THE RE GENERATION
The One Piece of Clothing You Really Need Right Now
𝘐𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶’𝘷𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘭𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘪𝘯 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘴𝘸𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘴 𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘔𝘢𝘳𝘤𝘩, 𝘸𝘦’𝘳𝘦 𝘴𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘱 (𝘠𝘰𝘶’𝘳𝘦 𝘸𝘦𝘭𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦).
Say hello to our Secteur 6 kaftans. Uncannily soft and flattering, they’re made from natural fibers derived from plants and available in a full range of cuts and colors. And they’re your new uniform for Zoom, naps, grocery runs, beach afternoons, and the 37,538,384 dance parties you plan to attend the minute this pandemic ends.
Originating centuries ago in the Middle East and North Africa, the kaftan is a uniquely versatile garment that can be dressed up or down with ease. Is it a gown? A housecoat? Who cares! It’s the quintessential clothing item for a year in which comfort is essential, leaving the house is aspirational, and sweatpants are finally starting to feel… a little depressing.
The kaftan embodies Secteur 6’s ethos of #anywear—clothes you can feel good in no matter where your day takes you (or, for now, doesn’t take you).
Here’s why you need to slip on a Secteur 6 kaftan right now.
You will be seriously comfortable
Our signature fabrics are made from all-organic materials, including cotton, bamboo, rose petal silk, mushrooms, and banana peels, using all-natural dyes and no harsh chemicals.
Our kaftans have no waistbands, no cinching, no buttons. Just a beautiful, hand-crafted drape that moves with your body.
You can style it up or down
It’s as comfy as PJs or sweats, but you can style it as a full outfit. Accessorize it with your favorite jewelry, or keep it simple by pairing it with dramatic hair, makeup, and shoes.
Secteur 6 kaftans come in short and maxi versions as well as V-neck options and flatter all body types.
You can join the RE GENERATION.
When you wear a Secteur 6 kaftan, you’re supporting fashion that goes way beyond sustainable. Our brand is regenerative—meaning it’s making the world actively better by promoting regenerative farming, gender equality, and worker’s rights.
Because compassion is the new couture.
Why Is Fashion Talking About Regenerative Farming?
𝘉𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘴 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘕𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘩 𝘍𝘢𝘤𝘦, 𝘈𝘭𝘭𝘣𝘪𝘳𝘥𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘗𝘢𝘵𝘢𝘨𝘰𝘯𝘪𝘢, 𝘢𝘴 𝘸𝘦𝘭𝘭 𝘢𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘒𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘭𝘶𝘹𝘶𝘳𝘺 𝘨𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘱, 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘢𝘨𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘶𝘭𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘴𝘦 𝘥𝘢𝘺𝘴. 𝘏𝘦𝘳𝘦’𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘪𝘳𝘵.
Fashion, like politics, loves a buzzword — especially when it comes to the environment. Sustainability! Circularity! They just tripped off the tongue. And now there’s a new favorite in town: regenerative.
In January, the luxury group Kering, owner of Gucci and Saint Laurent (among other brands), was a co-founder of the Regenerative Fund for Nature, aimed at converting one million hectares (2.47 million acres) of land producing raw materials for fashion from regular farmland to regenerative agriculture in five years.
In February, the New Zealand Merino Company announced that it has joined with Allbirds, Icebreaker and Smartwool to create the first platform dedicated to regenerative wool.
The North Face and Patagonia now tout clothing made of regenerative cotton. And Secteur 6, a new Indian-American brand that uses only regenerative-grown materials like rose-petal silk, is teaming up with the streetwear brand Freak City L.A. to produce a capsule collection that includes regenerative cotton graffiti T-shirts that read: “Regenerate or Die.”
But what in the world does that even mean?
Start at the beginning : What is regenerative farming?
It’s like yoga, but for farmland. Advocates describe it as a holistic approach, working with nature, rather than trying to control it. That means foregoing various industrial agriculture practices, which could include pesticides, store-bought fertilizers, tilling or neat little rows of a single crop. Also, no weed-pulling.
Regenerative farmers love “cover crops,” weedy-looking plants like clover and hairy vetch — hairy vetch! — that help limit the real weeds and are eventually mowed and left to rot as mulch. (Ripping out cover crops or weeds by their roots disturbs micro-organisms under the surface, and the roots serve as food for the soil, anyway.)
The idea is to mix different types of plants in the same field, allowing the nourishing cover crops to spread wildly, co-mingling with, say, corn or cotton. It looks messy, but chickens, sheep and cattle get to graze on the edibles, and in return they fertilize the fields with their droppings. Bingo: healthy soil.
Wait, I thought organic farming was supposed to be the best kind of farming. What’s the difference?
