A lot of new age and sustainable fashion brands are averse to excess and understand the devastating effect of excess clothing being manufactured.
While it is already known that fashion industries are the second largest cause of pollution on earth, it is now established that “fast fashion” is a major contributor to greenhouse gases, water, and air pollution by creating problematic levels of waste that is hard to dispose of. In a recent interview, iconic French designer Jean Paul Gaultier called it a “disaster” and mentioned that big fashion brands are harming the planet by producing "far too many collections with far too many clothes". He said companies must stop engaging in a "contest" to make the most clothes.
Since most designers swear by the philosophy of ‘minimalism’ when it comes to manufacturing clothes why are brands creating heaps of clothes? How can the problem of plenty be tackled? Mumbai based designer Purvi Doshi believes that it’s high time designers switch to sustainable fashion that does not harm the planet. She agrees to Gaultier’s statement about fast fashion and remarks, “It is, unfortunately, true and one can only imagine the excess waste generated out of every new collection produced. As designers, we should try to use organic fabrics and implement recycling strategies to reduce wastage from garments.
Work on capsule wardrobes and also educate the end customer through our work. We are in the process of becoming a 100% zero waste brand, as the fabric waste from our studio gets recycled and is then converted into paper tags, bags, visiting cards, other stationery and other biodegradable products.”
Experts also believe that the need of today’s consumer is not changing of fashion collection with a big selection so very often, but having a bespoke collection four times a year, as a seasonal collection. Meena Chawla, director of fashion label Ravissant, endorses Jean Paul Gaultier's observation and reaction to the enumerable collection with too many fashion clothes. “It is not required at all; it surely is waste and absurd. As a brand, we do not indulge in overcrowding the rails ever, but cater to our clients almost exclusively, for each season, and avoid excess baggage of unnecessary collection, and waste. Thereby, we can avoid wastage of sustainable fashion,” says Chawla.
A lot of new age and sustainable fashion brands are averse to excess and understand the devastating effect of excess clothing being manufactured. Slow fashion is a movement started to address this problem by changing customer behaviour to buying less and busying concisely. Such design silhouettes can be worn for multiple occasions and are timeless, highlights Sandhya Tholi, founder of fashion brand Indé Loom. She explains the phenomenon of fast fashion and says, “These days, brands make a lot of collections in advance, and due to constant emerging trends, they tend to go out of fashion every-time. The fashion industry can definitely keep a quantity check, and make clothes according to the existing demands. To do our bit to reduce pollution, we use cotton and sustainable fabrics in our garments. We do not produce the stocks in bulk to store, but we work according to the demand in every season.”
To cut down on the fast fashion, small and big fashion brands have to adapt to the slow fashion philosophy, as timeless designs and colours work great in the Indian market. Creating awareness about the problem of excess and giving consumers timeless pieces will hugely solve this problem. By using good quality fabrics that last longer and paying special attention to fits, one can take care of all the major reasons that make people discard old clothes, suggests Pooja Khanna, founder of fashion label Venn who also feels that waste is a design flaw.
“We pay special attention to reduce waste in our design process by ensuring that our designs don't leave colossal fabric wastes. We also follow a "made to order" process, ensuring we are not keeping substantial unsold inventories. Currently, we are using sustainable fabrics like Organic Cotton, Tencel, Bamboo Fabric, etc. which feels the same as the regular fabric. Organic cotton requires 71% less water and 62% less energy than commercial cotton; it is 80% rain-fed. The fabric is biodegradable and decomposes without any toxic remains. Dyeing is purely done with azo-free and natural dyes which are free of carcinogens and harmful chemicals,” informs Pooja Khanna about the eco-friendly methods she implements.