Inside A Himalayan Fashion Label Promoting Transparency & Ethical Production

Whakatō is an independent fashion label putting forward new solutions to existing problems.
Whakatō is an independent fashion label putting forward new solutions to existing problems.Whakatō

The life cycle of a garment is pretty limited in present times and our relationship with these pieces if clothing also remains one dimensional. While stores view the garment through the lens of profit and consumers purchase it for the limited run of a season or even occasion, we fail to view it holistically. This is where a homegrown brand is seeking to change the conversation around sustainability and making it a mission to reshape the way we interact with clothing. 

Based in the Himalayan foothills, Whakatō is an independent fashion label putting forward new solutions to existing problems. The fashion industry is a significant contributor to global air and water pollution, atrocious wastage, animal and human exploitation – and that’s just the tip of the unethical iceberg. While the brunt of this catastrophe was single handedly shrugged on the shoulders of consumers, the brand is challenging these assumptions by accepting more responsibilities as the producers of sustainable garments.

Firstly, the brand works on extracting fibres from unusual plants and making clothes with minimum impact on nature. Their current collection is made from Lotus Silk, traditionally made for the head Buddhist monks, the fibres are extracted from the stems of lotus in Myanmar. Unlike cotton, there is minimal water usage in the whole extraction process since the stems contain moisture of their own post-harvest. The extracted fibres are then twisted and woven on handlooms in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, and the garments are designed and manufactured in the Himalayan foothills of Dharamshala.

From inception, they only design clothes that are biodegradable or that can be recycled at the end of their life. Whakatō seeks out suppliers and partners that share our values and keep researching on innovative raw materials to use. Not only do they reveal the entire supply chain from fibre to finish but also help customers extend the life of their clothes via educational steps to care and repair garments.

As a small team of three people, the relatively nascent venture is shifting from any process that strains the planet in the name of fashion and instead promotes harmless, compostable, and sustainable fabrics. Opposing the general attitude of secrecy in the fashion world, they are offering utmost transparency as to how each of the pieces came to be. You can further explore their label here

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