In the rise of the slow fashion industry, we often see a desire for ethical fashion brands to use simple techniques, form a positive connection with the environment and nature, and promote practices that benefit the earth and its people. Oshadi is one brand that has sprung up with ties to both modern styles and traditional processes, and has found a way to execute it beautifully and sustainably.
Oshadi, meaning “essence of nature”, was developed as a means to revive and sustain India's textile heritage of hand weaving and natural dyeing, which is now perishing due to industrialisation. “The brand is an homage to a 60-year-old family's textile legacy; evolving from their ethnic, machine-oriented textiles into an age-old way of using natural materials and craftsmanship,” says Nishanth Chopra, founder of the Indian ethical fashion brand. “I'm an ardent nature lover; my final year of research at university was on 'how sustainability is required in order to meet the dynamic adaptive challenges around the world'; and to create something which is beautifully made with an intimate connection to nature.”
Chopra works with Oshadi designer Richard Malone to create this brand of elegant, streamlined womenswear, bringing modern styles to a world that holds bland clothing perceptions of eco-friendly brands. “Functional antique workwear pieces merged with an eclectic mix of contemporary references that relate to our modern customer’s wardrobe, taste and lifestyle,” Malone says. His designs are inspired by the “French military, classic weaving, the functional architecture and design of Eileen Gray and the serene work of Elsworth Kelly and Cy Twombly.” These designs make up simple statement pieces, like white pleated dresses, minimalist pinstripe pants and lovely a-line skirts.
Oshadi’s clothing is completely ethically produced by local highly skilled workers, from the yarn they spin to the weaving of their fabric. By working with these artisans, Oshadi helps promote gender equality among the community, fosters employment and empowerment, and develops local creativity.
The brand is also proud to be meat-free, and takes care to ethically produce the “peace silk” that they use for their fabrics. “Traditionally, in the production of regular silk, the cocoons are immersed in boiling water to brutally kill the worms in order to spool the silk yarn,” says Chopra. “With ahimsa silk, cocoons are left alone until the worms mature and fly away as moth, after which, each cocoon is checked individually to ensure that the moth has escaped before extraction of silk.” Their respect for materials like silk show how dedicated Oshadi is to building a truly ethical, and inspiring, fashion brand.
Their hand-woven garments, created using centuries old Indian techniques, merge with modern styles in a minimalist collection of contemporary and considerate designs. With the help of a dedicated founder, skilled artisans, and environmentally friendly practices, Oshadi is one brand that is paving the road for the future of slow fashion.