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Bid to promote environmental awareness through fashion
SIVASISH THAKUR

 
 GUWAHATI, July 4 - In a bid to promote environmental awareness through fashion, city-based organisation WildRoots-India has engaged students of various fashion design institutions from across the country in an innovative project – Nature-based Fashion Design for Environmental Awareness – through which the participating students have come up with fascinating designs to spread awareness about climate change, habitat loss, threats to bio-geographical hotspots and endemic and endangered species all over the world.

 “An interaction with Sean Southey, the present Chair of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) - CEC, Commission on Education and Communication at the St Catherine’s College, University of Oxford, sparked the idea for the project. We were discussing the ways of using design as a ‘tool for engagement’ to inspire the young design students and motivate them to find ways and means for environmental awareness and find solutions for local and global conservation,” Biswajit De, founder president of WildRoots-India told The Assam Tribune.

Pointing out that there was an abundance of ‘design culture’ to be discovered from Nature, De said the awe factor in Nature was sure to inspire the creativity of designing, encompassing personality, colour and variety. 

“Many contemporary fashion designers put a lot of emphasis on nature-based wearable designs and practical clothing. So, a project was envisioned after I got back to India, last year, where I thought of creating a creative platform where students from various design colleges and institutions can come together, brainstorm on ideas and come up with some nature-based designs that have the potential to be used for environmental awareness and conservation. Awareness should be innovative and interesting,” he added.

Wildroots-India created the project as an online short term student internship programme where the students would be mentored and helped in the development of innovative design ideas, inspired by nature.

De said students from design colleges, primarily the National Institute of Fashion Design and the Royal School of Fashion Design took part in the project. An introductory online session was organised through which the students were explained how the designs could be an amalgamation of both ‘ethnic’ and ‘chic’. 

“They were motivated to do extensive research on various topics and were asked to break the norms and try new patterns, apart from the standard ones that exist. The designs range from exploring the elements of nature to developing ideas that create awareness about fungi, that plays an important role in the ecosystem. Some have depicted conservation of coral reefs and the plethora of species that are dependent on them as also the threats faced by different species from the introduction of microplastics in the marine environment,” De said. 

Some other design concepts were based on the rainforests of the world, awareness about the importance of wetlands, camouflage in species, ecological and economic importance of algae and sea-weed, conservation of mangrove and marine ecosystem, and more. 

Simran Arora wants to explore the elements of Nature through her designs while Aayushi Mor is keen on developing ideas that create awareness about fungi that plays an important role in the Ecosystem. Abha Jangid has created designs based on the conservation of coral reefs and the plethora of species that are dependent on them. Ankita Ghosh has come up with her design concepts based on the threats faced by different species from the introduction of microplastics in the marine environment. Diksha Shivam wants to spread awareness about the importance of wetlands through her designs. 

The students were joined by many others who have created their design concepts based on the rainforests of the world, camouflage in species, ecological and economic importance of algae and sea-weed, conservation of mangrove and marine ecosystem, and more. 

The Project is now a part of WildRoots - ‘Art for Conservation’, Educational & Action Module which is now copyrighted to the founder president of the organisation, under the (Indian) Copyright Act, 1957, as per the amendments in 2012, which fully reflects the Berne Convention for Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, 1886 and the Universal Copyrights Convention.

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