By: AMRITA MITRA
In today's fashion era, where there's a buzz around ‘fast fashion', almost every other brand is trying to catch up to the trend set by fashion giants like Zara, little are we aware of the brands which even promote slow fashion and responsible consumerism. Responsible fashion or fashion which comes with a responsibility is an area where the spotlight should hit sooner than later.
The fashion industry is one of the major industries in the world which holds a major amount of consumers and the larger the number of consumers, the larger is the waste generated and the threat posed to our environment by this industry. So, the goal is to make the people aware of the risks and enable them to do their bit to protect the resources and our environment. The first step towards this is to educate the people about the need for this step; it is the only way to make them responsible.
Over the years, we have entrusted fashion brands, designer labels to take a top edge and dictate what's good for us, but now with the advent of conscious fashion labels, we, the consumers have of choice of deciding what's good for us.
The responsible fashion not only awakens the sense of our duty towards the society but also transforms our lifestyle which paves way towards a "Sustainable livelihood".
It is known that "You are what you eat!", but it's equally true that "you are what you wear". So, drawing the parallels between the two most renowned terms, fast fashion and fast food, one can say that both are extremely damaging to the environment and the person. Over the past few decades, over relationship with fashion has changed; we're buying more and more and wearing less and less. Fast fashion, doesn't just leave scars on our planet, it is also a major culprit on modern-day slavery and industrial disaster, for instance, the Rana Plaza incident in Bangladesh in 2013, where more than 100 people lost their lives.
So, the quest is for fashion which doesn't cost the earth. Can we all be green and glamorous, fair and fashionable, stylish and sustainable at the same time? How can fashion and sustainability co-exist? To understand this, we have to dive into the depths of slow and sustainable fashion and understand the concepts and aspects of sustainability and how we can inculcate sustainable values in our day to day lifestyle.
Once we know and are aware, we are responsible for our action and our inaction. We can do something about it or ignore it. Either way, we are still responsible. — Jean-Paul Sartre
So, awareness is what we seek, awareness about responsible fashion. To understand all of these, we need to dig deeper and understand what exactly has happened. Over the past years, the world has started globalizing and trade barriers have softened which have enabled brands to jump from one country to the next in search of cheaper and cheaper materials and labor, the result of which is the decrease of prices of our clothing in this era of fast fashion. The fashion industry today is a three trillion dollar industry reaching its most profitable moment but the question is, "Who bears the brunt of the success of this industry?"
When it comes to fast fashion, cheap prices, it makes us believe we're saving money, but actually, we're just buying more. Our wardrobes are almost 4 times that of our parents. In reality, the value and quality of the products that we're buying have gone down, and thus, fast fashion is fooling us into buying more in the name of saving money. But most importantly, fast fashion today is destroying the people and the planet.
If each one of us takes up the responsibility of our wardrobes and tries to understand the clothes that we are buying and wearing, as to where it was made, how it was made, it would affect the world at large and enable us to take a step towards responsible consumerism. For this, we need to understand the terms such as fast fashion, ethical fashion, slow fashion and sustainable fashion which all interrelated. The following articles would aim to throw light on these areas and how we, as consumers can take up this responsibility and choose wisely, prioritize quality over quantity and get informed and make more responsible fashion choices.
It is rightly said by Anna Lappé, "Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want." So, let's cast this vote wisely and make the world a better place by making conscious fashion choices and promote brands that are trying to take a step forward in this direction.