While there have been a lot of worrisome events in 2020, one thing we didn’t have to worry about at all was the question, “What to wear?” Be it to work, a weekend getaway, family get together or parties, we always had to spend some brain power in finalizing the outfit of the day. But now, since everything is slowly getting back to normal, or at least we are making ourselves believe that it is, it’s time to upgrade our wardrobe to get back to the work, parties, getaway, etc.
The one good thing that came out of us getting stuck in our houses for 7 months were the changes in the environment around us, which by the way have already started reversing if you live in Delhi-NCR. There have been so many anecdotes about the positive impact of lockdown on nature around the world, which leave one awestruck. This was a clear indication that our actions directly impact the environment around us, contrary to people who believe that climate change is a hoax (yes, we are looking at you Mr. Trump). We need to start making changes to our lifestyle and make the right decisions if we want our kids to enjoy this beautiful planet, or start earning a lot of money so that we can migrate to Mars along with Elon Musk. So, before you already start shopping, we are here to put some light on the most important purchase decisions to be made while you shop for clothes.
Why give-up Fast fashion?
To start with, we need to understand how our fashion choices impact the environment. Did you know that the fashion industry is the second-largest polluter in the world, right after the oil industry? Did you know that it takes around 2,720 litres of water to manufacture a cotton t-shirt? This is almost equivalent to 3 years of drinking water for a single person. As per the National Climate Change Journal (2018), textile production is one of the most polluting industries and produces 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than the emissions of international flights and maritime shipping put together.
As responsible human beings, we need to take steps to protect mother Earth by altering our lifestyle, and we can start doing so by adopting sustainable fashion.
What is Sustainable Fashion?
Sustainable fashion is an initiative to manufacture and market clothes, shoes and accessories in the most sustainable manner possible, considering both environmental and socio-economic aspects. In practicality, it involves conscious efforts and environmentally positive measures across the product life cycle, from raw material production, design, manufacturing, transport, storage, marketing and final sale, to use, reuse, repair, remake and recycling of the existing products and its components.
Considering the environment, the objective is to reduce wastage of resources and lower the carbon footprint of the industry as a whole. This is done through the following means: (a) establishing efficient and optimal use of natural resources through organic farming; (b) Choosing renewable energy sources at every stage, and focusing on repair, remake, reuse, and recycling of the product and its components.
When we talk about the socio-economic perspective, we mean the focus should be on improving the existing working conditions for on-field workers in the factories, supply chain, and stores, by incorporating good business ethics, best practice and international codes of conduct. This means that we, as consumers, should be willing to spend that 10% extra on buying new clothes and hope that brands will pass on that money across the value chain. Not just this, but fashion companies must be instrumental in promoting a more sustainable consumption pattern, caring and washing practices, and overall moving towards slow fashion.
McKinsey report on “Style that’s sustainable: A new fast- fashion formula” in 2016, indicated that fashion was witnessing a major change in buying pattern, leading to doubling of production from 2000 to 2014, and the purchase index of an average consumer increasing by 60 percent.
Sustainable Fashion in India
A great example of sustainable fashion practices across the board are adopted by Designer Anannya Sharma, founder of Yarn Glory that sells Eri silk and Khadi handloom apparel. She mentioned in one of her interviews that their silk production follows a non-violent procedure to manufacture silk, so that the silkworm feeding on the castor leaves are not killed to spin the yarn out of the cocoon. She further mentioned that she only uses hand woven and naturally dyed apparels under her label. The use of agro-products (herbs, fruits, vegetables) in the process generates livelihood for indigent women workers.
With the Indian government banning the use of plastic bags to some extent, the never-ending discussions and tweets around global warming and campaigns against dumping garbage in the oceans, the textile industry in India is taking a cue and is shifting towards eco-friendly clothing.
This resulted in a “fast fashion cycle” wherein consumers tend to purchase clothes for every season and occasion, which forced the fashion industry towards unsustainable fashion. To sum up, the industry is producing more synthetic fibers, polyester, nylon waste water and plastic waste.
This is a clear indication of an alarming sign to switch our purchasing habits towards sustainable fashion over fast fashion. We will need to make a better choice today to live a beautiful tomorrow.
Indian Brands offering Sustainable Fashion
To make a better choice for yourself and the environment, here are few brands that we would love to recommend, when it comes to sustainable fashion:
- Mati: This brand is verified by PETA and is a contemporary women’s wear label from Udaipur, Rajasthan. Mati is owned by Neha Kabra and the brand involves in up-cycling a part of their fabrics, using naturally sourced dyes and ensuring plastic-free packaging.
2. B Label: B Label is a clothing line under Bombay Hemp Company, an Agro-based enterprise reimagining the future of Indian agriculture and sustainable living with hemp as their lens. They are known for their casual, minimalist, everyday wears made by using hemp natural fibres that are UV rays repellant. Not just this, but they also resist mildew and mold and are carbon-negative.
3. Liva: Liva has completely revolutionized the way you wear an outfit and feel good about doing a bit for nature. They are known for using Viscose Staple Fibre which is of 100% natural origin. This fibre is believed to be biodegradable with a very terrific texture and highly absorbent. Oh, yes! Liva falls under one of the clothing lines from Aditya Birla Group.
4. No Nasties: They offer varieties of vegan apparels and fall under the category of Organic Fashion label. They are known for making apparels from 1oo% organic cotton and are entirely made in India.
5. Insom: InSom is an up-cycled and organic clothing label by Sajal Jain. Hands down to their super stylish designs and just to surprise and delight you a little more, let us tell you that they claim to be 100% zero waste production. They are well known for recycling the leftovers, defected and surplus fabrics to transform them into beautiful wearable pieces.
So, these were few of our sustainable fashion recommendations for you when you think of upgrading your wardrobe the next time. And there are many more if you start looking for them.
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