Can Fashion & Earth Co-exist?

From recycling and reusing leftover fabrics, promoting slow fashion to including cruelty free products in their designs, the fashion industry is making an effort to create a healthy relationship between fashion and Earth. The second wave of COVID-19 has hit us, and it feels like 2020 all over again. In these times of distress, apart from staying safe and taking precautions for ourselves, we need to pay attention to the environment as well. 

On the occasion of Earth Day, celebrated on April 22, fashion designers and brands throw light on the various sustainable practices that they have included at their respective workspace to help reduce waste and hope for a day when fashion and earth can co-exist.

‘Work is worship only if we reduce waste’ – Nitisha Jain, BARI India

Earth Day holds a special place not just in my heart but also at my workplace. I believe work can only be considered to be a place of worship as long as we make sure we reduce the waste as much as possible.

Changes that matter: At BARI India, we try and incorporate the use of katrans (left over pieces of cloth) to create minimal wastage. For example, we use the katrans to entwine hangers to give that extra grip to hold the garments better. We also use leftover pieces to make the string of potli bags, and footwear. From stitching and using re-usable masks, curtains made from block print fabric on the block printers table to creating mailboxes made from cardboard boxes for our workshop, we at BARI India ensure we make most of the waste.

‘Fashion and Earth can co-exist without hurting each other’ - Ridhi Mehra

I treat every day as Earth day as each day is a new opportunity to be a responsible citizen. It is high time that the dialogue be changed from Fashion vs Earth to Fashion and Earth. And I am for the motion: Fashion and Earth can co- exist without hurting each other. 

Fashion may not always come to mind when one thinks of curbing climate change or helping Earth recuperate. But this dynamic industry, its scope and impact, makes a great tool in itself. Fashion and design hold immense promise when it comes to realising a sustainable future for the planet and its people.

Changes that matter: We have made sure to associate with manufacturers and fabric producers who prioritise decarbonising material production and processing. We have gone paperless and all our operations are now digital. All our fabric sourcing is organic. We make sure to use high-quality, durable fabrics to craft an ensemble that lasts long, hence reducing unnecessary waste generation and promoting reusability.

‘Slow Fashion is the way forward’ – Isha, Roseroom

Earth Day marks as a reminder for us to pause and introspect about our impact on the planet. The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of the world’s annual carbon emissions. It’s also one of the most polluting, water-intensive, and waste-generating industries. Sustainable fashion is a movement which is fostering change to fashion products, leading to ethical fashion, which clearly states fashion and earth can co-exist. We, at Roseroom believe in the concept of slow fashion and all our products are made keeping it in mind. Today, more than ever before, the environment has become the topmost priority for everyone. The textile and apparel industry is no exception and is playing its part in contributing to the current challenge the world is going through.

Changes that matter: We, at Roseroom; refrain from using animal products and have created a conscious faux leather collection. We take initiatives to make the supply chain and production processes more sustainable, and also strive to lower the consumption of natural resources such as fuel for energy and water. The chemicals used are bio-degradable and non-hazardous.

‘Shift to conscious production and consumption to save planet Earth’ - Sarika Kakrania, Pink City

Each one of us has a responsibility to give back to our Mother Earth that has given us life on the planet we proudly call our home. Having said that, Earth Day is a time for us to evaluate our year-long efforts in reducing the carbon footprint. Fast fashion could be the death of our planet, if we do not take the issue in our hands and work towards a better tomorrow by incorporating the tools of sustainability, in whatever way we can. So yes, Fashion and Earth can co-exist, only if we majorly shift to conscious production and consumption of every garment we create/consume, not just as designers, but also as active consumers of fashion ourselves.

Changes that matter: As a brand we say NO to mass production and YES to handmade. We do our best to generate employment and promote the rich Indian crafts like Bandhej, Leheria, Gharchola to name a few. Using handmade crafts ensures the use of machines in producing our garments is minimal. We also keep our production to the bare minimum, focusing on quality over quantity. We make sure each garment we create has a longer shelf life and can be worn in multiple ways to not only give value for money to our consumers, but also to provide them with utmost versatility with each of our pieces.

