India — As the pandemic caught us unaware last year, fashion priorities were thoughtfully realigned. Organic, sustainable, eco-friendly, ethical – words such as these became mainstream. Today, most of the fashion lovers are celebrating ensembles that are not frivolous playthings of trends but creations that fit into the definition of sustainable and help carve the future of fashion by reducing carbon footprint.
As we celebrated the World Earth Day on 22 April, we spoke to designers who say that adapting a fresh approach to making clothes and emphasising on purposeful fashion that shows love and regard for the environment is the way forward.
Trans seasonal fashion is one such step. “Trans seasonal fashion focuses on classics which means garments that are long lived. This is one step, however small. Quality is the key here because a classic garment has to have longevity and it should not fall apart or start looking ragged after a few wears,” says designer David Abraham.
Many designers have also been practising zero-waste policies and are trying to not make sustainable garments expensive. They are reusing their older collections to make new garments.
“Our understanding of what is wholesome sustainability is constantly evolving. We question ourselves often. Just making expensive handmade products is not going to help sustainability. That’s just about creating snobbish fashion brands. It has a very limited impact and contribution. Real fashion sustainability will happen when we can address the interest of everyone involved. The environment, the ultimate consumer, the work force and the stakeholders. We need to have honest conversations. Enough damage has been done to the environment ,” says designer Rajesh Pratap Singh, whose new collection is entirely made by cutting up pieces from older collections and patching them together.
Fashion also took the long due plunge as fashion shows across the world went digital. Fashion Design Council of India also announced their digital foray and designers launched their shows on social media, which not only reduced the use of resources but also increased their worldwide presence. As the digital landscape comes to the forefront, it will make room for a more sustainable approach in fashion, says designer Amit Aggarwal. “Excess products that fashion houses sometimes make to tap new markets will be eliminated. The focus will be on signature and sustainable products, leading to lesser wastage. I see a shift towards modern and newer workmanship, employing the strength of local craftsmen, with an emphasis on intricacies, finesse and quality of the product as opposed to a barrage of perhaps unnecessary styles being churned out every season. It will help us move towards a better structured and reinforced fashion cycle with a clearer vision and thought out product,” says Aggarwal, who started his online website during the lockdown last year.
Sustainability is now the crux of fashion conversation, sparking innovation in the domain, and resulting in alternative fabrics made of hemp, banana, coconut and other fruit and plant-based materials. These pieces are classic, timeless and long lasting. Let’s do our bit to create an ecologically conscious world by making thoughtful choices.