THE COOLEST DRAPES
VIJAYALAKSHMI NACHIAR 48 Co-founder and Creative Director, Ethicus, Tamil Nadu
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.