Ayurganic by Lecoanet Hemant is a label that epitomizes all things environment with clothes that are sustainable and based on the principles of Ayurveda.
Lecoanet Hemant has been exclusively using Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified cotton that is hand treated following the century old Ayurvedic recipes to create garments free of synthetic chemicals and toxic irritants. The manner in which he treats the garments has been developed over the centuries by a family of Vaidyas or Ayurveda doctors. Incidentally they have been creating special fabrics in South India following confirmed Ayurveda principles. Lecoanet Hemant tells us more in this exclusive tête-à-tête.
Tell us something of the brand and the thought process behind starting it?
The pillars of couture have always been about individuality, expression of the soul and luxury. Today sustainable fashion is not too different from this definition. We at Lecoanet Hemant were always able to connect these dots and this ideology gave birth to Ayurganic, our sustainable line. Ayurganic is a stay at home collection and is produced, exclusively, using GOTS certified cotton and is hand treated following the century old Ayurvedic recipes. The garments which we call Ayurvastra from a combination of Ayur and vastra meaning health and cloth respectively in Sanskrit have been permeated with special herbs and oils making it free of synthetic chemicals and toxic irritants. Wearing these garments will help restore balance within the body and strengthen the immune system.
What is the design philosophy of Ayurganic?
Ayurganic believes in the term “unfashion”. The idea is to create silhouettes that never go out of style. The fabric is key, in Ayurganic, which is processed to give back to earth what it takes from it. The fabric helps in regeneration, be it the fishes of the Neyyar River in Kerala or the skin cells of the wearer. The fabric strengthens, provides and nourishes.
Why did you decide to have a clothing brand based on Ayurvedic principles?
Ayurveda is an ancient Indian science of 5000 years of Vedic healthcare. In a bid to promote “giving back to earth”, we stumbled upon this amazing Ayurvedic dyeing technique that presented itself as the perfect opportunity to spread the word about investing in something that helps regenerate. Like haute couture, Ayurganic products are also one of a kind and seek inspiration from the uniqueness of couture as well as mindfulness of sustainable clothing.
How often do you have new collections?
We, at Ayurganic, do not believe in collections. The idea is to cut down on our industrial carbon footprint, to be able to best serve our customer and mother earth. We work on evergreen styles that our customer always comes back to. So far, we have launched one range to which new styles have been added, recently, adhering to the increasing customer demand in styles and silhouettes.
What according to you is the current status of sustainable fashion in the country?
Sustainable fashion, no doubt, is slowly making its way into elimination of rampant consumerism. Apart from educating the customer about slow fashion, we also face added pressure when talking about Ayurveda of India, in India. The international customer loves the touch and feel of the product along with the properties it exudes, however Indian customer is still reluctant about believing in the healing properties of Ayurvedic clothing as opposed to international slow fashion concepts that Indians appreciate. We still have a long way to go. The silver lining is the relatively growing demand for sustainable products, which cannot be substituted with fast fashion.
How do you look back on the brand’s journey and what are some key milestones achieved?
The fact that the Indian consumer has started to react to sustainability differently and in a positive way is a milestone achieved. The next step is to have the same reaction for Ayurvastra. Another pivotal moment that we are very proud of is the fact that the washing of the Ayurganic fabric in the Neyyar river of Kerala has led to a steady increase in the fish population of the local water body, reversing some of the damage, which has been done to our environment.
Tell us about Ayurvastra and how you have used it in your clothes?
Ayurganic is pure Ayurvastra processed at the heart of Kerala. The herbs used in the dyeing process of the Ayurganic fabric are sourced specifically from the tribal communities of the Agastya forest. The fabric is washed in the local water body, the Neyyar River, to exude the herbal properties of the dyed cloth to the river that helps regeneration and gives back to mother earth.
How do you explain the uniqueness of the clothes to customers and is it harder to convince them for premium pricing?
Today sustainability means luxury, which does not make it that hard to justify the premium pricing. The customer understands the concept and is willing to shell out for something that’s unique, that’s organically made and something that’s not just giving back to earth but also employing a large population of workers and paying for their daily needs. What makes Ayurganic unique is the uncompromised quality, the authentic process that we follow in the making of every unit and the recyclable and reusable packaging. Apart from that, most garments in Ayurganic are gender fluid garments and have been since the start of the brand a decade ago. We do not want to restrict the consumer into wearing a said style because it’s for his/ her gender. Though it is rooted in ancient practices, Ayurganic is all about a modern philosophy that a soul is a soul no matter how it chooses to identify itself.
What are the challenges you face and how do you handle them in your business?
In a world of consumerism, believing in sustainability and reflecting it clearly in the brand message is of utmost importance. We constantly strive at sending out the right message and making the consumer aware of the distinct principles that the brand follows. For example, all Ayurganic garments are of the same colour because out of all herbs used in dyeing, a major percentage of it is Turmeric, which binds the brand with the rooted Ayurveda tradition and promotes health and wellness more than anything.
What are your future plans?
It is no secret that sustainable living is the future of wellness and lifestyle. Rooted in the authentic practice of Ayurveda, we at Ayurganic are well versed with the concept of clean living. With the sound design background and with acumen for innovation, we aim at spreading more awareness about the benefits of Ayurveda and how Ayurvastra can help strengthen immunity and give stability to the mind and body in the long run.
This story first appeared in Apparel Magazine’s Dec 2019 issue here: