The Consortium of Green Fashion India – and what Gandhi has to do with it!

Download PDF

The Green Fashion Conference of the Consortium of Green Fashion India takes place for the sixth time: on the 5th & 6th of October. And of course we are back!

The Consortium of Green Fashion was founded in India in 2012 to strengthen environmental awareness in the fashion and textile industries and serve as an information platform for industry decision-makers.

India, the second largest fiber and textile producer in the world behind China, urgently needs such exemplary initiatives in view of the often catastrophic working conditions and unacceptable conditions in cotton fields and processing plants.

One of the CGF logos

The Consortium of Green Fashion goes back to an initiative of the School of Fashion Technology SOFT Pune, India. Benjamin Itter has been involved through Lebenskleidung from the very beginning, and during his visits to India in the years 2006-2008 (founded as clothing) he made his first contacts in his project for the Goethe Institut Pune (Max Mueller Bhavan) and the first conference in cooperation carried out. Today he sits on the advisory board of the consortium’s board.

Benjamin Itter

SOFT Pune was founded in 1998 in collaboration with the National Institute of Fashion Technology, India, with the aim of promoting and educating only young women who will be tomorrow’s decision-makers in the Indian textile industry.

The parent company Maharshi Karve Stree Shikshan Samstha has been dedicated to the training and promotion of women since 1896 (!). Through regular workshops focusing on the topics of green fashion, fair business practices and upcycling, SOFT today brings its students exclusively into contact with all issues relating to sustainability in the textile industry.

In recent years, the fashion shows of the Green Fashion Consortium (with exclusively sustainable materials) have been a topic of conversation throughout India.

More than 80% of all hand-made textiles worldwide, that is, hand-spun, hand-woven or hand-embroidered fabrics and textiles come from India. Approximately 100 million (!) People in India make a living from the traditional production of textiles.

A woman in the federal state of Bihar spinning cotton

The term Khadi goes back to Mahatma Gandhi. In the course of the Indian struggle for independence by the colonial power of the British Empire Kadhi, that is a hand-spun on the spinning wheel and subsequently handwoven piece of cotton fabric, was an important symbol. It must be remembered that the colonial power of England at that time exported tons of Indian cotton wool back to India. Gandhi had asked the Indians in the 1930s and 40s to spin cotton and weave cotton fabrics to signal against these cheap imports and thus their dependency.

Gandhi using the spinning wheel, the Indian national symbol

England was at this time the stronghold of textile production. Gandhi realized very early that political independence, above all, included economic independence. His vision was that every village in India, weaving its own cotton, would weave it, and sell locally made clothing. This would leave the entire value creation in the country and much more, even in the village. Maybe you know the pictures of Mahatma Gandhi, wrapped in a big piece of cotton cloth. This is Khadi.

The spinning wheel became a symbol of Indian independence and was even found in the pre-Independence flag of the Indian national flag. To date, the Indian national flag may be made only from Khadi and only one institution, the KKGSS may produce the flag.

At first Gandhi was laughed at for his idea, because he wanted to use the loom to gain independence from the world power of the British Empire. To which Gandhi replied:

The loom is powerful because it is so small. It fits in the hand of the poorest woman in the smallest hut in the tiniest village. With the help of the spinning wheel, every single person becomes a power factor against the Empire!

Indian clothes traditions
Traditionally, India wears the sari, a salwar kamiz (a kamiz is a longer shirt that is loosely worn over a pair of trousers (salwar) and usually slits down from the hips to allow more freedom of movement), plus a dupatta (a long scarf or veil) or men a kurta (a wide-cut shirt).

Different Sari styles
A Kurta

Khadi and handwoven fabrics were always present after Indian independence in 1947. In India, traditions are valued. Today there are 28 states, the Indian federal system is similar to the German. Each state and region has its own customs, its own courts, and its own textile traditions. In South Indian Kerala one finds other clothing customs than for example in the north Indian Benares. A woman from the West Indian Maharashtra recognizes the motifs, the colors and the way a sari is tied, where a fellow traveler arrives on the train.

Different Indian fashion styles

Since the 1990s, perestroika in the former Soviet Union and the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, capitalism has also taken hold in India (India was and still is a socialist republic). With the opening up of markets for Western goods and services, Western clothing companies and Western clothing have gradually flooded India. India became even more part of the western and global textile chain, with all known dependencies and, unfortunately, often exploitative practices. On the consumer side, as with us in the West, new role models have been communicated through advertising, while young Indians have become big fans of jeans and sneakers from well-known brands.

