It’s clear that we need to design, create and buy better in fashion — a push for best practices in both the environmental and social sides of fashion has major global resonance today. Throughout January, we highlight five exciting labels from around the world leading the way in stylish sustainability. The third stop of our journey is The Summer House.
Breezy, tropical and effortlessly chic, from artisan-made luxurious separates to zero-dye sleepwear, The Summer House is one of India’s leading and most exportable sustainable fashion brands. Care is taken with both human and environmental impact, a dual-pronged social and eco-driven approach to each step of the fashion process that gives the label a wonderful appeal.
Founded by Rekha Datla and Shivangini Padhiyar in 2015, the label sources eco- friendly fabrics from around India, such as organic cotton – all of it Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified – and works with a Gujarat co-operative to spin the fibres into yarn, which is then hand-woven into fabrics ranging from soft khadi to sturdy denim. It also showcases India’s long heritage of hand weaving and printing techniques using local craftsmen to create original, unexpected and timeless prints and designs.
Weavers in Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh, and block printers in Karnataka and Gujarat are all engaged to help create the fabrics. All clothing is made in the brand’s Bangalore production studios, giving it full control over workmanship and added transparency in the fashion cycle.
Collections are aptly named – Wonder Wander, The Flowers Will Return, Cherie and All White. The aesthetic taps into a lightweight modernity alongside touches of traditional craft in the fabrics, some abstract or minimal patterns, stripes and the serene range of hues. Silhouettes are blissfully airy.
The Summer House also has a House and Home section that works directly with craftsmen and NGOs to ensure they benefit more directly from each sale, instead of masses of middlemen. “Minimal, functional and hardworking are the three words that best describe our homeware,” says the brand, and the elegance and respect for natural materials is indicative of the quality hand craftsmanship and conscious design.
“For homeware, our team works in a well-lit, happy studio and earns fair wages.We provide training that gives each person the opportunity to enhance their skill and grow in their career. At no point is financial gain given precedence over physical and mental health.”