How design label House of Three promotes slow fashion in a fast world

House of Three is a Bengaluru-based fashion label that offers smart, sustainable fashion and lifestyle products. Designer duo, Sounak Sen Bharat and Anu Shyamasunder speak about the popularity of slow fashion…

Launched in 2009 by designer duo Sounak Sen Bharat and Anu Shyamasunder, House of Three has four distinct lines of couture, prêt, diffusion, menswear and a line of home decor. The label draws inspiration from various spheres of modern lifestyle, new age music, graphics, modern art and architecture. They extensively use chanderis, mulmuls, handwoven and hand-spun cotton along with other predominant Indian textiles.

The brand focuses on making sustainability a vision and help more people connect with their overall ideology of making and selling ethical products. The designer duo speak about their fashion ideology, new collection and much more…

Can you tell us about your new collection, Les Fleurs?

The Les Fleurs collection highlights the colours of spring

Les Fleurs is a collection of fresh pastel tones of blush pink, muted mint and skin tones along with a bright accent tones, made in a combination of handloom fabrics like chanderis, habutai silks and imported novelty knits. It reflects our design philosophy of a marriage of contrasts. We do this through fabric usage, silhouettes, blending structure with fluidity, transparency with opacity and creating sharp yet feminine western silhouettes using Indian handlooms. 

The collection's USP is the beautiful 3D floral embroidery and sequin work where each petal has been meticulously hand cut, hand burnt around the edges before placing them individually, one at a time to create these beautiful floral blossoms in fabric.

Why are you called House of Three?

Our design philosophy of a marriage of contrast essentially aims to find balance. Philosophically speaking, our entire purpose of life is to find balance between all nuances of life, the body, mind, and soul. 

What we create in some way must impact, enrich and touch the lives of people in small little ways, right from our clients, our weavers, tailors, co-workers - our work makes an impact on their body mind and soul. That's our motto and the roots to choosing our name.

Can you tell us how your label draws inspiration from music, graphics, modern art and architecture?

Fashion is a reflection of the times we live in. It needs to be relevant to our lifestyles, our tastes, our cultural, social, and personal choices. At the same time if clothing were to just serve only its functional purpose, it would be reduced to a mundane commodity. What we create should not just be practical but also cater to various tastes. In order to achieve this, we must turn to the arts, to historical and cultural research like an anthropologist and then work with several enriching ingredients.

Why do you focus on Indian fabrics?

We have always worn our own textiles and prints in our everyday lives till the advent of organised branded western apparel retail in the early 90s. Suddenly there was an upsurge of western work wear and casual wear. Home-grown brands as well as retail brands from across the globe opened shop in India and by mid-2000 fast fashion saw a huge upsurge. Then came online ecommerce and a sea of affordable fast fashion labels. We simply have to make a choice to change our consumption patterns. These are our own textiles that we have seen our mothers and grandmothers wear and those that we grew up with – and they have a stamp of our heritage. The whole world has imported our fabrics across human history, right from Egyptian times to the Romans to the Victorian era. Even now Indian textiles and traditional designs are a rage on international runways as well as premium mass segments. So why should we not wear our own fabrics?

Can you tell us your views on fast fashion versus slow fashion?

It is a far bigger issue than quality over quantity. Fast fashion is cheap, trendy, and affordable hence people buy ten-fold more and then replace them much quicker with newer clothes. Most are polyesters, which essentially is a cousin of plastic which in turn is adding to the carbon footprint. This mindless consumption calls for mindless production to meet demands. 

America alone produces 14.3 million tonnes of textile waste per year and only a minuscule fraction of that is recycled. Most of it isn't biodegradable which means it will all be sitting there in landfills for at least 200 years. This needs to stop. Consume less and responsibly and people will produce less and responsibly. We believe that it is best to buy one well-made garment that is produced responsibly.

How do you bring the concepts of sustainability into your collection?

Let's first understand what sustainability really means... it has various aspects to it. 

If you're creating revenue for a weaver's family consistently that brings food to their plates and their income grows year to year, then your work is sustainable. That is one definition and by engaging with various handloom clusters we do our small bit in achieving sustainability. Being environmentally conscious is another definition of fashion. 

The garment and apparel industry is the third largest contributor to environmental pollution and massive carbon footprint. If you're in the process of making slow fashion, making goods that put less pressure on resources as well as the environment renders it sustainable. We strive to find that balance not only through our in house collections but through all our associations and collaborations.

Can you give us three tips on how to dress with style and look chic?

Always remember that style comes from within and is an extension of your personality. Let your signature style shine through. Invest in great staples like a well fitted dress, a flattering pair of denims, a white shirt, a great tote that can be paired in so many interesting ways. The clothes you wear should throw the spotlight on the intelligent, fun and curious woman you are.

 

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