In a world of instant gratification, we’re accustomed to making quick purchases without paying mind to the environmental impact and while slow fashion has made its gradual ascent in the public’s consciousness, fast fashion still dominates the fashion charts the world over. Slow fashion, for the uninitiated, simply means fashion created through slow processes, which basically means processes with human engagement like traditional crafts and arts would be part of that.
That in turn simply means we are lowering the carbon footprint of our products and sustaining traditional methods and materials as well. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Madhumita Nath, Founder/Director of Ek Katha Clothing, shared, “Choice is the most powerful tool a designer has. We change the narrative of our business path by just make these choices. Choose raw materials, methods of production and creative ways of sustainable packaging as well which uses slow design.” She suggested the following 3 tips implement slow fashion –
1. Focus on your supply chain: Find the origin of materials and methods. This ensures traceability and transparency, gives credibility to your offering. Tie ups with honest partners are one way of doing so. No certification works better than grass root level honest work.
2. Ask questions like how this will be made: Choose handmade over machine made and do it as much as possible through the process of creation.
3. Materials: All manmade and synthetic materials use machines for production. Opting for natural materials means you have opted for human engagement and besides the beautiful silks,bamboos,hemps,cottons that you get you are without doubt generating employment for so many people in the rural clusters.
According to Shreya Mehra, Designer/Founder of Aab Label, there are multitudes of ways to understand slow fashion and plan its execution. She highlighted, “Amidst all the new age definitions of slow and sustainable fashion, what we often overlook is the practices ingrained in Indian society since ages that subtly hint towards sustainable practices from the consumer’s end. While brands adopt practices that inculcate sustainability in manufacturing, the cycle is complete only when the end consumer plays its part too.” To efficiently execute slow fashion, she recommended:
- Prefer buying items that are less driven by short-lived fashion trends, but will last longer in the wardrobe.
- Choose fabrics that are sustainable. Naturally grown fabrics use fewer pesticides and handwoven fabrics utilise lesser water and electricity in manufacturing.
- Buy better quality, which often comes at a higher price but also lasts longer and is more durable.
- Reduce wash cycles. Since most garments don’t require washing frequently, it is suggested to air out the garments before storing and spot cleaning for minor stains. This severely reduces the water consumption and increases the longevity of the garment.
Kaveri Lalchand, Founder of Kaveri, asserted, “As fashion designers, entrepreneurs, thinkers, enthusiasts and the industry at large, we have an obligation in shedding light on more meaningful alternatives through the lens of environmental responsibility and sustainability: slow fashion.”
Talking about quality VS quantity, she said, “Famed designer Viviene Westwood eloquently articulated the importance of buying less and making the right choices while making your wear last longer. We must subscribe to the habit of paying closer attention to brands that offer better quality fabric, are diligent in their craftsmanship and have the means to craft garments that are made for the long haul.” Opining upon fashion born from nature, she said, “Our planet’s most ardent champions are natural fabrics – from silk, cotton, linen and more, we have an array of greener alternatives when compared to the synthetic likes of polyester. Many turn to the latter as the cheaper choice but comes at the cost of the environment’s health- for being non-biodegradable, renowned for their toxic microfibers and being one of the primary sources of oceanic pollution.”
She concluded, “Fashion can be a daunting endeavour for many with an endless abyss of choices on the market. It doesn’t have to necessarily be this way. Making the right choice can go a long way for you, your wallet and the environment. The first step is to steer the conversation and your preference to brands that value the artistic integrity of meaningful garments; their makers whose diligence with artistic flair make your pieces one of a kind; using ethical means in producing garments in a more responsible manner that contribute to the future of our planet and generations to come.”