As a result, traditional textiles became uninteresting to a large number of people. The often low-quality manufacturing, bleeding colors, boring designs and fabrics, and the boring “state emporiums” that are dull, government-run stores, added to the rest of the glamorous new stores. However, by and large, one can not speak of a repression of Indian textile tradition. Only that these are just now no longer produced in traditional ways. They were and are being reinvented and presented to the younger generation.

For some years now, Khadi and Handloom are also experiencing a revival! Many people in India realize that with the advent of Western ways of life and consumption, a great deal of native kutur is in danger. Indians are basically very patriotic and justifiably proud of the country’s insane cultural and textile diversity. Well-known Indian designers such as Ritu Kumar (who also attended the conference), Rohit Bal and Malini Ramani started to become increasingly interested in hand-woven textiles again in the 2000s. The state supports the preservation of traditional textile techniques and the preservation of millions of jobs in this sector with the India Handloom Brand.

In order for Khadi and handwoven textiles to have a chance in the future too, many players in the fashion scene in India agree that both have to be given a more modern look. This was also the aim of this year’s conference.

Avant-garde designers such as Rahul Mishra, Anju Modi, or Anita Dongre have taken “Khadi and Handloom” to a new level in recent years.

Rahul Mishras collection in Paris

What does this whole thing have to do with slow fashion? Well, a local production, the use of natural fibers, eco-friendly colors and a socially acceptable manufacturing are also the keywords of the ethical fashion scene.

And Slow Fashion is about more than just sustainable fashion. It’s about awareness, about the value of things, about questioning who made the clothes you wear. That’s how it all starts with you. Green fashion in this sense is a philosophy that encompasses more than just correct clothing.

Stripes – a neverending love story!

Download PDF

Stripes are not just stripes. Stripes are a feeling!

Of sea, sun, salty air, and the taste of red wine and cheese; the scent of sunscreen and beach chairs, rushing waves and smiling children. Stripes make us think of the French Riviera as well as of the North Sea. They simply are the feeling of the summer.

They also remind us of the Roaring Twenties, the Rock’n’Roll of the 50s and the Parisian bohemian of the 60s. They radiate freedom, independence and rebellion. They look nostalgic, sporty, cool and individual.

But since when and why have they become so meaningful?

A little digression…

What we mean by stripes we in fact connect with the “Breton-Shirt”. In German, however, this term is less well known – we would call a striped top rather a striped shirt or a sailor shirt. Both names refer equally to the origin of the classic: In the 19th century, the “Breton shirt” was worn by sailors of the French Navy. It had 21 stripes back then – on the one hand, to recognize men who had gone over board faster in the waves, and on the other as a symbol of the 21 victories of Napoleon.

It was Coco Chanel who made the look and feel of the sailors socially acceptable for women when she designed a maritime collection in 1917. The symbol of lifestyles became stripes at the latest from the 30s, when in Saint Tropez both the French and the American elite romped à la Great Gatsby. The striped shirt had something very special about it – it was sporty and casual, but also quite elitist – just one of the many contradictions that make it so attractive.

The cult shirt was coined again in the 1960s – and once again in France. The Parisian avant-garde – intellectuals and artists in the Sartre and Picasso vaults – wore it as an expression of rebellion. But not only in Paris, but also in the US, it became the favorite piece of a well-known artist – of Andy Warhol himself. He dressed his muse Edie Sedgwick in stripes, as well as the artists of The Velvet Underground, Lou Reed, and John Cale, whose producer he was.

And maybe that is exactly why stripes are so iconic: they are a constant that runs through the decades.

In the 90s, the striped shirt had long been perceived with its typical French-casual, slightly wicked effect. It was with this very same image that photographers Helen and Stephane photographed Jean Paul Gaultier in a Breton shirt for a book cover. The photo was to become the most famous image the world had ever seen of Gaultier.

It was also Gaultier who brought the shirt to cult status when he graced his most famous perfume bottle “Le Male”. Together with Doc Martens and bleached hair it became a symbol of pop culture of the 90s – and not only thanks to Kurt Cobain.

A leap into the here & now: who wears striped shirts today and above all: how?

