Fashion with a conscience

That pair of jeans you bought two months ago, and are bored with already? Think again before casting it aside and buying a new pair. Did you know it takes 11,000 litres of water to produce one pair of jeans? This includes the water for cotton cultivation and the processing involved.

We live in a deeply consumerist world, where everyone shops without a second thought. What Fashion Revolution, a group that advocates sustainable fashion, wants consumers to do is to look around and see where the clothes they wear come from, and ask who made them and under what conditions. This serves two purposes — you appreciate what you have better and think twice before moving on to the next big sale.

World over, across 90 countries, the group organises events over a week where it discusses the ramifications of fast fashion. In Chennai, Fashion Revolution India and Rossbelle began the week with a series of events to showcase the various facets of the issue threadbare. It began with a panel discussion at Backyard, Adyar, on ‘The Real Impact of Fast Fashion Consumption’, featuring Jeyasree Ravi of Palam Silks, RJ Sindhu of Fever FM, and designers Kajal and Tina Vincent.

Ravi, whose topic was ‘The mindset of artisans, retailers and customers: Truth unveiled’, spoke about her experience with changing perceptions, and the process of staying rooted to tradition while attempting something contemporary. Sindhu narrated her experience of getting comfortable with how she looked and the need to accept oneself in her talk on ‘You don’t have to be a perfect shape to be fashionable’. Designer Kajal, whose bespoke brand is called The Naked, spoke about society’s role in forcing consumers towards fast fashion. “How does one stand out in the midst of mass producers?” she asked, and detailed how she went about it, and concluded with the mantra: ‘Where to shop, when to shop and when to stop’. Vincent, speaking on Triple Pundit: people, planet and profit, detailed how she, sometimes, tweaked a garment to render it fashionable for a longer time. “When working with great fabric that lasts forever, say silk, I keep dyeing it in different colours and go in for minor design interventions to keep it looking new and contemporary.” She begins with off-white and beige, before moving on to green and blue, then purple and finally brown and black.

Thasneem Masood of Rossbelle spoke between the panellists, guiding the discussion back to the topic on hand — staying fashionable without being heartless about it. So, the next time you’re in the mood to shop, stop. Open your wardrobe and see what can be rejigged for a new look.

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