VIJAYALAKS­HMI NACHIAR 48 Co-founder and Cre­ative Di­rec­tor, Ethi­cus, Tamil Nadu

India Today - - COVER STORY SUMMER SPECIAL - By Mona Ra­ma­vat

Hail­ing from a fam­ily of cot­ton traders and mar­ried to a third gen­er­a­tion cot­ton gin­ner, Vi­jay­lak­shmi Nachiar found it dis­turb­ing that cot­ton is one of the big­gest pol­lu­tants in In­dia us­ing up nearly 50 per cent of all pes­ti­cides. This in­spired her hus­band and her to adopt or­ganic farm­ing meth­ods and start a sus­tain­able fash­ion brand mak­ing sa­rees. “We launched Ethi­cus in 2009 at a time when there was no aware­ness about or­ganic tex­tiles,” says Nachiar. Re­tail­ing at ex­hi­bi­tions and stores across the coun­try, Ethi­cus has clocked in 20 per cent growth from then to now, year on year. Lo­cally pro­duced in Pol­lachi, Tamil Nadu, the sa­rees come with a tag that men­tions the source area of the cot­ton, the name of the weaver and the num­ber of days it took to weave it. “Be­fore it reaches the fi­nal con­sumer, a sa­ree passes through many hands. We wanted to tell that story while cre­at­ing an iden­tity for ev­ery­one on the chain,” she says. “We have ve­gan brides who would rather opt for a cot­ton sa­ree than silk, not want­ing to kill the silk worms,” she says, adding that their lat­est col­lec­tion Ratan fea­tures sa­rees for sum­mer wed­dings. Re­cently, Ethi­cus has be­gun to in­cor­po­rate band­hani and ajrak work from Gu­jarat, hand-painted kalamkari from Srikala­hasti and Luc­knowi chikankari on their Coim­bat­ore cot­tons.

The sa­rees are priced be­tween `6,000 and `40,000.

Eco War­rior Nachiar took up the chal­lenge of mak­ing na­ture-friendly sa­rees

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