Eco-fashion shawl
Eco-fashion Information Label
Eco-fashion detail

What is Eco Fashion?

Sustainable or responsible business practices are not a defined end point. It is a journey each brand and business takes in order to continually learn, do better, and have less of a negative impact on our planet and our citizens. These are some examples of healthy branding:

  • Sustainable/durable products: Products that will last a lifetime and do not have to be constantly replaced, because of their outstanding quality.
  • Multi-season: Creating pieces that can be used through the year and help reduce consumerism each season. Collections made to be fashionable all year round.
  • Functional and Versatile: multi-wear/multi-use products.
  • Recyclable products.

Textiles Materials

  • Natural Fabrics: Fabrics made of natural, decomposable fibers
  • Organic Fabrics: Natural Fibers grown without the use of any pesticides, herbicides, artificial fertilizers or other toxic materials.
  • Up-cycled/ Recycled fiber: Converting waste materials and/or discarded products into new.
    Fabric made from reclaimed or fibers or post-consumer material.
  • Eco Dyes and Eco Printing: Use of natural dyes, non-toxic dyes, pigment dying, use of water based inks, low-energy printing, and textile laser printing.
  • Craft/Artisan Fabric: Handmade textiles and/or finishes, E.g. se of methods such as knitting, felting weaving, embroidery, and handmade printing or dying
  • Vegan Fabric: Manmade materials used instead of animal leather or animal tissue products.
    Second Hand: The use of any second-hand textiles, material, notions.
  • Vintage: The use of any textiles, materials, notions, etc. from a previous era.


  • Ethically Produced: Collections produced with respect to people and the environment. This could mean being Fair-trade certified to ensure people behind the products are being treated fairly with reasonable work hours and a fair living wage.
  • Produced Locally: Manufacturing locally (inside 250 miles from the retail point) creates more local jobs, helps the local economy and helps to reduce the pollution from long distance transportation.
  • Produced Nationally: Manufacturing nationally means inside of the same country as the retail point. Creates National Jobs and support the country’s economy.
  • Minimum waste: The minimum use of materials and fabrics when producing to reduce wastage. This can include the number of fitting samples produced, having a good inventory management, and re-using or cutting less patterns.
  • Low-impact technology (L.I.T): Using renewable energy, less electricity, Natural dyes or finishing
  • Minimum water wastage: Using no water, minimum amount of water or re-using water to wash, the use of Ozone technology
  • Custom Production: Made-to-order fashion that encourages quality and avoids mass-produced disposable fashion. It reduces over production and encourages the production of sustainable fashion. It also fits the customer properly for years to come.
  • Craftsmanship / Artisanal production: A production process characterized by minimal automation, little division of labor, and a small number of highly skilled craftsmen as opposed to a larger, less-trained traditional workforce. Participants in an artisan process may be self-employed, or employed by a smaller-scale business. Opposite of industrial process.

Interview: Fashion Designer Sonam Dubal on How Buddhism Is Reflected in His Work

Sonam Dubal AsiaStore Trunk Show
One of the pieces from Sonam Dubal's Fall 2016 collection which was featured during the AsiaStore designer trunk show. (Image courtesy of Sonam Dubal) | by MICHELLE FLORCRUZ | 2 November 2016

Designer Sonam Dubal's unique signature style is known for fusing Eastern tradition with a modern aesthetic, redefining oriental cuts into chic, contemporary silhouettes that combine modern influences with traditional creativity. In an interview with Asia Society, Dubal discusses how his personal heritage shaped the design philosophy that he is now known for.

Your designs use up-cycled elements and materials. Why do you think it is important to be environmentally-conscious as a designer?

As a designer, it is important to be aware of our environment today. The poisoning of our rivers and oceans and slow degradation of our environment cannot be wished away. Our relationship with nature has come full circle. The plastic, waste, and conspicuous consumption have brought us to this stage where we must learn once again to respect the bounties of nature — like my Buddhist Indian heritage has taught me — and understand its balance in life. Creatively, it is challenging to be conscious and to work with sustainable fabrics and indigenous textiles. As a language, it is a form of expression and so paves the way for design to be understood culturally.

My journey with design is closely linked to this pattern of up-cycling fabric, reusing and mixing it with modern design, weaving and blending textiles from different parts of India. Kantha, from the state of Bengal, is one of the most beautiful textiles in this tradition. Old saris are hand quilted together and make magical designs that create the earthy color tones and geometric forms. Thus, in its very origin, it carries with it the theme of regeneration.

How has your Sikkimese and Marathi heritage influenced you as a designer and the aesthetic of your pieces?

Having been brought up in a multicultural environment I learned to respect and understand the values of both my Buddhist and Marathi heritage. In my journey seeking a language of design, I delved into this cultural melting pot which was complex in so many ways yet simple in others and found an amalgamation through my work and aesthetic which has been the foundation of my line, Sanskar.

Working and reworking with traditional textiles from various parts of India, evolving shapes that have an Asian sensibility reflecting the oneness of the world and yet have a unique identity of their own has been one my greatest challenges through the years. Finally, the aesthetic is about creating an interesting balance within an environment of heritage using colors, print, embroidery, and style.

How would you describe your personal sense of style?

My personal sense of style has been about keeping it simple with a single dash of color or print against black. Style to me is innate and doesn’t have to be loud — it can be subtle like the linings of my jackets that are always in print or an interesting blend. As a textile lover, I’m always drawn to interesting scarves and stoles that I often accessorize with my Nehru jackets.

Design is one space that Asians and Asian-Americans are very successful. Who are some of your design role models that are Asian?

Asian American designers are slowly paving the way forward with the changes in the world. I love the womenswear lines of Prabal Gurung and Bibhu Mohapatra. Through the years I have also followed the world of Japanese designers Yohoji Yamamoto, Rei Kawakubo, and Kenzo Takada.