Why Go Kora?

“We must mend what has been torn apart, make justice imaginable again in a world so obviously unjust, give happiness a meaning once more,” 

-Albert Camus

But that mending is patient, steadfast, often unglamorous work as stated in the international best seller ‘Cradle to Cradle’ by Michael Braungart and William McDonough. It is the work of choosing kindness over fear, again and again, in the smallest of everyday ways, those tiny triumphs of the human spirit which converge in the current of courage that is the only force by which this world has ever changed.

We are RaasLeela and we are a part of the second most water polluting industry in the world-  the Fashion Industry.

Now how are we mending that, you must be wondering.  Well, let us brush up on some vital facts regarding the same.The most commonly used vat and direct dyes in the industry today, are hazardous for all life forms. It has been scientifically proven that to us humans they cause harmful skin diseases and gradual genetic damage. Chemicals like chlorine used for bleaching the fabric are equally toxic. The harmful remnants are mostly discharged into fresh water streams without being properly treated. The worst part is that they have already entered our food chain and there is little that can be done about it.Not only this is bad for the marine and human life, but is almost lethal for our forests too. 17-20% of industrial fresh water pollution is caused by textile dyeing and this waste water consoting of hazardous chemicals flows into the irrigation channels and down to the water tables. It stunts the growth of the vegetation and often kills them in many cases. Globalization has further added to the problem because it means that your shirt has likely travelled halfway around the world in a container ship fueled by the dirtiest of fossil fuels. 

Yes, Natural dyes are comparatively better but not sustainable either. They rarely have a low impact on the environment. The land used to cultivate indigo for instance, is left barren and large quantities of water are wasted during the process of dyeing. Natural dye related post consumption problems like colour bleeding are also a pain as one has to deliberately separate dark coloured clothes form the lighter ones. Naturally dyed clothes fade after a few washes and if mordants (such as chromium) are used for fixing the colour onto the fabric, the process becomes equally virulent as chemical dyeing. If hazardous textile chemicals are to be eliminated a better enforcement of water pollution regulation is required. But I suggest that instead of completely relying on the government's much claimed 'successful-so-far' plans, we must take steps individually on all levels towards this cause.  

In other words, the fact of being a part of this industry is not to be taken as a shameful load on our shoulder that we are bound to carry. As RaasLeela is not oblivious to the impact of its production practices on the environment, RaasLeela's well pondered choice of using locally procured fabric in its most natural state is definitely a big step towards mending what has gone wrong.

The use of greige fabric can be considered as an effort to minimise our contribution towards water pollution.There is a beauty taht reflects in griege fabric, a purity of being untouched by chemicals and a power that can bee seen in its robust constitution. It not only looks aesthetically pleasing but also serves a greater purpose. The simplicity and elegance of a white ensemble is unmatched. The colourful stitches break the ice and add liveliness to the garment. Coordinated ensembles of white on white work well too. 

We started this initiative as a social media movement by the name #GoKoraClothing on facebook and instagram and many of our followers have supoorted it by posting their pictures wearing kora clothing, which we have shared on our page. To view the movement and to be a part of it, visit our facebook page. 

The whole idea is to wear a concept, not merely clothes, in the most feasible of all manners. These clothes weigh a lot more metaphorically as the bear with them an important message and are a means of healing our planet. Kora might get dirty but the stains will remind us of our mistakes. It will compel us to value what we have and be aware about our doings, ultimately making us a better person and this planet a better place to live.

Special thanks to Gitanjali Chibber, Indian Institute of Craft and Design. For writing this article for us during her internship period.