The only constant in fashion is ‘change’. Over the last few centuries, no particular trend has had a lasting impression for more than a decade.
People love clothes. From Paris to Pune, everyone has their own sense of style and suave. But among the lot, not many are aware of their negative effects on the environment.
One may wonder how clothes, which are bio-degradable in nature, are harmful to the environment. Before we delve into history and statistics to answer that, there is one disturbing fact everyone should be aware of. Forbes survey shows that the fashion industry is the 2nd largest cause of pollution in the world.
Are you surprised? Don’t be. When you analyse the entire process of cloth manufacturing in the contemporary world, it is not really shocking to find out that fast fashion is indeed a bane.
Now, it is common knowledge that cotton dominates the apparel world. The astonishing thing is, cotton cultivation requires the largest quantity of fertilizers. Almost 60% of the inorganic fertilizers produced are used in manufacturing cotton. They are harmful to all life forms and the earth itself.
But like the old saying goes, all bad things must come to an end. The beginning of the end of modern, unethical fashion started in the 80’s when big names like Patagonia and ESPRIT started incorporating sustainability into their business.
This gave rise to the so called eco-fashion or sustainable fashion – a design philosophy that adheres to the principles of sustainability – making use of products and techniques that reduce the footprint and the negative impact humans have on the earth.
Sustainable fashion sounds like a novel idea which would make fashion a responsible industry. Albeit the latter part is true, sustainability in apparels is not a new idea. We have gone a full circle, back to our ancient ways, when farming was organic, clothes were hand woven and dyes were mostly extracted from vegetables.
India has been renowned all over the world for its expertise and grandeur in the textile industry. Although natural cotton, linen and jute ruled the roost for long extended periods, it is hemp that has the distinction of being one of the first plants ever to be spun into usable fibre. Archaeological findings show that hemp clothes could have been in existence almost 10,000 years back.
It is no great wonder to see that today, socially responsible companies are migrating towards our old, natural ways in a bid to save the earth and humankind.