Here at Souk Indigo we are always striving to make a more positive impact on our communities and the world around us, whether that’s here in the US where we design our clothing or in India where our products are made. Unfortunately the fashion industry is one of the world’s largest polluters—it’s simply not set up to be sustainable. This makes it difficult—and expensive—for small businesses to compete without contributing to the harm. We may have big sustainable goals for our businesses, but it takes small steps over time to get there.
That’s also why we’re hopeful! We’re doing what we can now, knowing that we can only go up from here. Today we wanted to share a few ways we are committing to sustainability as a brand, as well as our plans for the future.
Photo by Antoine Similon.
1. Reusing scrap fabric. Each season, we make fit samples to adjust every detail of the fit of each garment—length, seams, shoulders, drape, and more. We usually make two or three samples per style before they are perfected enough to move to production. This step is completely necessary to ensure we’re offering a garment that fits beautifully and will garner countless wears. To reduce our impact, we reuse excess fabric from previous collections to make these samples. No matter how “small batch” a fashion brand’s production is, there will always be odds and ends. It’s actually kind of fun to see those past patterns reflected in new designs, if even just for us!
2. Reducing emissions. Shipping material can have a big impact on emissions before the garment is even made. We only use fabrics sourced locally near our sewing room in India, or as nearby as possible, to reduce the impact of transport. As a brand inspired by the history of artisan craft in India, it was an easy decision to not only produce but to source materials there as well.
3. Virtual meetings. As a brand headquartered in both the US and India (hopefully with more locations in the future!), we have utilized virtual meetings since our launch. As much as we love travel, we are conscious of its impact on the environment and don’t fly if we don’t need to, and try to fit as much as possible into each of our trips overseas. Before COVID-19 impacted travel we were already doing most of our fittings via Zoom, and these days they’re all virtual!
4. Conscious fabric sourcing. It’s important to us to introduce our customers to beautiful, sustainable fabrics with each collection. We work with various NGOs (currently within India) to source our fabrics, after getting to know them and their missions. Our Spring 2021 Collection will include handloomed fabrics sourced in collaboration with the Kala Swaraj foundation, who works with communities in India to restore self-sufficient local economies and preserve ancient traditions. We are so grateful for organizations like Kala Swaraj!
This is just the beginning for us. While COVID has certainly impacted the timeline of some of our goals, we will continue to strive for sustainability in our work. We hope to soon have an exclusive sample sale with proceeds going one of the many worthy causes dear to us! Until then, we’ll be here listening, learning, and doing all we can!