As we become aware of the problems in our environment, sustainable fashion can make a big difference. The fashion industry produces 4-10% of greenhouse gas emissions globally every year. Sustainable fashion has become a buzzword in the last few years and understanding its importance is difficult with the plethora of information on the internet.
So let’s break it down!
What does sustainable fashion mean and why should we care?
The United Nations (UN) defines sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Sustainable fashion concerns the fashion industry as a whole.
It talks about the process of clothing production, consumption and disposal.
This movement aims to make these processes sustainable for the environment as well as protect those that are part of the production process.
There are many factors which makes it a difficult problem. Water, chemical and energy usage, CO2 emissions, pollution and waste generated while disposing of garments are just some of the environmental challenges. People work in unsafe conditions and are not paid fairly. Considering all these problems, very few brands are able to produce and sell garments that are sustainable. However, this conversation has got people discussing about how each of us can contribute.
For consumers the first and most vital change must be our thought process. Evaluating our choices, which brand and practices our purchases support. Including materials used, manufacturing process and the company’s philosophies. All of this must be done while ensuring one’s own wardrobe and practices are as sustainable as possible!
Here are some tips to start sustainable fashion:
Buy Less and Buy Thoughtfully
While adding to cart remember to ask yourselves important questions – “Do I really need this?” or “How many times will I wear this?”. Questions like these will help remind you that thoughtlessly buying clothes impacts the environment.
These questions can help you save money too!
Thrift and Donate
Buy second hand clothes and collect vintage clothes which have been handed down. It helps you to find one of a kind pieces and also helps increase the life of clothing. Donating is always a wonderful option – pass clothes to those in need, thrift stores and also down to younger siblings or friends. It not only makes you the favourite in the family but it is also sustainable.
Click here for some of the most popular thrift stores – https://so.city/delhi/article/7-best-thrifting-stores-where-you-can-shop-online-score-some-unique-fashion-pieces.
Repair and Create
Repairing clothes may be slightly time consuming, but increases the life of garments. Create new pieces of clothing/accessories/home decor by using old pieces of clothing. It can be a fun weekend project.
The Instagram page @usemeworks brilliantly recycles old clothing to beautiful handmade items. Check out their products, visit their Instagram page and their website –
Know your Brands and Materials
Be aware of the brands that follow sustainable practices, research the type of fabric, its a simple way to refine your purchase practices. Each fabric, when manufactured, produces different amounts of energy/chemical emissions. Increasing your knowledge on brands and fabrics is one of the easiest ways to contribute to sustainable practices.
Some Indian brands have already started their journey to be becoming sustainable.
You may have heard of Nicobar, Okhai and Oshadi.
Here are some more brands – https://consciousfashion.co/guides/india-sustainable-fashion-brands.
We usually buy expensive clothes for certain occasions and end up wearing them only once or twice in our lives. Instead, rent clothes for fancy occasions, it’s a great way to find something fancy to wear, not spend a fortune and protect the environment.
Win, Win, Win!
There are many stores in local markets that rent clothing and there are many options online.
Flyrobe has quickly become India’s biggest rental store and offers a variety of clothes and accessories to rent.
Check out their website – https://www.rentitbae.com/home/
It may take a long time for sustainability issues to be tackled. But there’s a lot we can do as consumers. We can change our retail habits, participate in the conversation, be well informed and support the brands that practice sustainable fashion. Small changes in the simplest of things, such as the clothes we wear, can make a huge difference for our planet.
About the Author
Riya Mehtani is an aspiring psychologist, she adores animals, bugs and loves spending time in nature.