these are used for packing foods, so it was difficult to find artisans who would customise them for clothing. Finally, we found some in Alagankulam village, who were willing to take up the task,” she elaborates.
While the brand is still in its nascent stages, Nivedha has many plans for its future. “I want to create awareness about sustainable fashion. I am planning to explore all types of naturally-woven textiles and attempt to adopt and revive extinct art forms.” Currently, the homegrown unit is seeing success in sales through social media.
For details, visit website: www.tintory.in or Instagram: @tintory.in)