Retail therapy is something that we are all guilty of aren’t we wearing beautiful clothes, accessories and keeping up with the ongoing trends well if it makes you happy then why not but sometimes we don’t realize the price of it .Shopping from a fast fashion brand is considerably cheaper you get to wear trendy clothes at an affordable rate but have you ever thought of what goes behind producing these garments………not really right .The environmental damage done to this earth by fast-fashion and its future consequence is what fashion magazines will never talk about . If we keep on approaching the fast fashion lifestyle there will be an end to the resources and the repercussions of it will be dealt by the generation of today and tomorrow well then it’s time to detox and adopt a sustainable lifestyle.
SCENARIO OF SUSTAINABILITY IN INDIA
Well the concept of sustainability is not at all new to the Indian market it started right with the industrial revolution in the 18th and 19th century .Sustainable or ethical clothing has started making its mark in the Indian market. From paying workers fairly, to use of natural fabrics and dyes, brands are embracing this new shift in the world of the clothing industry. This concept is not new to the land of Mahatma Gandhi! Most of our leaders and thinkers have propagated the use of Swadeshi, organically grown fabrics for making attires. Gone are the days when organic fashion was synonymous, to Old school boring, clothes. Now new designers are coming up with really cool collections which are made from fabrics such as Khadi and Hemp
HOW ARE INDIAN’S ADAPTING TO SUSTAINABILITY AND THE FUTURE OF ITS INDUSTRY IN INDIA
With more and more Indians becoming aware of the environmental consequences of fast-fashion, they are making the necessary shift. Today, eco-friendly clothing is made without any compromise on quality. They are stylish, well-designed, durable and not to mention affordable.
One of the main reasons behind this sudden surge of eco-friendly product buyers is because of the spurt of awareness. More and more top brands are stepping forward to promote ethically sourced clothing because the buyers are now raising questions. They are becoming aware. Many brands are also promoting recycling and customization of garments which is a huge step in the right direction.
Indians have realized that they can contribute to saving the planet while looking good at the same time. Consumers have stopped hoarding on trendy garments one after another. The strategy here is to go green when it comes to the manufacturing, sale, and recycling of clothes. The shift has also come in producing sustainable clothing, but also the consumption of it.
People are trying to limit their consumption as opposed to mindlessly purchasing a ton of clothes. Most of the Indian buyers who have become eco-friendly in their ways are trying to cut down on the number of clothes they buy, and invest in ethical fashion, which is produced using the methods of fair trade.
Sustainable or environment-friendly clothing has grown to become a booming industry in India because environmentalist and social workers have made people aware of the malpractices which are still rampant in the clothing industry. Owing to speedy production and high demand for clothes, the textile industry has left many damaging scars on the environment, hence it is the duty of today’s consumer to make sure that they are fully aware from where their garments are being sourced.
WHAT INDIANS CAN TEACH THE WORLD ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY
India is a country full of diversity and contradictions. Sustainability has always been a core component of Indian culture. Its philosophy and values have underscored a sustainable way of life.
For example, the yogic principle of a parigraha, which is a virtue of being non-attached to materialistic possessions, keeping only what is necessary at a certain stage of life. Humans and nature share a harmonious relationship, which goes as far as a reverence for various flora and fauna. This has aided biodiversity conservation efforts.
A great example is of the Bishnoi community in the Jodhpur region, Rajasthan, for whom the protection of wildlife is part of their faith. Yoga and Ayurveda are perhaps among the most well-known ways of holistic Indian living.
Sustainable and environmentally friendly practices and psyches still continue to be part of the lifestyle and culture. India has both a culture of hoarding (in case something might come in useful), and thriftiness (re-use and hand-me-downs). It is not an uncommon sight in an Indian household to witness an old cloth being used as a duster.
Things which have absolutely no value, such as old newspapers and books, or utensils, can be easily sold off to scrap dealers to be re-used or re-cycled. Bucket baths, sun- drying clothes, and hand-washing dishes are other widespread, sustainable practices. Culturally, there is also an aversion to wasting food.
Rural communities, which constituted about 70% of the Indian population as of 2011, live close to nature and continue to live a simple and frugal lifestyle.
ARE INDIANS REALLY ADAPTING TO THE SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE
Greendex Index by country
Image: National Geographic/GlobeScan Consumer Greendex
Greendex is an international report on sustainable living. The study compiled by National Geographic and Globe scan measures the way consumers are responding to environmental concerns. The scores measure housing, transport, food and goods. India occupies a top spot on this index among 18 contenders, which also include China and the US. In particular, India received high scores in housing, transportation and food choices.
These results show that Indian consumers are most conscious about their environmental footprint and are making the most sustainable choices.
However, as the economy develops and grows further, socio-economic trends are shifting. The country’s achievements so far in no way negate the environmental concerns it still faces.
India and the world have a long and challenging way to go in dealing with environmental problems, and learning to live together in sustainable communities. We need to realize that development is more than economic, and sustainable development is a collective responsibility.
India does seem to have taken a lead. As a global family and village, we should come together to learn from each other, and good lessons can be drawn and implemented from both ancient wisdom, and scientific fact.
