— HEMANT SAGAR
Celebrated for wowing the fashion fraternity with a seamless blend of couture and commercial potential, Lecoanet Hemant is a fashion force to be reckoned with and stands out in every category—couture, pret and accessories. Today, the duo has brought out Ayurvastra in its contemporary version with 'Ayurganic' — By Lecoanet Hemant. When worn, the pyjamas, pants, tops, tunics, skirts, sweatshirts and hoodies detox and heal because these garments have been infused with Ayurvedic herbs and oils, in a stringent treatment process in Kerala. In conversation with Hemant Sagar.
Hemant, what drives your passion for wellness?
Wellness didn't really ever exist for me fifteen years ago; having tried it and reaping the benefits of de-stressing and taking care of oneself, it has become a haven of peace in my life. It makes me the centre of my own universe, which outside wellness is not the case.
'Ayurganic', when worn, detoxes and heals similar to an Ayurvedic massage because it has been infused with Ayurvedic herbs and oils. Hemant- where did you get inspiration? Do take us through your personal journey.
It is an amazing scientific phenomenon called "Ayurvastra" in Sanskrit and dates back as far as Ayurveda itself. The recipes go back to the beginning of time and the origins are untraceable. Just back from a total immersion into Ayurveda ,as well as Ayurvastra in its lush cradle which is Kerala, I find it more relevant than ever. Ayurganic was —in a way— a personal discovery some ten years ago and Ayurganic is the only brand to have brought out Ayurvastra in its contemporary version. The most unique thing about Ayurganic is that it is well beyond eco-friendliness and sustainability — it actually regenerates Mother Nature.
Your garments undergo a cycle of production from preparations of Vedic textile treatment to natural dyes and rinse. Garments are then infused with Ayurvedic herbs and oils. Do take us through the production process.
Some two hundred+ herbs are freshly harvested in a pristine primary forest, literally the original jungle we all imagine and never saw, by tribals who bring them in to the treatment centre. That is where they are sorted out for individual preparations — maceration, drying, boiling and extractions— very comparable to the elaborate process of Ayurveda medicines and oils. In an ancestral balance of different procedures the GOTS-certified cotton that originates from permaculture i.e. wild harvesting then goes through a fifteen day treatment that includes boiling, macerating and sun-bleaching — a unique step that include cow's milk as well as Aloe Vera bleach and more. The final step is a sweet water rinsing in the river that runs through said primary forest and in which the water itself has herbal qualities. Fishermen report that the water that augments its herbal quality, thanks to this rinsing, and ends up in the ocean has had a beneficial effect on the fish population with the result that their catches are bigger and bigger. The last dark room drying process can take up to a month and each day heightens the therapeutic value of this near pre-historic procedure, claimed to be five thousand years old.
Speaking about this trip with wellness experts and influencers to showcase the essence of 'Ayurganic' ... what response do you expect from consumers when they share how Ayurganic focuses on healing? How do you think this will impact the fashion and wellness industries?
Having had ten years to test it all over the world with specialists— and having received unanimous blessings— it seems the time is now right to enter our daily lives, in our pollution stricken urban life. It is today ready to become a lifestyle. A shaman who was one of the early trial wearers reported he spent a memorably bad night when he wore it for the first time, experiencing cramps and outbreaks of sweat, so strong was the detoxification he went though.
Many believe that it is up to the next generation of designers to create fashion in a more sustainable way. What is your perception?
I believe it is everybody's duty to start respecting the reality of carbon footprints that our surroundings do not care about. It is an urgent matter and needs to be taken seriously. Ayurganic is like wearing a breathing mask for your body.
What would be your advice to those of us who want to shop more responsibly?
Check the ingredients in everything you eat and drink and put onto your body. Check where the clothes are made and double check on the companies. Buy better quality and don't go to brands that don't inform consumers transparently. Also, check if they are telling the truth in forums and other things. That look to-die-for might be killing!!
In your perspective, what is Fashion media's role in advocating the global sustainability dialogue? Are they celebrating the movement that is poised to transform Fashion DNA or are they still in a time warp of 'trends' that show no mercy to the environment?
Fashion Media comes way after Social Media and the pressure of a new look, near hourly, has become a dictatorship in which nothing apart from the perfect snap counts. And the winner is Instagram!! This is a clear sign of near decadent over-feeding that has nothing to do with being —even superbly —dressed. It's about outdoing [imaginary] competitors in the race of becoming an icon, which of course is pure imagination and only exists on the web, not in real life. As for Trends, there are plenty that are there to enhance sustainability; you just need to search.
Lastly, what is the revolution you are hoping for in Fashion?
I dream of a day when clothes will only be produced if needed, possibly by 3D printers at home, bypassing industry!