OFF THE GRID : Balancing contrasts

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At Stretchery we are constantly inspired by ‘you’. The ways in which you wear our clothes and what you tell us through that, find a way into our design process. Also, our interest in listening to you is not limited to just what you wear, but to how you feel, think and evolve. As an organic cotton wear brand while we stand for sustainability, we also understand the challenge of balancing conscious living in a fast-paced world. And we know that this is something ‘you’ do all the time.

Our all-new collection, Off the Grid, is inspired by this fine balance we all strive to achieve.

We understand that we live in a time of increasingly stark contrasts where we can access the world at the click of a button; See places we have never been to in three dimensions, buy things we have not touched, and read food menus in cafes across the planet; Yet, now more than ever we crave the simple joys of tangible physical experiences and long for meaningful acquaintances .

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While living and functioning in what often seems like a diverse but linear environment that offers us a multitude of options, we try to live more in tune with our mind and body. And it is this dichotomy that our all-new collection, Off the Grid represents and celebrates.

Inspired by every individual’s effort to break free and live a life that is more active, sustainable and self-reliant, this collection features solid colours ranging from basic blacks to berry and plum and from dove grey to moody blues. Combining quirky details and stylised prints, this range of activewear is both versatile and multifunctional. The angular isometric grids in the print pattern have embedded details of a mechanical grid and human figures in workout-activities. The collection comprises of apparel for both men & women with an attempt to bring a harmonious balance between design and function. The idea of many possibilities, of more but with less.

Given that our active wearers remain central to our design process, when we see you multi-purpose the same garment for a plethora of activities, we try and build that into our design. The designs with peek-a-boo cut-outs offer the wearer the ability to customise the garment by changing up what you combine it with. Not only that, they add to the sensuality of the garment, making it feminine and body defining without being literal.

 

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We believe that attention to intangible details go a long way in creating interest and define our vision of ‘less is more’.

So, go ahead and browse our all new range created with immense effort energy and dedication and tell us how and where you would wear it. And we hope that as you balance the paradoxes of living well but living consciously you find the comfort and flexibility that can make all the difference to your journey and the choices on the way.

 

 

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Sustainability and You (II) A beginners guide to living with awareness

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After our last post on why living sustain-ably is as good for you as it is for the planet, we felt like we should follow it up with a little note on simple ways to make sustainability a part of your daily life. Contrary to popular perception being sustainable is not about giving up on the things we love, it is about being aware of what is it that we love and how we can have healthier and more ecologically friendly versions of the same things. So here goes our piece on how living sustain-ably can be both fun and surprisingly easier than imagined.

Go back to the old days…and old ways
If you truly believe that people from your parents and grandparent’s generation were healthier, take a leaf out of their lifestyles. Add turmeric to your food instead of taking it in a capsule. Instead of buying expensive skin care products make your own from active ingredients in the kitchen. Ditch colas and fizzies for naturally cooling drinks like tender coconut water and aam panna in the summer and warm bowls of soup and lentils in the winter.
Living in tune with the seasons and making small adjustments to what you eat and drink helps us live with a greater sense of connect our environment and ultimately our bodies. What’s more, this is fun too. With a little bit of planning and the acquisition of simple skills like making preserves out of summer fruits and pickles out of winter vegetables, we can reduce our consumption of preservative laden packaged food and eat both healthier and lighter. Too busy to do this? Locate the closest organic store and browse their shelves or visit a farmer’s market or an artisanal fair and buy produce made by small businesses. Carry your own cloth bags when you go. Once you start thinking along these lines you will find ways to include it in your daily lives seamlessly.

Learn where it comes from and where it goes when you are done with it

So few us do know where the things we buy and consume, come from. But do you know where they land up in? Start by reading labels on things you are buying. Buying clothes? Opt for ethically sourced natural fibre. As an organic clothing label, we understand the impact of fast fashion on our wallets, bodies and the environment. Educate yourself. We have a host of blogs for you to know more. There are a host of videos online on the price of fast fashion and unaware consumerism. It is easier than ever today to make conscious choices in our consumption. Unlike what is commonly believed, it is not significantly more expensive and in the long run is probably more cost effective. Just like reading the label before buying spare a thought for what happens to products before trashing them. Donate, recycle and upcycle things instead of blindly tossing them into a bin. If you must

trash them, separate your trash. Kitchen waste can be put to organic manure for your garden by composting them in your own balcony.
Clothes, toys, books and linen can be given away in good condition to charities and NGOs. The longer you can keep products you have used – away from a landfill, the smaller you can keep your consumption footprint.

Shopping? – go local

Shop as locally as possible. Buy vegetables that are grown around a 100 km radius of where you live or within your state. Plan menus based on what is fresh and seasonal. Doing this not only helps you think more innovatively but makes you more aware of what you are eating making this an exercise for your brain as well as your body. Produce grown locally is low on carbon footprint with lesser fuel being consumed to transport it from the farm to your kitchen. Seasonal or organic vegetables mean lesser preservatives and local vegetables mean lesser packaging. The same goes for meat and grains. Buy that local fish instead of something flown across a continent or ocean. Try indigenous varieties of millet and grains. If you eat fast food or packaged food, try cutting back on one weekend a month for starters and see how you feel.

