Why India is a leading destination to outsource production of organic clothing

Organic Fashion refers to clothing and accessories that have been made with a minimum use of chemicals and limited impact on the environment. As India’s economy grows and becomes more influential, so to does its fashion scene. The demand for organic clothing made from non-allergic, eco-friendly and durable organic cotton for children, is on the rise in the country with people becoming more aware of health and environmental issues, an industry expert has said. Deepak Agarwal, CEO of Gron Stockholm, a key organic kid’s wear brand sold in the country says that “People now have the exposure. They now understand that cotton clothes alone do not suffice for environment-friendly and safe clothing. The popularity of organic kids wear is growing as mothers are more aware and are worried about the impact of chemical dyes on the baby’s skin. Used over a period of time the chemicals used in conventional cotton clothing stick to the skin of a baby”.

India is the largest producer of organic cotton in the world after overtaking Turkey and accounts for almost 51 per cent of the global organic cotton production. The majority of organic cotton produced in India is processed in the country and exported only as textile. The demand for the product within the country is negligible, mostly because of its high price.

organic-cotton-production-2011-12

Source – www.environmentalleader.com

The organic cotton industry in India has been growing since many years and has caught the attention mostly of farmers and manufacturers. The interesting thing is that the domestic market for organic cotton is virtually untapped due to low domestic demand. Most Indian customers don’t buy organic cotton clothes. While the West shows an increasing trend towards moving away from fertilizers and chemicals, the Indian consumer is largely unaware of the many benefits of organic products. Awareness and purchase of organic products is a limited trend only amongst high net worth customers in Delhi, Bangalore, and Mumbai. Due to this reason a lot of outsourcing is done to India. Since India is the highest producer of Organic Cotton in the world, the foreign companies find it more suitable and convenient to outsource their fashion manufacturing requirements to India. Cheap labour is also one of the major reasons why companies prefer to outsource work to India. This also benefits the Indian Farmers because farmers use all the organic methods and techniques, which helps them to keep their soil more healthy. And, comparatively, to the other production, farmers also get paid a good amount since the demand is more from the foreign companies.

Zameen_Organic_India

Joseph Pendanath, an organic farmer from Kerala says that “When a farmer doesn’t choke the soil, it will give like you’ve never seen. And when the consumer pays me the price that can sustain this kind of farming, I can do more of this.”
Pendanath is one of the over 4,500 hill district farmers in Kerala who form an alternative farming collective called the Fair Trade Alliance Kerala (FTAK). These largely small and medium landholders — 10 per cent are women — do sustainable, organic farming that rejects mono-cropping for biodiversity, preserves, and shares local seeds, and embraces the market.

The other various benefits of organic farming for small farmers in India include a high premium, low capital investment, the ability to achieve higher premiums in the market, and the ability to use traditional knowledge.

One of the benefits of outsourcing the work to India is that the farmers in India make use of the dye that is organic and natural and is produced by them locally. Ayurveda and herbal means are used for dyeing that clothes that have innumerable benefits. Ayurveda and Herbal are the ancient techniques of dyeing textiles in medicinal herbs. When exposed to skin, the herbal components in the clothes gets absorbed into the body and may function as a means of providing treatment for a broad range of diseases including diabetes, skin infection, asthma, arthritis, and hypertension.

Experimental research conducted by Ayurveda College in Trivandrum, Kerala confirms that Medicinal clothes may help treat skin diseases, arthritis, and lower blood pressure. Medicinal clothes garments are 100 percent organic, completely free of synthetic chemicals and toxic irritants, and biodegradable.

There are many organic cotton co-operatives in India. Here’s the list of some of them

  1. Organic Clothing India. – organicclothingindia.com
  2. Chetna Organic – chetnaorganic.org.in
  3. Rajalakshmi Cotton Mills – rcm-organic.com

While there is less demand for organic clothing in India, despite India being the largest producer of organic cotton, there are some well-known brands, who are trying their best to reach out to people in order to make them aware of the hazardous effects of fast-fashion and giving them reasons on why they should switch to sustainable fashion. For more info on these brands – http://source.ethicalfashionforum.com/digital/a-taste-for-sustainable-fashion-in-indi

 

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