Organic is about “what you are not spraying,” said Rebecca Burgess, the director of Fibershed, a nonprofit in California that supports the regenerative farming movement. You can be an organic farmer and not be regenerative — you can skip the animals, skip the cover crops, and instead haul in compost each season.
And you can be regenerative and not be organic. Bambi Semroc, the acting head for sustainable lands and waters at Conservation International, said that “organic is one way of doing this, but there are others, too,” like reducing the use of agrochemicals. Sometimes, she said, “there aren’t great alternatives.”
So what does this have to do with fashion?
As James Carville might say: It’s the origin materials, stupid. T-shirts and jeans are made of cotton grown in a field. Sweaters from wool sheared from sheep grazing on a field. Handbags crafted from the hides of cows raised on a farm. But what sort of farm?
Industrial farming is a big contributor to climate change. Nitrogen fertilizers, which conventional farmers spread liberally on their fields, “put out significant greenhouse gasses,” such as carbon dioxide, Ms. Burgess said. To reach the goals set by the Paris Climate agreement — most notably that of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 — farming must stop such pollution and reduce the carbon already in the air.
The most effective approach is a process we all learned in elementary school: photosynthesis. Cover crops naturally capture, or “sequester,” the carbon in our atmosphere and store it, via their roots, in the earth. The carbon feeds the soil, as well as helps it retain water; in turn, plants grow better, and there is less soil erosion and drought (though scientists are still unsure about exactly how much carbon can be stored in the soil).
Fashion is extremely late to the carbon sequestering party — the food industry was way ahead — but with multiple brands publicly promising to become carbon neutral, it is now firmly committed. Better late than never.
OK, I understand why brands might want the bragging rights, but what’s in it for the farmers?
It’s true that transitioning from conventional to regenerative farming is expensive and time-consuming. Some brands, like Patagonia, prefer farmers to go organic first. Land is eligible for organic certification from a variety of official bodies three years after the last application of a prohibited material like chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Then the farmers can construct their new, regenerative system.
SECTEUR 6 FOCUSES ON TRANSPARENCY AND ADOPTABLE PRACTICES
Transparency and regenerative farming are key parts of the new direct-to-consumer company Secteur 6.
Amit and Puneet Hooda have been developing the company for the last two years with Amit Hooda, based near Boulder, Col., and Puneet Hooda, working from India, trying to parlay their expertise about organics from the food industry to the fashion industry. The brothers also started Heavenly Organics, a chocolate and food company that has distribution in 13,000 doors.
That company promotes responsible agriculture. Regenerative farming is something that they learned about through their father, I.S. Hooda, an agronomist who pioneered regenerative ways to grow food. Before launching Secteur 6, the Hooda brothers worked with farmers that they know through their organic food venture. They wanted to ensure environmental practices and certifications were in order for the fashion industry, Amit Hooda said.
About 50 independently owned farmers provide the organic cotton and other materials for the collection. The Secteur 6 sportswear includes joggers, bomber jackets, caftans and dresses and is made from such organic products as cotton, bamboo and rose-petal silk.
From a manufacturing standpoint, the founders wanted to make sure that workers were treated well, and were not “working 14 hours a day, six to seven days a week,” Amit Hooda said. To try to create a more collaborative culture, workers are trained to make a variety of styles instead of focusing on one specific garment. Sixteen people are employed by Secteur 6 and receive 20 to 50 percent above the minimum wage, as well as health insurance, according to the company.
Secteur 6 is built on six pillars: transparency, regenerative farming, workers rights/advancing workers, biodegradable materials, gender equality and preserving local culture. The founders said they built a factory in New Delhi after they couldn’t find one that met their standards. By using regenerative farming, Secteur 6 uses 30 to 40 percent less water with zero pesticides.
They said they have invested $1.5 million in Secteur 6, including building the air-conditioned, spacious factory where workers are provided meals daily. Noting how the fashion industry often deprived people of basic human rights and given how hot the weather in India can be, Secteur 6 offers workers health insurance for their families, stipends for workers if they what to get upskilled and education opportunities for their children, among other benefits.
With Secteur 6’s aforementioned principles in place, the brothers said they want to hold themselves accountable to avoid the typical negative impact that fashion can have on factories and the workers. They hope that once other companies see what they are doing, those companies will want to adopt similar socially-responsible efforts or standards. “We pay them, take care of their health, nourish them. In an ethical society, whatever nutrients are taken out of the ground are put back without the use of any chemicals, or heavy water use,” Amit Hooda said.