IS SUSTAINABLE FASHION REALLY EXPENSIVE?
We get it for a lot of people, one look at the price tag on an item of sustainable clothing is enough to turn you off for good, but we are here to tell you that it shouldn’t. There are very good reasons why those little numbers seem an awful lot bigger than they do at the chain retailers down the road, and why we all, as conscious consumers, should push through the temporary pain for the long term gain.
By now we all know that the negative impacts of fast fashion reach far and wide, and leave us cringing from the death of thousands of garment workers when shoddy factories collapse, to the poisoning of water systems when producing chemically-intensive cheap synthetic fabrics, to the unspeakable treatment of animals like machines instead of thinking, feeling beings. Needless to say, fast fashion is not the answer.
Many myths flourish regarding sustainably designed apparels and accessories, the first being that they are way too expensive. Eco clothing and accessories are of superior quality, but they are not mass produced. When designers attempt to come up with a product that will benefit the environment and the living beings, the cost of organic and ecofriendly raw materials prove to be expensive.
Raw materials used in making eco clothing are generally planted and harvested in one place. Then it is sent to a factory for processing it and later is spun into yarn.
This yarn is transported to a factory and is woven into fabric, which is then sent to a dye mill for coloring. Later the fabric is sent to a manufacturer, who with a designer drafts the patterns for the clothing, cuts and sews the garments.
The final product is then packed and is available at the shops for consumers. At every state, it involves workforce, who are paid for their labour.
WHERE CAN YOU BUY SUSTAINABLE FASHION AND TOP INDIAN BRANDS INTO SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS
A brand that weaves fabric with the intent to tell a story, Ka-Sha has been working towards a holistic integration of sustainability right from the materials, designing, and production to distribution. The Pune-based brand’s Heart to Haat initiative aims at zero waste generation, while also recycling and up-cycling materials to create practical products. All their pieces are created with natural fabric and dyes by skilled artisans.
Instagram profile: https://www.ogaan.com/designers/ka-sha
With holistic sustainability in mind, Doodlage sources its raw material from factory waste and creates pieces with fair wage units or ethical spaces. They patch together tiny scraps of fabric to create texture and recycle for stationery. The products are packed in 100% biodegradable plastics and the final layer of the packaging is reusable fabric totes made from any leftovers. Currently working on launching a buy-back program, Doodlage offers a minimalist-chic vibe to their designs and have organically curated a conscious audience since their inception.
Instagram profile: https://www.doodlage.in/
3. Pero by Aneeth Arora
Pero, the label means ‘To Wear’ in Marwari is an Indian label started by designer Aneeth Arora. The label is for the bohemian, free and traveller soul who loves everything organic. The designer uses organic cotton and intricate embroidery techniques that define the aesthetic of Pero. They believe in creating garments with love and hence, the ‘handmade with love’ tagline! Even their workplace is green and rather eco-friendly
FAST FASHION ECONOMY IS CHANGING
H&M has pledged to become 100% ‘climate positive’ by 2040 by using renewable energy and increasing energy efficiency in all its operations. This includes a commitment to making the first two tiers of its supply chain climate neutral by 2030. It has also pledged to use 100% recycled or sustainable materials by 2030. It’s great that H&M is emphasising sustainability, but these are only targets, and 2030 is still some time away.
H&M is taking a few positive steps to reduce their environmental impact, yet there is room for improvement. H&M is a member of the Better Cotton Initiative, offers a recycling program where you can return clothes from any brand in-store, and as we’ve seen, it has set some positive targets in its Sustainability Report. It uses renewable energy for part of its supply chain and aims to eliminate hazardous chemicals and solvent-based glues in the manufacturing of its products by 2020. The brand was among the first to stock ‘Conscious’ sustainable fashion collection in its stores.
On the other hand, the majority of the materials it uses are not eco-friendly. The brand still operates under an unsustainable, fast-fashion model.
What You Can Do To Reduce Fashion Waste
Host a Clothing Swap: Get your neighbors, coworkers, and friends to bring over clothes they’re no longer interested in wearing and do a “swap.” This helps extends the lifecycle of the clothing (and it’s fun).
Shop Smart: When you do go shopping, start at consignment and thrift stores before buying new. Find ethical and sustainable brands to support new wardrobes.
Tailor to Your Style: Focus less on what’s trending or what’s on discount. Take the time to figure out your own personal style and find clothes you’ll love to wear again and again.
Rent, Reuse, Recycle: More and more brands are moving to clothing subscriptions so you can rent new clothes rather than purchase. This allows you to change up your style without adding to the landfill.
Quality over Quantity: Downsize your wardrobe and be sure to donate or sell the items you no longer need! Having a minimalist closet can help you focus on buying less and choosing well-made and longer-lasting clothes.
At the end I would like to say is that sustainability is apart of our “rise” philosphy you cannot rise if you take more from the community than you put back.
Sustainability is no longer about doing less harm .It’s about doing more good.
Article written by :Ms Bhavika Gulrajani. Bsc in Textiles and Apparel Designing, Sir Vithaldas Thackersey College of Home Science .Textile value chain intern email : [email protected]