Deep in the forests of Southern India, below the tiger reserves and inland from the tea fields, there’s an ancient Ayurvedic practice taking place that could revolutionize our connection to fashion.
Piles of t-shirts sit labelled ‘Insomnia’. Scraps of fabric are marked ‘Intestinal Disorders’. And pants hang ready for all manner of ‘Skin Conditions’.
The items for sale in this tiny wooden health clinic have been dyed using a traditional plant-based cloth colouring technique known locally as Ayurvastra; a Sanskirt word loosely translating to ‘healthy clothing’. Utilising the wisdom of India’s natural medicine, Ayurvastra takes a concoction of plants, barks, roots and herbs, and boils them with fabric and controlled temperatures, ready to be worn, absorbed by the skin, and ingested into the body.
Until recently, these naturally dyed clothes have been largely undiscovered, not moving far beyond their birthplace of India. The once popular Ayurvastra technique has been vanishing due to a lack of interest by the younger generations, and only a few traditional dye-houses remain.
I cofounded a new fashion house along with husband Krishna Kamala called ‘Monsoon Blooms’ and we’re hoping to keep the practice alive and make it accessible in all corners of the globe. Offering a small collection of loungewear, underwear and yoga mats, our new brand, Monsoon Blooms is crafted entirely from Fair Trade, organic cotton and dyed using the 10,000-year-old methods of Ayurvastra in our home state of Kerala.
“I was raised in a small village right near the dye house we use for Monsoon Blooms. We wanted to start a business that would keep our baby connected to his Indian heritage no matter where we went in the world. Something ethical that we could be proud of. We stumbled across Ayurvastra by matter of fate, and now feel immensely passionate about it.” – Monsoon Blooms Co-Founder, Krishna Kamala.
Paying our tailors 315 percent more than required by state law, our transparent and ethical business model is heavily detailed on the website, sharing each step of the journey from farm to front door.
The items, which are made to order to reduce waste, can be purchased in three shades of Ayurvastra dye; a hue of olive green achieved by Holy Basil Tulsi, known for improving cognitive function, memory, and depression; a pastel pink derived from sandalwood, used in Ayurveda for fever, burns and skin ailments; and a creamy colour stained by neem, praised for its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antihistamine properties.
With the raw fabric bleached naturally by the likes of aloe vera and white rose, you can be assured the Monsoon Blooms fashion pieces are 100 precent natural, free from the usual carcinogenic components of synthetic clothes dyes.
Want to find out more? Visit www.monsoonblooms.com.