Fashion & Beauty

An Eco-friendly Label That Wants To Make A Difference Beyond Fashion | Ethicus

By TGB Desk / On May 29th, 2017

Hello Ladies, How was your weekend? Hope you are fine. We know it’s Monday again! But as for us, We are super excited. We always get excited when we get an opportunity to write about a fashion brand with a strong character. Ethicus is one such brand owned by Mr. Mani Chinnaswamy and Mrs. Vijayalakshmi Nachiar. They were successful in presenting the archetypal cotton fabric in an all new ‘Ecologic’ avatar. By doing so, they have not just given a new lease of life to the ailing handloom industry (in Pollachi) but also helped the farmers and the weavers in claiming their due place in the sun. We sat down with the enterprising couple to hear about their entrepreneurial journey, inspiration process, future plans and of course their upcoming festive collection.

The Journey…

Clad in a simple, yet beautiful cotton saree, Vijayalakshmi Nachiar speaks about the birth of the brand Ethicus. “Both me and my husband come from a Cotton background. Living for more than three generations off Cotton and then realizing that Cotton is one of the most polluting crops of our country, was a turning point for us.

We used to put in a lot of painstaking effort and the final customer was not even aware of our existence. The same was the case with the farmers and weavers. We were the most important but the most invisible links in the value chain. You can say that this identity crisis has triggered an idea”.

It was time to go off the beaten path and create an opportunity for yourself and others who follow you. And thus began their journey in 2007. “We slowly reduced our dependency on external markets to market our products”.

“Our ‘Ecologic’ cotton (grown in an area that’s recognised by UNESCO as World Heritage Site in Western Ghats under the able guidance of Mr. Mani Chinnaswamy) has been so branded as it is beyond being just ‘Organic’ Cotton, its cultivation has a positive impact on the environment” explains Vijayalakshmi Nachiar and adds “We are very clear about the footprints that we want to leave behind and those are definitely not carbon footprints!”

We launched our own brand in 2009. We have just completed 7 years and thus far, the journey has been interesting and overwhelming. We look forward to a lot more stories to tell for the future”.

Ethics & Us!

“For us, our brand primarily needs to be ‘Sustainable’. We therefore believe and practice sustainable approach not only by using ecologic cotton, but also through maintaining the yarn quality, dying practices, design intervention and product development, where each stage tells a story!

So we indulge in sustainable practices right from the farm where the cotton is grown to the store where the end customers buy the products! Our label is beyond a fashion brand. It’s a lifestyle choice. So we have named it ‘Ethicus’ meaning Ethics & Us!

We won quite a few awards such as Future Shaper Award by Textile Exchange in 2012 and ‘Pride of Tamil Nadu by The Round Table of India as Emerging Achiever in 2017. These awards have boosted the morale of the whole team and reinforced our conviction to spearhead sustainable fashion movement” says Mrs. Vijayalakshmi.

Ethicus – This is where Aesthetics meet Ethics
At Ethicus, a conscious design process is followed. “Our designs are an amalgamation of contemporary and traditional masterpieces. We were fortunate enough to work with a lot of National as well as International designers. We cannot name people as there are too many to list and it would be unfair to leave even a single person out. We are inspired at every level, by renowned designers of the world to our own artisan groups in Pollachi.

Recently, we felt there is a need to evolve and that’s when I came up with the idea to combine both eco-logic cotton saris and the Kutch’s Ajrakh print. And thus started the north-meets-south love story! Our experiment was a huge success and a new collection emerged – beautiful hand-crafted fine cotton saris with traditional ajrakh prints. From my experience, I feel that these age-old traditions will simply vanish unless we give them a contemporary twist!” says Vijayalakshmi Nachiar.

But in this experiment they made sure that the age-old korvai techniques of Pollachi are retained. “We do not want the sari to lose its distinct South Indian identity. It’s similar to a marriage, you see”. We can’t agree more. For a marriage to last forever the trick lies in ‘being with someone without losing yourself’! Isn’t it?!

As she remembers something, her face suddenly lights up “Oh, and by the way, we are planning to re-introduce premium ahimsa silk sarees as we have been getting a lot of requests from our patrons, especially brides”. On hearing this, we find ourselves grinning ear to ear!

Future Plans

When we ask her about the future plans, she remarks “As of now we have a limited online presence. So we want to start looking at a better online presence and expand our market to some more cities in near future”.

She also adds “We would also like to team up with as many talented artisans as possible and collaborate with them. Do you know that we are also working with Kalamkari artists? We hope to forge new partnerships to create and spread more textile magic! ” she says with a smile before signing off.

Stunning, no?

And by the way, all their products come along with a ‘Handloom Mark’ tags. So tell us which one is your favourite? It is really difficult for us to pick a favourite as we love the brand as a whole and all their beautiful hand-crafted sarees! 

Have a wonderful week ahead!!

Stay Happy!!!


PS: Please contact them directly for any queries. You can mail them at vnachiar@apachicotton.com

2 Responses

  1. Prasada Rao Aryasomayajula says:

    Text as well as photos are excellent..the way you explained the meaning of ethicus is super..in fact I want to refer a dictionary to know it’s exact meaning..but thanks to your ingenious way of clubbing words to coin a new word..thank you for highlighting handlooms which is pride of ancient India

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