The must-have can be worn in a variety of ways: sporty, easy and cool or romantic, playful and ladylike – then also very much to tight pants and high heels. The nice thing is that there are no limits to your imagination, because true classics always work!

Our conclusion: Whether old or young, urban free spirit or small town lover, vintage or fashion lover – with stripes you are as always on the safe side and never boring – that’s guaranteed!

1 photographed by anonymous, found on:
2 photographed by Sunshine Charlie, found on:
3 photographed by Hans Brixmeier, found on:
4 photographed by anonymous, found on:
5 photographed by anonymous, found on:
6 photographed by Richard Revel, found on:
7 Classic Vintage Style Travel Poster originally published in the 1930’s, found here:
8 photographed by anonymous, found on:
9 photographed by Dan Fador, found on:
10 photographed by anonymous, found on: via on pinterest
11 photographed by anonymous, found on:
12 photographed by anonymous, found on:
13 photographed by anonymous, found on:
14 photographed by anonymous, found on:
15 photographed by anonymous, found on:
16 photographed by anonymous, found on:
17 photographed by anonymous, found on:
18 photographed by Angel Monsanto III, found on:
19 photographed by anonymous, found on:
20 photographed by anonymous, found on:
21photographed by anonymous, found on: 
22 photographed by anonymous, found on: 
23 photographed by anonymous, found on:
24 photographed by anonymous, found on:
25 photographed by anonymous, found on:
26 photographed by anonymous, found on:

Berlin Fashion Week – and all you need to know

Download PDF

While in Paris the Fashion Week Men between smart suits and casual streetwear is trying to explore new fashion possibilities, Berlin is preparing for its own Fashion Week, which starts next Tuesday. We have the most important trends, news and, events for you in a nutshell – and of course with a focus on everything that is green!

1. With the trends for the coming year, less is more!

The colors become very natural, the cuts comfortable and timeless. In short, it’s about calm and deceleration, a new closeness to nature and materials and designs that are durable and beautiful. Right at the top are beige, green and blue tones, which are often combined with prints and contrasting colors.

2. The program of the Ethical Fashion Show starts this year, strictly speaking, even before the official start.
For example, you can visit the Radialsystem on Holzmarkstrasse on the 2nd of July at the FashionSustain Thinkathon or go to the Get Together with Food & Drinks – but only by invitation. The Thinkathon will be about discussing specific issues in interdisciplinary teams of experts and thought leaders. We are curious!

3. With the prePEEK there is another event where bloggers get their money’s worth.
On July 4th, from 10am to 6pm, you will be able to be part the event during which  influencers, bloggers and journalists meet for a lively exchange – at Kraftwerk Berlin.

4. A must-see is the fashion-art cooperation of the German fashion label Luxaa.

From 3 to 5 July, Luxaa will present a new capsule collection at Greenshowroom, which will be all about Tyvek. Tyvek is a nonwoven fabric that is particularly exciting because it is highly malleable and incredibly durable. The company shares the love of experimenting with Leipzig-based artist Michael Holzwarth – and has developed a collection that is innovative, functional and timeless – and also dares to do something artistically: “[In the cyanography process], the Luxaa models are treated with a photochemical emulsion and then exposed to pure sunlight directly on the beach, using the fashion as a base to create vivid stencils Deep cyan-blue in varying structures and intensities visible. ”
How that looks in nature, you can explore next week.

5. As “Greenshowroom Selected”, the fashion show will present the most noteworthy designs of all exhibitors at the Greenshowroom and the Ethical Fashion Show on Tuesday, July 3, starting at 7 pm. For the first time, the fashion show takes place in the format of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at E-Werk Berlin! Almost at the same time, the Kraftwerk itself hosts both “Nightshift” and “Ginger Party”, where you can relax and socialize while enjoying delicious drinks.

6. Greenshowroom and Ethical Fashion Show merge into Neonyt as of the Winter issue of Fashion Week.
It will become an international hub for fashion, sustainability, and innovation – for it is obvious that sustainable topics and technological progress are closely linked. With an even stronger focus on the fashion focus of the show on the one hand and conferences on sustainable materials, innovations and processes curated by FashionSustain on the other, Neonyt wants to become the global hub of sustainable fashion production and presentation – and thus not just a trade fair, but an innovator in the best sense.