Designers And Fashion Industry Insiders Tell You How To Be More Sustainable In 2020. Add It To Your Resolutions
“Can you imagine that the first plastic ever made is still there on the surface of the earth! Overconsumption, especially in fashion has led to our industry being one of the most polluting industries of all.”- quips ace designer Amit Aggarwal when we picked his brain about sustainability in fashion. One of the most buzzing topics of conversation has become how to be more mindful of our buying habits in the world and I personally am looking at making big changes as part of my New Years’ resolution.
My relationship with a greener form of fashion started as a young child. Growing up in a family with limited means, I spent my childhood on hand-me-downs from my sister, dresses made out of wholesale fabrics (which my mom stitched herself) and never throwing away a garment before it’s time was done. I hated it then and I was thrilled when I discovered street and online shopping as a teen. Now since I started assessing my carbon footprint on the environment I have moonwalked back to old habits of buying local, good quality material and even making my own clothes (which I learned as a fashion student).
But that’s just me. What if you don’t have the time to pay attention to your fashion habits or even improve upon them? Well, there is an alternative for that as well and we spoke to a few big players in the sustainable sphere in the Indian fashion scene who know how to do it best.
The master of creating shapes with fabric, Amit Aggarwal confessed “I think it’s very important for one to understand what sustainability means in this day and age. Unfamiliarity is a major reason why many people continue indulging in practices that have an adverse effect on the health of our planet. There are multiple ways we can control our carbon footprint that depends directly on our consumption patterns. I think all of us in the upcoming year must take time to understand the activities that are taking a toll on nature’s well being.”
According to the designer, a few simple changes in one’s daily habits can make a big difference.
- A tally of our everyday needs in terms of the products we buy is a great way to rethink what we need and what we can do without. As for clothes, one must be mindful and indulge in pieces that are going to be worn for a good long duration. “I remember reading something Bandana Tiwari had mentioned in one of her interviews, she said it helps when we buy outfits that have a story. That will ensure it stays with us for long”, confessed Amit.
“I also think it is crucial to know how the garment has been produced. We all must reduce our purchases and I can promise it is going to be a lifestyle most people will fall in love with”, explained Aggarwal.
- “Another thing that I’m a firm believer in is increasing the life span of a product, for which they must be used and treated with utmost care. How clothes are worn and stored are very important factors. This is major advice especially for folks who are into shopping a lot. One can reduce the effects of mindless shopping simply by ensuring that these clothes remain in our wardrobes for a long duration.
- Thirdly, one must responsibly dispose of or recycle and upcycle materials so that they either decompose or remain in use. This is one of the most important aspects of the product cycle and has even been explored by us at Amit Aggarwal. In fact, donating garments is another way one can reduce waste. I feel the future is where big fashion brands will expand their current business through the retail of refurbished clothing”, elaborated Amit.
The good people over at Global Desi have been blessing us with pretty kurtis for years now. For them, one’s ideologies matter. “The attitude of ‘what’s the point, I can’t make a difference on my own’ or ‘oh it isn’t THAT bad’ has evolved to a ‘how can I actually make a difference?’. Let’s cut through the confusion to discuss how we can realistically change our lives to live a more sustainable 2020”.
For them, the mantra of being sustainable is very simple, “Switch to reusable in clothing and beauty. For instance, makeup wipes/cotton pads…In most cases a flannel would do the same job of these non-environmentally friendly choices. However, those looking after their delicate eye areas may instead prefer to purchase some reusable cotton pads to take off their eye makeup. Simply use once with your makeup remover and stick it in the wash. Say yes to conscious fashion: Not everything you wear needs to be a hand-me-down, buying clothing made from sustainable fibre or trading a few hauls at your favourite shops for a couple of second-hand pieces is a positive lifestyle change the earth will thank you for”, elaborated the brand and we agree!
Label AND’s ideas about sustainability are as straightforward and structured as their designs. “We believe that sustainability starts and ends with basic human needs. We, as living beings simply need food, clothing and shelter for survival. Here are a few easy ways to make our lifestyle in 2020 more sustainable, focusing on our core needs. Shop responsibly from ecologically responsible brands. A lot of garments today are made of recycled polyester, viscose cotton or of pulp waste. Swapping your pre-loved clothes with someone else’s is a great way to keep revamping your wardrobe. Shop from brands that are sustainable as an organization: They believe in conserving water and electricity. Avoid plastic interior décor, use smart, modern & minimalistic articles to decorate your home sweet home!”, explains the label. Smart!
For label Antar-Agni, sustainability is sewn into its clothes that look like a fluid vision and feel like heaven. Founder and designer Ujjawal Dubey believes, “To make 2020 a more sustainable year, one of the most important (and also the basic) points to remember is to start consuming less. It’s imminent that we adopt slow fashion as a lifestyle and forego the need to buy constantly. Buying less and consuming less is one of the first steps (and crucial steps) to embark on a sustainable journey. Secondly, it’s time to be aware and spread awareness; ask questions about the products you buy (fashion or otherwise), the brand principles and how they are adopting sustainability in their many processes. Thirdly go local; think handmade products using natural materials/dyes/processes etc. thereby decreasing the carbon footprint. Last but certainly not the least, invest in pieces that are versatile, timeless, etc. and reuse and repeat whenever and wherever possible”. It’s that easy!
For Ruchi Salley, MD-Melissa India, sustainability should be the norm and not just an approach. “I would say that in the first place, ‘Being Sustainable’ should be the 2020 resolution for every individual and company. It’s on all of us. In your own little way, both products and consumers need to be a little thoughtful and do simple basics to balance supply-demand for a promising tomorrow”.
According to Ruchi, “The efforts for being sustainable are as much on the consumer as it’s on the retailer. How? The right demand for sustainable products would create a required supply translating tangible benefits, suitable balance, right push, motivation for the companies, enabling them to increase their production capacities. An imbalance in demand-supply comes when consumers are not thoughtful in their buying patterns”.
There is a simple solution to balancing the scale of ‘fast fashion’ obsession. “Be a little more conscious of your buying and living behaviour. Look for more recyclable materials, add recyclable plastic to your stylish accessories than grocery bags, use optimum levels of paper to save trees – don’t print unnecessarily, balance your diet with more vegetarian, save animals and reduce your carbon footprint. Reuse water, buy products that consume less water in production, try to use renewable energy for running water heaters or small machines in your house, put plastic to right use, go into production details before buying the product and say no to child labour both at home and work. After all, what’s the fun of doing all if we are not conscious of future generations and put them to labour than educating them? If possible, go little into details to buy products that do not use child labour for the production process.
Salley further elaborated, “I personally follow – recycle, rebuild and reuse; in whatever way, I can. Another crucial step for the companies/brands is to reassess their ideologies system quickly and invest in the protocols of proper recycling. For those who have invested, being vocal about their contribution to sustainability would be a great step to educate consumers. Mentioning simple things of being recyclable, their contribution to saving the resources, water, and electricity at their online and offline stores, would bring a difference. It’s like reading an ingredient before consuming it. Nothing changes overnight, a small step towards sustainability would bring a big change”,
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We are taking a pledge to be more mindful of our consumption come 2020, do you?