Brainchild of master couturiers Didier Lecoanet and Hemant Sagar, Ayurganic is a venture that commenced nearly a decade ago with a succinct thought to align clothing with earth. But it is only in contemporary times do we see the narrative of slow fashion resonating deeply with the consumers world over. We reached out to Hemant Sagar, the man behind juxtaposing traditional knowledge of Ayurveda with the modernity of haute couture to know about the label’s evolution, what makes Ayurganic truly modern and more. Here’s what he had to say.
Being deeply rooted in the tradition of haute couture and modernity, what motivated the transition to ancient Ayurvedic philosophy especially when sustainability wasn't as popular as it is today?
The pillars of couture have always been about individuality, expression of the soul and luxury. Today sustainable fashion is not too different from this definition. We at Lecoanet Hemant were always able to connect these dots and this ideology gave birth to Ayurganic, our sustainable line. In a bid to promote “giving back to earth”, we stumbled upon this amazing Ayurvedic dyeing technique that presented itself as the perfect opportunity to spread the word about investing in something that helps regenerate. The Ayurganic products, like haute couture, are also one of a kind and seek inspiration from the uniqueness of couture as well as mindfulness of sustainable clothing.
While the idea of sustainable fashion has entered the collective consciousness, rampant consumerism still exists in the form of fast fashion. As designers, how do you combat this added pressure?
Sustainable fashion, no doubt, is slowly making its way into elimination of rampant consumerism. Apart from educating the customer about slow fashion, we also face added pressure when talking about Ayurveda of India, in India. The international customer loves the touch and feel of the product along with the properties it exudes, however Indian customer is still reluctant about believing in the healing properties of Ayurvedic clothing as opposed to international slow fashion concepts that Indians appreciate. We still have a long way to go. The silver lining is the relatively growing demand for sustainable products, which cannot be substituted with fast fashion.
Since the launch of the brand almost a decade ago, how do you think it has evolved over the years?
Ayurganic was launched way ahead of its time. It is only now that the slow fashion consumer has emerged and started to appreciate quality over quantity. Over the years, we have redefined what sustainable fashion can be by breaking the stereotype that is usually associated with slow fashion.
Furthermore do you think you've been able to fulfill the purpose with which Ayurganic began?
Definitely. It fills us with pride when we say that we give back to mother earth. The Neyyar river of Kerala, where the Ayurganic fabric is washed after the herbal dyeing, has witnessed a constant increase in its fish population due to the infusion of herbs in the river water. It is clinically proven that wearing Ayurganic for a long time heals ailments and detoxify the body. Wearing Ayurganic is like meditation to one’s body.
I observed a certain sense of fluidity, androgyny in various garments from the new collection. Is that a trait that the label aspires towards?
Most garments in Ayurganic are gender fluid garments and have been since the start of the brand a decade ago. We do not want to restrict the consumer into wearing a said style because it’s for his/ her gender. Though it is rooted in ancient practices, Ayurganic truly echoes the modern philosophy that a soul is a soul no matter how it chooses to identify itself.
Text Unnati Saini