- Gokul S Kumar & Sanju S
The fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters of landfills and water bodies. The microplastic shredding from our nylon and polyester waste is among the largest found in oceans and water bodies. According to WWF, we eat a credit card size plastic every week. The fashion industry also causes large scale deforestation for the need of growing cotton. The fast-changing trends are also leading to large sums of water being used to produce and dye fabric.
All of us want the latest fits and constantly tries to keep up with the latest trends in fashion. However, something that we can do while staying on top of our fashion game is to promote sustainable fashion. This will go a long way in protecting the planet and helps spread awareness. A large tribe of people following the ideology of sustainability is what the genऋ tribe is all about. The Genऋ tribe members make sure to reduce not to cause harm to the planet in the name of fashion. Here are some of the best practices we can adopt and still be cool
Purchasing locally: It's important to know where the fabric came from. As we buy fabric that has travelled several km it would lead to large scale emissions. The best way to do this is to purchase locally or identify the roots of fabric you purchase. By purchasing locally you are also saving traditional textile and thus supporting local communities. Along with that, we will be able to ensure that these businesses are supported and will continue to run.
Donating old clothes: All of us have clothes which are stuck in the back of our wardrobes which has been worn once or maybe never at all.
What can we possibly gain from holding on to such pieces? A yearly evaluation of our wardrobe is a very good place to start to ensure that we become more environmentally friendly. Such an evaluation will help us differentiate between what we wear and what never sees the light the of day.
These clothes may not be your style but another person would love to own such a piece of clothing. Hence, donation not only helps us become more sustainable but it can help bring a smile to another person’s face. You could also visit swap shops to exchange old ones or figure out thrift stores where you could buy preowned fabric. At Bhava, we recycle pre-owned fabric in carry bags, which are made by women from Vemaband wetland region in Alappuzha, Kerala.
Wash Less: At first glance, this does sound really stupid. However, in reality, washing clothes is what causes lots of damage to the environment. It uses up a lot of energy and water in the process. The problem is when people throw in a single piece of clothing in the place of a full load. We can simply hold those garments until a whole batch is ready.
Another way of reducing the usage of our washing machines can be the utilization of fabric freshener sprays to keep our garments fresh for our next use. Avoiding chemical detergents can be a great way of avoiding water pollution.
Learn more about the brand: Understanding the brands work ethics and CSR policy is very important while purchasing a product of theirs. Some companies may be in the practice of overutilizing natural resources for mass production. Such products are dangerous to our environment and must be boycotted to ensure that these brands change their methods of production. Try and avoid fashion brands which exploit the labour force in developing countries. Several big brands have their production houses in developing nation and there has been several cases of underpayment, harassment, poor work atmosphere and so on.
Get crafty: Do you own something you’re not too keen on wearing? An easy fix to such a problem is to change the cloth you own. Let your creative juices flow and repurpose the piece of clothing. Lots of people have made new clothing which they adore by merging two different garments together. The internet can be your new best friend in this scenario is you can find different methods of repurposing a cloth. Such an idea can help you create new styles using the threads you own.
Avoid Purchasing seasonal clothing: Every year we see major promotional campaigns for seasonal clothing. This may help us stay on top of the fashion trends but it comes at the cost of buying un-sustainable clothing. Buying these clothes means that we will only be wearing these for a short period of time. The sustainable way would be to buy multi-seasonal clothes which we can wear throughout the year. This will reduce the production of clothes in large quantities.
Care for your clothes: Another important aspect of being more sustainable is how we tend to our clothes. We have to ensure that we take care of the clothes we own so they last for a longer period of time. Small damages to our clothes must not be the reason it is thrown out or disposed of. Learning how to stitch the fault of our self or using the service of a local tailor can prove to be very useful for the environment as it reduces production.
Never throw your clothes in the trash: Finally, the most solid piece of advice related to sustainability is to never throw our clothes in the trash. Repurposing clothes is the easiest way we can support the sustainability movement.
As we, Indians are masters of repurposing, it shouldn’t be that hard. The life cycle of clothes in an Indian household usually goes like this: the eldest sibling – The middle child – The youngest child – kitchen cleaning cloth. As we never throw anything out, we can easily teach the world a thing or two about sustainability.