Scoring an opening show at fashion week is a big deal. At the recently concluded Lotus Makeup India Fashion Week (LMIFW, 13-17 March) organized by the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), the opening show saw four designers—Rina Dhaka, Sahil Kochhar, Shalini James and Samant Chauhan—come together.
While Dhaka showcased flowing dresses and anti-fit suits, Kochhar put his intricate surface textures and appliqués on display. James’ models were dressed in printed ensembles inspired by forests while Chauhan offered a sporty take on his signature ivory and white palette. The common thread that bound the distinct aesthetics of these designers was Livaeco, a new sustainable home-grown fabric.
Launched in January by Aditya Birla Fashion, Livaeco has been developed under the Liva brand of fabrics. Nelson Jaffrey, head of design at Liva, says the bio-degradable fabric stands out among competitors for its sustainable origins. It is manufactured from wood pulp sourced from forests certified as sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council, which promotes responsible forest management.
Jaffrey’s team develops new fabric collections for every season, and also oversees designer associations. The team worked with the designers from December to develop the collections. “Whenever we associate with designers, we want to showcase the versatility of the fabric. While some designers like Gaurav Jai Gupta (who created a collaborative capsule for the fabric’s launch) are known for sustainability, we also want to focus on newer names,” says Jaffrey over the phone. “While Dhaka is a veteran in the industry with a distinct style, Sahil Kochhar is all about detailing. Shalini James focuses on eco-friendly fabrics. Samant Chauhan works on ivory and ecru, but for this collection works on sportswear silhouettes which are different from his conventional designs.”
Kochhar, who used the opportunity to create a transeasonal pret collection, has used Liva. “As a brand, we have also started exploring more eco-friendly options. I liked the fall of the fabrics,” he says over the phone. “Because we were working on a sustainable fabric, we also created the appliqués on the garments with leftover fabrics.”
Along with designer collaborations, Liva is also collaborating with high-street brands in India to incorporate the fabrics in their collections. Womenswear label W is slated to launch a new collection that uses the fabric as part of its Autumn/Winter collection. “Globally, fashion is moving towards sustainable fabrics,” says Jaffrey. “We would want Indian labels to adopt these as well.”