7 sustainable fashion brand finds for the curvier women on budget
Because curvy women deserve to look good AND save the planet
I was in my first year of college when I stumbled upon a picture of model and entrepreneur Ashley Graham in all her glory on Instagram. I remember thinking that I had never seen anyone who looked like her — or me — call themselves a model before that. Amazed by this goddess-like, curvy woman — who is now universally recognised for her work as a pathbreaker in fashion — I started on my pilgrimage to find my own take on her enviable style. Being a bigger girl already left me with a very small pool of choices, given the paucity of size-inclusive Indian brands, and my newfound love for sustainable fashion — driven by the woke discourse at university — made me feel like a fish out of water.
I wanted to save the planet, AND look good, all on the pocket money of a college student who lived on instant noodles for half the month.
My shoestring allowance only made it possible for me to find what I’d been looking for on a certain Chinese site that has come to be known as the haven of fast fashion. I hated the idea that if I wanted to look good in my budget, I would have to stop caring about our rapidly decaying planet.
Ruhi Kapoor, a fashion design student in Mumbai, has much to say about the lacuna when it comes to size-inclusive sustainable fashion. “The younger generation wants to be responsible. Why should I have to choose between having affordable clothes and saving the planet?”
Some would say that the most sustainable decision you can make is to not buy clothes — at all. But the shopaholic keedas in us might not let that happen so what are the ways in which you can make ethical fashion choices?
The most obvious way to decide if a brand is sustainable or not is to look at the materials they’re using. Take note of materials like hemp, organic cotton, linen, tencel that are not as energy-intensive as the usual polyester and nylon, which take hundreds of years to biodegrade.
Another parameter for choosing your favourite sustainable size-inclusive Indian brands would be if these materials are being sourced responsibly from vendors with proper compensation. Orsola De Castro, an internationally recognized opinion leader in sustainable fashion, says “Demand quality, not just in the products you buy, but in the life of the person who made it.”
Armed with my years of practice in trying to toe this line, and lots of updated research, I came up with a list of size-inclusive sustainable fashion labels that won’t burn a hole in your hand-sewn leheriya pockets.
Size-inclusive Indian brands to shop under Rs 3,000
With sustainability at their core, True Browns — the brainchild of Udita Bansal — is sitting at the crossroad of urban ethnic clothing. Aiming for zero-wastage in their production processes, fair-trade practices and upcycled fabrics are the cornerstone of this Gurgaon-based label.
An illustrated example of their sustainability journey is their 30 wear campaign. Conscious shopping at its best, the campaign encourages its consumers to wear their purchases from the label 30 times to avail a 30% discount on their next three purchases.
Using sustainable fabrics like khadi and linen, they craft versatile, timeless pieces that can become the core of every wardrobe. They offer an extensive size range from 2XS to 6XL starting at the affordable price of ₹699.
A women-led frontrunner among size-inclusive Indian brands, Angrakhaa is emerging to be the Taimur Ali Khan of contemporary Indian size-inclusive brands. With its size-customisable collections ranging from XXS to 4XL and more, the label is also working towards a zero-wastage approach, turning leftover fabric into accessories, labels and packaging material.
From breezy brunch dresses to classic midis and elegant maxis in custom sizes, the label is promoting a positive clothing culture in the fashion industry minus the infamous ‘fat tax’, where fashion brands charge exorbitantly higher rates for making clothing in bigger sizes.
Bookmark this label if you share their love of beautiful Indian fabrics. Starting at a price range of ₹999, Angrakhaa provides the opportunity to be climate-conscious without breaking the bank.
An up-and-coming label by Gauri Suriya, Tag is striving to be sustainable in its processes. With every piece made to order by a small team of seamsters in Mumbai, this label has been pushing an effort to minimise wastage and mass production.
Using fabrics like cotton twill in various blends to create chic garments, the Mumbai-based label offers a wide range of high-end western wear coupled with a charming palette of colours — all without having you pay through the nose.
Starting from ₹999, their size-inclusive collections ranging from XS to 3XL will help you put your best foot forward, even if the rain gods are being especially mercurial like the past few weeks.
If you’re craving a comfy yet chic holiday aesthetic, Shush is the place to go. Starting from the affordable price of ₹1,050, this contemporary clothing brand by Sushmita Agarwal offers a range of outfits in XS-3XL, from the basic tees to the extra-AF dresses and co-ord sets.
Each of their items is hand-crafted and made to order, ensuring there is no excess production to advocate a conscious lifestyle through fashion. Shush will make you feel like you’re smelling the pollution-free beach air while tipping back those metaphorical mimosas.
Half Full Curve
From fitted bodycon to chic dhoti sets, Half Full Curve is home to many modern size-inclusive silhouettes. Rich silks and crepe chiffons beautifully complement the brand’s Indo-western style, while delicate flower embroidery accentuates the brand’s femininity.
The label launched its Upcycle collection, entirely made from discarded fabrics that end up in landfills, in an effort to reduce fabric waste. Starting from ₹1,150, the collection provides a range of sizes from the UK small to a size 22.
Their vast offering of size-inclusive pieces is just the push you need to flaunt those alleged ‘trouble areas’ instead of covering them up.
Doodlage is a sustainable clothing brand by Kriti Tula and Paras Arora that makes circular fashion mainstream by using its leftover fabrics for making cute accessories and funky stationery.
In the words of Tula, this zero-waste label substitutes water guzzling-conventional cotton and landfill-occupying polyester with recycled cotton polyester, corn, eucalyptus and banana fibre fabrics, and even Tencel-waste, “There’s a lot of scope to experiment and it’s good for the environment, which makes it even sexier.”
Starting from ₹1,800, this sustainable brand makes simple separates, dresses and jumpsuits for women to shirts for men, ranging from XS to 6XL.
The Jodi Life
A firm favourite of the fashion crowd in India and beyond, Gauri Verma and Karuna Laungani’s The Jodi Life is fiery, lively, and stylish, featuring funky capsule collections with bursts of colour.
All of their fabrics are handcrafted in the country using traditional, artisanal techniques. Block print on pure Indian textiles is their leitmotif, which celebrates Wabi-Sabi, a phrase that also happened to be the title of one of their earlier collections. Each season celebrates a new colour and print tale, irreverent and with a sense of humour.
In an effort to reduce its carbon footprint, the label launched a zero-waste project, only including hand-made pieces crafted using leftover fabric.
Starting at ₹2,600, this label may be slightly pricier than the rest of the choices but it’s the perfect fit for the hustler taking her first steps down the road of sustainable fashion.