‘Overstocking is a waste of precious resources’ - Snigdha Shekhar, Artisan Luxe

Our mantra is “buy less but buy well”. And we encourage our customers to invest in good quality clothing that is not season or trend driven and can be worn in many ways across many seasons, hence encouraging them to relook at buying fast fashion.

Changes that matter: From our choice of fabrics, silhouettes to our manufacturing set up, artisan luxe is a SEDEX certified socially compliant brand which aims at being a sustainable and slow fashion brand. We only keep raw material inventory and make everything to order. We do not stock any clothes at all as overstocking is a waste of precious resources. The biggest difference between other silks and our high-performance silks is that artisan luxe garments can be hand-washed at home. Dry cleaning leaches toxic chemicals into the soil and ground water and as a brand aspiring towards sustainability, environmental pollution is a big area of concern for us. So, we have made sure that we don’t add to this by creating garments that need dry- cleaning. We don’t use any harmful chemicals in our dyeing or printing processes and all our fabrics are lab tested for the same. We use a waterless digital printing technology to print our fabrics.

‘Elimination of fast fashion can promote a healthy relationship between fashion and Earth’ - Vedika M Sonthalia, Vedika M

To us, Earth Day is a day to show support towards our precious home, to remind and reflect on ourselves to protect our Earth in any way we can, whether big or small. As this Earth Day rolls in, we are reminded once again that sustainability in the fashion industry has become the need of the hour. Fashion and Earth have to and can co-exist if sustainability and slow fashion comes into action immediately. Attention needs to be paid to the entire supply chain process in the industry. Customised clothing, reselling, reusing, sustainable production practices and elimination of fast fashion can promote a healthier relationship between fashion and Earth.

Changes that matter: At Vedika M, we up-cycle our waste or excess fabric to make by-products such as pouches and accessories for daily use. In our printing factory, we have minimised the usage of water that goes into washing the fabrics. For our packaging, we send out our parcels in bags made out of leftover fabric instead of plastic packages.

We worship the motto reduce-reuse-recycle - Kunal Anil Tanna

I would want to interpret Earth Day as a chance to plan the next whole year to commit to make Earth a better and a happier place to live on.

Changes that matter: At Kunal Anil Tanna, we worship the motto reduce- reuse-recycle. Scrap reuse and recycle is something we practice diligently. Season after season we incorporate scraps to rebuild new textures and structures, making it not only cost effective but also eco-friendly in our own small way.

‘It’s all about inclusivity, equality and loving our planet’ - Eishhita Puri, Eurumme

I feel like it’s about time Earth Day is celebrated every single day. I mean, it’s the one thing that sustains us, sustains life. How can every day not be Earth Day? Fashion and Earth can absolutely co-exist but it’s a hard battle, and definitely one that cannot be fought alone.

Changes that matter: We at Eurumme use recycled metal to make our jewellery. We have in the past used eco-friendly materials such as cardboard, twigs and leaves to make jewellery too. We’re also actively pursuing a shift in our packaging and trying to eliminate the use of plastic altogether. We’re all about inclusivity, equality and loving our planet. I feel like that plays a significant role in building a positive environment, and aligning our values towards a greener, happier planet.

‘Our environment needs protection from us every single day’ - Radhika Chopra, Prints by Radhika

Earth day is not just another date on the calendar for us, but we do believe that every day is earth day. Our environment needs protection from us every single day.

Changes that matter: We at Prints by Radhika do not use plastic in our workspace. We use fabrics which are long lasting and natural. We strictly don’t use polyester in our practices, and we swear by it completely. All our packaging material is paper, and we work with vendors who follow the same recycling protocols, which are environmentally friendly.