Wellness that is inclusive

While buying beauty and wellness products, remember we can be only as healthy as that of our immediate environment. The same goes for apparel, cosmetics or skincare. Buy, support, use and recommend products that are ethical and sustainable. Small steps towards educating yourself about brands that are cruelty free will open the doors to a whole plethora of brands that care for you as well as the planet. Stretchery for example not only promotes ethical sourcing but is also transparent about its process and the people it engages with. Very few indian brands can boast of that, but we hope there are many to come.

When it comes to beauty and wellness, no matter what promises are made on ads and labels, anything that is authentic and beneficial will take longer and works best when used consistently and with awareness. We are lucky to be living in a country with a tremendous bounty of natural herbs and ingredients that work like miracles for our skin & hair. Like rare saffron oil for skin or gooseberry for hair. All locally available. Some of them from Kama Ayurveda, Kottakal Arya vaidya sala, Juicy chemistry, Soul tree.

Get acquainted with brands that practice fair trade, give fair wages and work with local communities . The sense of satisfaction would be immense.

Travel responsibly

Extend the idea of living sustain-ably to travel too. Let’s not generate waste even when we travel. Pause a minute and consider the amount of plastic that you might inadvertently contribute to a place in the hills or you might see when you return to your

favorite beach. Setting out on a walk on your holiday, consider carrying a bag and gathering your own or any trash that you might see on your trail. Don’t leave behind tell tale signs of a picnic lunch or bottles after a night spent around a campfire. Skip the supermarkets and chainstores and support local craft, trade and artisans while traveling.

Eco Tourism

What’s more, eco-tourism is not just another fancy word but surely a trend to look out for. India has several heritage properties & national parks with incredibly organized safari’s and itineraries. Do take advantage of those. Did you know, many are opting for trips with health and fitness as an active part of their schedule, which are locally available. Yoga, hikes, rafting and locally exclusive sports are a fun way to unwind, over an extravagant one.

Sustainability might sound like a big word, but can often be brought down to something as simple as thinking about what we put out in our air, water, spaces in the process of living our lives. Understanding our consumption better helps us live with a greater degree of awareness. And the beginning to living sustainably can be something as small as choosing what we wear or what we gift – Perhaps will go a long way in defining our choices & our-selves.

 

Sustainability and You

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From keeping our showers shorter to refusing a plastic straw, the case for sustainability has become a stronger voice over time. Often perceived as something we should do in the interest of the greater good, not enough is said about how a sustainable approach to daily living actually benefits us first.

We are a consumption crazed culture, but it won’t be long before those choices come to question us, up close .
So here we bring you the first of two posts on why sustainability is good for both, the planet and YOU!

Ever wondered what does the word even mean?

Sustain means to strengthen or support.
To cause or allow something to continue for a period of time. To keep alive!
But one of our favourite definitions of the word sustainable, by far, is the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising on the ability to meet the needs of the future.

Applying this simple understanding to our lives will lead to the idea that to live the life we want to, tomorrow, we need to make more conscious choices today! Carefully considered decisions about what we eat and a gentle rigour manifests us into stronger, fitter and healthier versions of ourselves. Now, If we extend that thought just a little outside of ourselves, it is but logical that we can only be as healthy as the air ,water and spaces around us.

A daily approach to sustainability involves feeling a deeper connect to our environments. Hard as this might be to practice in the daily rush of every day lives, it is possible to remember that just like our bodies and minds, we cannot introduce into our environment ,things that will in a few months turn toxic.

How to ? – Take stock

1. Watch what you discard every day as waste. Ever notice how much waste we generate when we have a party or order food in, on a weekend or after a round of shopping?

2. Pay attention to the composition of the things you consume. Start reading labels and find out what goes into the things you buy, the food you eat, the clothes you wear.

3. Observe your consumption patterns. Do you buy things for the long term focusing on quality and longevity or for the short term gratifications? How much do you recycle, reuse and repair ? And why not?

Just doing any or all of these three things will create a quantum shift in how you think & your approach to daily living.

How will it help?

Firstly, it will save you a tonne of money. We promise!
Once we become aware of what goes into the things we use, we automatically become wiser about our choices. Fast food and fast fashion are some of the biggest contributors to trash generated from packaging and deliberately short product lives. Cutting back on both of these will save you a lot of money, a lot of trash & a lot more of peace of mind.

It will make you smarter, practical and broaden your skills. Trust us!

Applying yourself to recycling, up-cycling and reusing things is a compelling way to improve your DIY skills, innovative thinking and living with greater engagement to your immediate environment.

What’s more, you’ll be healthier too!

Walking, cycling and using your muscles instead of your car will make you healthier. Eating more consciously will just add to that already positive looking picture.

Return to a slower pace of life.
One of the best things conscious living cultivates, is a way of life that we often think about nostalgically but don’t live anymore. So, if you yearn for a slower pace of life, make small changes and they will significantly contribute to living more in tune with your body and your habitat.

Get started

1. Separate your waste. Don’t wait for it to become mandatory in your apartment or city. Use wet waste as manure for your plants.

2. Consciously opt for ecological, sustainable and earth friendly brands in all that you buy and consume.

3. Broaden your horizons. Read, follow and support individuals and resources that practice ecologically friendly lifestyles and teach you how to do the same.

Stay tuned for our next post on why sustainability should over time become our default way of thinking and living – considering it has always been part of our culture. Remember, how our baby clothes were given to younger cousins and bournvita bottles were used as masala dabbas. More on that, in our next post. Until then, stay green!