Founded by a National Institute Of Fashion Technology (NIFT) alumnus, Shruti Rawal, Ewoke is a fashion brand for women to make every day wardrobes eco friendly. Ewoke was founded with the vision to empower women with the clothes they wear while making a positive impact on the environment. Fashion is the second largest polluting industry in the world. It takes approximately 2500 litres of water to make a simple white cotton shirt. That is enough water for one person to drink for three and a half years. If a simple cotton shirt can cost us so much, wonder how much the environment has paid for our wardrobes of cotton and polyester?
This striking thought is what inspired the birth of Ewoke. Having worked with designers such as Gaurav Gupta and Shriya Som, Shruti quit her job to follow her conscience. She says, “Our efforts at Ewoke are a work in progress but it will always be you and us together making an impact for this beautiful planet of ours (sic.)”
With the spread of COVID-19, Shruti noticed that the police officers around their home were without masks. The shortage of disposable medical grade masks created a need for non medical masks for non medical frontline workers. Shruti knew she wanted to help with the resources available and she had some hemp fabric available from work, but she was not sure if it was the right choice of fabric for making masks. She started cold calling doctors and medical practitioners and realized that it was an ideal fabric for non medical grade masks. It is hypoallergenic (unlikely to cause an allergic reaction,) naturally resistant to bacteria, Ultraviolet (UV) rays, and gets softer with every wash. Another important factor in making hemp masks was that it saves the planet because hemp is biodegradable and uses almost no water during production. Reusing these masks would reduce the strain on using polyester masks which would end up in landfills. The real challenge was to find a medical grade elastic and due to the unavailability amidst the lockdown, Shruti decided to make the masks with strings. This made it possible for the masks to be adjusted to any size.
Two weeks in and after a lot of prototyping, shruti had her first batch of masks ready. She knew exactly to whom she wanted to give them –the police force risking their lives to protect the citizens every day. The feedback received from the police was very promising and after incorporating some recommendations, the team is making more masks to cover all the police officers on duty in Hyderabad.
The team is currently working with hemp fabric, which is an expensive raw material in comparison to that of polypropylene used in surgical masks. They are planning to start making masks out of another sustainable fabric, Tencel (a type of cellulose fiber) which is less expensive than hemp, when purchased in much larger quantities. Shruti believes fashion has always had a purpose. Today, it is being repurposed to protect us from an infectious disease. However, people need to be aware at all times with respect to anything that they consume and the origins of what they are consuming as this would force everyone to be sustainable and ethical.