According to the United Nations, the fashion industry is one of the largest polluters in the world. Some sources claim that it is only second to the oil industry.
But I’m sure this is of no surprise to you. Since the last couple of years, environmentalists have been spreading awareness about sustainable fashion. Even though the fast fashion industry is still growing and enticing the mass, slowly and steadily, people are making a change and have started adopting an ethical approach. I love fashion and experimenting with trends, but I have taken a personal pledge to do it with my existing wardrobe.
When I have spoken about eco-fashion with my friends and family, some of the major reasons they’re not willing to adopt it are-
- It’s too costly
- Repetition of clothes
However, sustainable fashion is beyond that. Eliminating the throw-away culture and embracing conscious consumption is the first step towards making a change. And in order to do that, there are several motivational factors. These factors also explain what sustainability is all about and it’s a personal choice to follow any of these contributors. Different people get motivated by different things. For some, it may be about reducing your carbon footprint but for others, it may be about supporting local artisans. Take a look at the various motivations below because one or more might speak to you and it doesn’t matter which one you pick as long as it pushes you to be more conscious.
Motivation #1: Shop Local
Instead of purchasing products from international brands, opt to support local businesses and homegrown labels that also produce the same quality items with utmost attention to detail. By doing so, you’re giving them revenue as well as bringing their talent and skill in the limelight.
Motivation #2: Support Indian Handicrafts
India is known for its rich textile heritage. So many designers design handcrafted clothes. If you love Indian prints and handwoven fabrics, invest in handmade clothes from Indian labels that promote our culture and the effort of Indian artisans.
Motivation #3: Empower Women
You also end up helping women by giving them jobs and a livelihood. This way you’re empowering them to work and become financially independent.
Motivation #4: Promote Ethical Working Conditions
The Rana Plaza incident from Bangladesh highlighted the sad truth of the clothing industry—unethical working conditions of employees. Ever since then, sustainable fashion supporters have urged the audience to question themselves “Who made my clothes?” And it is very important to know where your clothes come from. Don’t you think it’s fair to promote a brand that ensures its employees ethical working conditions as well as a good amount of wages?
Motivation #5: Minimise Use-And-Throw Culture
Other than going to the mall every month, try to find out about events that encourage swapping of clothes. In this way, you’re not only saving money but also making sure you don’t repeat clothes. It’s a win-win situation because you’re reducing wastage of clothes by not throwing them away.
Motivation #6: Reduce The Carbon Footprint
If the hard facts of how the fashion industry is a major polluter to our Mother Earth has disturbed you and you wish to enact on it, choose to recycle and upcycle your clothes. You can also wear clothes made from fabrics that come from sources that don’t require wastage in the processing stage such as hemp, which requires much lesser usage of water. It is also is one of the best fabrics for a hot and humid climate such as India. Hemp fabrics and garments are available at Boheco and B-Label respectively. Denims today are made from recycled plastic. The brand, Levis has been making their jeans from recycled plastic bottles and plastic waste from oceans. New Delhi based label, The Summer House has also started manufacturing denim pants from recycled waste. The carbon footprint reduces multifold by constantly re-using materials.
Motivation #7: Fight For Animal Rights
Other than plants, fabrics like wool and leather come from farm animals like sheep and cows respectively. These innocent beings are often ill-treated in the process. Therefore, by supporting vegan fashion brands, you make the ethical and conscious decision to not only support sustainability but also animal rights.
Ultimately, this is a personal choice one can make. But if any of the above are motivating enough for you to make that decision, do remember it’s not wrong to spend money on something that has value. I hope to see a day when all of us can reduce the number of times we buy and eventually put an end to the more-is-more buying behaviour. I wish you all a very happy Earth Day but let’s celebrate it every day and pledge to save our planet. The smallest of contributions can have the largest impact.
What has motivated you to opt for conscious consumption the most? Let me know in the comments below.
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