Sustainable Fashion And ConsumerismMarch 22, 2020
Natural, vegan, clean, organic – the buzzwords we have been hearing in fashion for a while now. They reflect a trend that’s rapidly growing momentum and revenue. The sustainable fashion movement, once a niche trend championed by the likes of Stella McCartney, has gone mainstream.
The fashion industry’s rude awakening on the detrimental environmental effects of a rampant production cycle has resulted in an evident shift in our buying and consumption patterns.
Consumers are conscious about the faces behind the creation of their clothes, and it impacts on the environment. They are making considered choices. Therefore, it brings the questions who is an ethical consumer? Is there a distinction between a consumer vs citizen, do these roles overlap?
In the words of Robert Reich, author “Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life: ”there is a difference between the private wants of a consumer and the public ideals of a citizen.”
For a lot of people; values compete and ethical values lose some of their charges when thrown into contention with the elemental shopping values, i.e. function, style, convenience, price.
In the era of the globalized supply chain, it is getting increasingly difficult to keep track of the origin of garment manufacture. It calls for transparency and accountability – but can this information serve to change the way we shop?
Consumers are starting to push back against ‘responsible-ization,’ the way they feel there’s a moral choice every time they buy. People get on some level, that they can’t solve these complex systemic issues just by how they shop.
It brings to question what I, as a sustainable fashion brand can do to help educate people to be better consumers and shop responsibly:
· Label garments clearly and concisely so that consumers know what they are buying.
· Exploring the concept of circularity – Luxury for me shouldn’t be wasteful; it is about creating designs wherein garments can be cherished for years to come, reinterpreted and restyled. Every garment has a story – artisans have relentlessly toiled hours away crafting it.
Related Read: The allure of the dupatta!
· Use of natural and sustainable raw materials – questioning the provenance of all the raw materials and applying a considered approach to the business as a whole from the women making the garments to the women buying them.
Surrounded by bigness and complicatedness, we’re all yearning for a one-to-one exchange. It feels human. It feels honourable.
Interacting with people who make our clothes – that feels honourable, too. The measure of our souls isn’t in what we buy, but what we do.
Let’s all do the right thing and shop responsibly.