HYDERABAD: It’s no news that our society is moving away from non-biodegradables; almost everyone realises that the way to survive in this fast-deteriorating world is to take a step towards sustainability. Then what better place to start if not clothing? Numerous artificial and chemical dyes are used in clothing that are not only harmful to the skin but are also a cause of concern for the planet. Switching to sustainable clothing not only protects the lifecycle of materials but also creates timeless garments and this is exactly what the clothing brand Divisha Sharma India (@Instagram/divishasharmaindia) focuses on.
Divisha, a 24-year-old National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) graduate, started her sustainable clothing brand during the first lockdown and believes that as consumers, each one of us has the power to make a huge change by only making a small shift in our lifestyle. Her brainchild, DSI, is based out of Hyderabad and aims at making the switch from ‘fast fashion’ to ‘slow fashion’. “Society, for long, has been beckoning us to consume at a rate faster than we could ever imagine. But this is exactly the time when we desperately need to make that tiny, almost effortless, switch,” she says.
DSI works with handwoven fabrics - certified plant-based fabrics as well as organic cottons - that are directly procured from weavers across the country. Divisha believes that as a growing small-scale business, she has the chance to provide employment opportunities to the weavers of our country. DSI embodies craft, movement and comfort while creating timeless styles that can be worn by people of all ages and body types.
The young designer has always been fond of incorporating sustainable practices in all her projects and has been experimenting with plant based-fabrics and natural dyes for a long time now. Along with working with handlooms, a big part of DSI is to work with ethically sourced and certified plant-based fabrics such as orange peel, rose petal, banana and milk fibers that are easily degradable.
“Orange peel fabric is made by extracting the cellulose from the fruit’s peels, which are discarded after industrial pressing and processing. Through nanotechnology, these fibers are further woven into yarns that retain the fruit’s vitamin C and essential oils. Hence, making it extremely skin friendly and of course, environment friendly,” she says.
She also mentions that the same procedure is used for the other plant based fabrics such as rose petal fabric, where the fibers are extracted from the bushes and natural waste of rose petals. It is stripped and processed to create a luxurious and soft fabric. The fiber extracted from the stalk of the banana plant makes for an extremely breathable and skin friendly fabric.
A big part of Divisha’s brand is working with natural dyes. Along with using fabrics that are naturally dyed, she incorporates the craft of Kalamkari and Batik. Using natural dyes, she creates patterns that are hand painted with natural vegetable dyes by her Kalamkari artisans. She says, “Sustainability in fashion and living has long been a choice for us, but with the current winds of change, it has to become the only way to keep moving forward.”