Opposed to the term sustainability, he said given the world’s population of more than seven billion people, “We cannot sustain how we live. We have to regenerate and restore. That’s why these six principles are important today. If we just sustain our lifestyle, I don’t think there are enough resources on the planet.”
While residents in cities like New York and San Francisco may not see firsthand how the planet is dying — as evidenced by plastics in the ocean and other detrimental practices — it is more evident in places like Chile, Africa and India, they said. To try to get consumers more interested in regenerative efforts, Secteur 6’s launch campaign was “We are the ‘RE Generation.’”
“Our hope is that a lot of people will get excited that it is economically viable. It’s possible to do this. The brand has take ownership of their impact. They can’t push it out to a third party,” Amit Hooda said. “It’s like a game of telephone. A brand wants to be sustainable but then they will outsource it to somebody else, who will outsource is to come one else. Then by the time it hits the ground, there’s hardly an impact [protecting the environment]. It’s more of a marketing tool.”
A VOTE FOR REGENERATION
𝘍𝘰𝘳𝘣𝘦𝘴 𝘉𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘊𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘤𝘪𝘭 𝘮𝘦𝘮𝘣𝘦𝘳 𝘈𝘮𝘪𝘵 𝘏𝘰𝘰𝘥𝘢 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳 𝘰𝘧 𝘏𝘦𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘯𝘭𝘺 𝘖𝘳𝘨𝘢𝘯𝘪𝘤𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘧𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘊𝘌𝘖 𝘰𝘧 𝘚𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘦𝘶𝘳 6.
As I watched the first presidential debate in late September, I realized how much America has changed since I first arrived here in 2000. Back then I was a young, brown-skinned kid from India and just 20 years old, I had moved to Iowa (of all places) to attend school. It was the polar opposite of everything I’d ever known — even the cows were different.
I definitely experienced some racism, but it was most often based on ignorance. Once I took the time to discover Iowa and its people, I saw that the Midwest had a lot in common with the farming states I grew up in. In my experience, Iowans are honest, hardworking people who enjoy their day-to-day lives. Understanding this made it easier for me to feel at home in my new country and meet some of my most cherished and loyal friends to this day...
I grew up with a father who was an agronomist (or plant doctor). He and my mother raised me with regenerative values: to give back what you take of any social or environmental resource; to heal and restore harm you cause; to live in harmony with the Earth and all beings. My parents dedicated their lives to supporting and championing small farmers, always insisting that farmers and teachers were the most important pillars of any society. These are still my values.
But only in America, with its culture of big ideas and risk-taking, could I ever have dreamed of turning these values into real and lasting societal change. Here I found people willing to bet on me, believe in me and invest in me. This country gave me the resources and confidence to grow into a social entrepreneur who tries unreasonable things like building ethical supply chains in conflict areas (through my food business) and starting a fully regenerative fashion brand.
America lit a fire within me — an immigrant kid with a degree in computer science — to fulfill my life’s mission of building socially conscious businesses with regenerative values. I started my first company at 22, and I haven’t stopped building since. Not all of my businesses have worked out, but all of them only would have been possible in America.
The country I know is still full of innovative, can-do and generous people.
But this is not the country I saw when I watched the debate. So as we approach this monumental election, I would like to encourage you to cast your vote for the true transformation of our political system, our businesses, and our planet.
I invite you to meet me at a place above politics, a place where the "4 C’s”—Creativity, Communication, Collaboration and Critical Thinking—can guide us toward better solutions and greater unity for all. A place where ethical practices, inclusion, and generosity lead the way, and where it’s still possible for the next young kid with a dream to help make a better country, and world. This is a place that will make us proud, once again, to call ourselves Americans.
All businesses can help birth this transformation by giving all their employees three days off around the election. On one day, they will vote. On the other two, they’ll come to the office or meet virtually to engage in respectful and passionate conversations about what they saw in the debates—and the many problems facing our country. I don’t expect them to agree on everything—fact, I hope they don’t. But by discussing their opinions in a healthy and safe environment (with the help of a moderator), they’ll strengthen their understanding of each other, their bonds, and their engagement in our socially responsible business. They’ll also gain emotional intelligence and conflict resolution skills that will help them start dialogue with family, friends, and on social media.
I believe that in a regenerative environment, friction and impasse can birth creative new ideas and better ways forward. I also believe that neither half of this country can solve our problems without engaging the other half, and thinking critically about their ideas. Businesses can model productive ways to regenerate the American political conversation by making it more collaborative and and less zero-sum competitive. And by making sure it happens. Instead of despair and frustration, let’s choose hope, love, and creativity. It’s time to regenerate this country.
Our work starts now. Please join Secteur 6 by dedicating 3 days for political regeneration. November 3 is only the beginning.