Niha Elety: The Connection Between Culture and Sustainability


In pursuit of a more sustainable future, Niha Elety brings the importance of cultural heritage in addressing fast fashion and inclusivity. Through an exclusive interview, we had the opportunity to hear her background and perspective as an Asian American advocate for sustainability.

Niha Elety is a sustainable fashion advocate, blogger, and designer who includes her art and heritage in bringing awareness to cultural sustainability. Amassing more than 30,000 followers on Instagram and 7,000 followers on Tiktok, Niha uses her platforms to bring inclusivity to the environmental movement and create discussions on the perspectives and experiences of BIPOC individuals.

Living half her life in India and half in the United States, Niha saw a difference in culture and sustainability practices between the two countries. While living in India, her perspective of sustainable fashion was just “fashion” since the production of textiles is already inherently sustainable.

Sustainable practices have been a part of the lifestyle and culture in India, a country known for its rich culture in traditions and intricate designs on local weaves and earth-friendly fabrics like jute, cotton, and linen that are natural to the region and the products of regenerative agriculture. The garment production factors in ecology as a key driver as weavers wove these fibers on a machine or handloom, and artisans dye, print, and embroider them. Niha defined their system as slow and transparent fashion, an ideal approach for restorative justice on moving towards localized systems, restoring native fiber farming practices and use of garments, expanding the aesthetic trends, and reckoning the value of clothing.

                                                                    Photo Courtesy: Elét

“Understanding that our ties with land and labor are cut and we need to cultivate those relationships again by exposing ourselves to the process of creating clothing. Finally incorporating cultural practices like handloom weaving, natural dying, block printing, regional weaves and restoring their value over fast fashion is so important in creating cultural inclusivity,” was her answer for the question on what changes she hopes to see regarding sustainability and cultural inclusivity.

Niha’s passion and beliefs in the environment, arts, and fashion have inspired her to create her fashion line. She founded and co-created the Tega Collective brand by incorporating heritage and sustainability into its products and designs. The brand aims to support indigenous textiles and crafts by collaborating with South India’s craft communities. It highlights the traditional colors, patterns, and natural symbols of the Adivasi communities, and, in line with Niha’s advocacy, Tega is also committed to honoring the Earth and its people.

                                                          Photo Courtesy: Tega Collective

She described fashion as a vehicle for not only self-expression but a relationship with her culture as well. Through her brand and advocacy, she shares her culture’s traditional practices and values and promotes their role in climate justice. One of the goals is to create a safe space for communities to celebrate their culture and for consumers to experience the clothes of artisans.

With all this, Niha expresses how sustainable fashion is a powerful lens to explore the problems in our systems. She further explains that this goes deeper than environmentally friendly fabrics and fair wages.

“We need to focus the conversation around its effects on black and brown bodies, who hold power, creating localized economies, thinking of fashion as a product of agriculture, focusing on regenerative agriculture, embracing colorful and cultural designs and reviving/centering indigenous craft and knowledge as the means to move forward [in addressing systemic problems].”

Advocating for the protection of people and the planet, Niha addresses the intersectional environmentalism of BIPOC communities. With the Asian diaspora and home countries finding their way back to ancestral knowledge and sustainability practices, many spaces still favor pushing for point solutions without considering holistic solutions incorporating people, animals, and the environment.

“Asian Americans are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis and their motherlands have been facing disastrous effects for a while now in the form of outsourcing, fast fashion, waste colonialism, pollution and natural disasters,” was Niha’s thoughts on the challenges that Asian Americans face in advocating for climate justice as they are rarely given a chance to lead the solutions on representation for diversity.



Her goal is to bring inclusiveness and a variety of perspectives from BIPOC creators to the environmental movement. Her advice to organizations looking to promote sustainability is to include a variety of cultural viewpoints in their sustainability journey, such as genuine organizational promises for the people and the planet.

For individuals, it is essential to remember that sustainability is not something to be bought but how it can be integrated into your lifestyle. To make sustainable options the default option, as consumers, supporting ethical and sustainable fashion brands that address cultural and environmental preservation is essential. With advocates like Niha Elety, contributing to a sustainable and inclusive future is possible where the fashion industry would recognize cultural heritage values and social responsibility.

Know more about Niha Elety’s advocacy through her website and social media.

Social Media: @nihaelety

Photo Courtesy:

Authored by: Marie Christine Etpison

Marie Christine Etpison is a Spring Intern at PS Media Enterprise under the Business Administration Department of OBRAA. She is a fourth-year marketing management student at the University of Santo Tomas who is passionate and driven about her advocacy of supporting representation and equity.



A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
based in California that advocates
social inclusion of minorities with
Asian heritage though cultural awareness.


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item Niha Elety: The Connection Between Culture and Sustainability
Niha Elety: The Connection Between Culture and Sustainability
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