The outbreak of the COVID-19 global health crisis and its impact has made us rethink how we were consuming and what we were contributing to our society. This thought has brought a special focus on ‘Homegrown’. Homegrown, as the name suggests, refers to produce in one’s locality or country. The crisis has made many of us pause and introspect about our choices, their impact, our future, and that of our society. This is strongly reflected in a consumer survey undertaken by Wakefield and Lenzing AG across nine countries including India, where over 80% of respondents expressed a strong inclination towards sustainable fashion and purchasing clothing made from sustainable raw materials.
The pandemic has disrupted every aspect of our lives including businesses, but there has been a silver lining. Indians are now consciously reaching out for products to minimize impact on the already tipping ecological balance while promoting self-reliance. This is a huge positive sign for the brands and coming times. So far, we have looked upon more evolved markets when it comes to sustainability. Brands and retailers from Europe and North America have been a key inspiration behind incorporating eco-friendly product lines in India. Global brands retailing in India have further contributed to this trend becoming more and more mainstream. However, greater changes have been happening in the background. More and more Indian brands and labels are taking significant leads in offering eco-friendly product lines.
In recent years, India has quickly emerged as fashion’s perfect playground with premium brands making a beeline to grab market share. The indigenous fashion market too is witnessing emergence of homegrown talent who have boldly embraced global sustainable practices and ingredients for their collections acclaimed to be high on artistic flair. In fact, a lot of our homegrown brands are offering eco-friendly products which are very competitive to international brands, easily accessible and wallet friendly at the same time. Designer events with significant media coverage like Lakme Fashion Week have incorporated a sustainability day to bring focus on the topic. In a refreshing trend, it is smaller homegrown brands that are making sustainability fashionable. These labels are developing product ranges which only use eco-friendly ingredients – from fibers like TENCEL™ and ECOVERO™ to processes which save water and energy. It can definitely be claimed that these are small steps for the homegrown brands but giant leap for the local industry which is coming at par with global markets and offerings.
The India Brand Equity Foundation data projects the Indian textile industry to be a significant contributor to the economy and one of the largest sources of job creation in the country, employing about 45 million people directly. Amid the global health crisis, the industry has seen many changes in the consumers buying patterns across segments that are affected but the change has also helped the industry to take innovative approaches and widen the product portfolio to draw in their target consumers and gain a competitive edge.
By keeping sustainability in mind, the need of the hour is for more and more homegrown brands within the industry to embrace lasting changes in order to respond to the evolving consumer sensibilities and consumption patterns. A sustainable brand ensures that everything from manufacturing to the packaging of the product is done keeping the environment in mind. Brands need to embrace this starting from using raw material procurement, processing while also creating employment to paying their workers fairly, right down to making their product reach the end consumer.
Being the world’s second-largest exporter of textiles and apparel, India’s textiles and fashion industry have seen a formidable rise. And with the concept of Homegrown, brands will see more growth within the coming years since it’s become the intent behind a lot of our purchases today. The 2020 pandemic has given a serious push to the country’s entrepreneurs to showcase their creations to the world. And the times to come should see those efforts bearing amazing fruits for everyone.