“Oh no! I have nothing to wear for the party next week. I guess I’ll have to head over to the mall and get those new chinos. . .”
“My wardrobe stinks, man. Everything’s old and so worn out. I need new clothes!!!”
These are just some of the things we, as urban consumers, hear and speak on a very regular basis. We need more and more and more clothes. The reason behind this is that shopping today has become so convenient and time-saving. Those times are gone when shopping for clothes was an occasional or seasonal activity - something that happened either when we outgrew the ones we had or the season changed or if there was a wedding or party. But, over the years the trend has changed drastically and many today view shopping as a hobby and a coping mechanism for stress, anxiety and depression. This eerie form of therapy has also been given an apt name: ‘retail therapy’. A recent survey conducted by HuffPost shows that one in three Americans shops to deal with stress and the similar trend is picking up in India as well. This coping mechanism can be compared to ‘stress-eating’ and ‘stress-sleeping’. While retail therapy, shopping till you drop, is a good way to de-stress, we often shut our eyes to the adverse impact it has on the planet.
This sudden surge in the number of shoppers, upcoming styles and brands is all a part of ‘fast fashion’. Fast fashion is an à la mode term used by brands and retailers to indicate mass-production of inexpensive clothing, in response to the latest trends. Fast fashion is the reason why so many of us are easily able to replicate our favorite celebrities and afford, even if cheap copies, of the clothing styles they follow. However, all that glitters is not gold. A critical definition of fast fashion adds that fast fashion is not only about clothes rapidly moving from catwalks to the stores and to the consumers, but also to the garbage: into our oceans and landfills. And as new trends and styles are on the rise, so is fast fashion. But, do we really need those many clothes?
To make things clear, in no way we are discouraging you from buying new clothes for yourself but all we are doing is urging you to buy less but buy exclusive hand-loom and handicrafts. It is impossible to completely give up shopping, but we can easily limit ourselves when it comes to purchasing. Ivariti Lifestyles was born with the idea of working closely with weavers and other ground level handicraft artists to provide them an e-commerce platform to showcase their exclusive talent and help them make a paradigm shift in their personal life.
You may not believe it but these economic designs such as fast fashion and consumerism, are strongly linked to sustainability, and are shockingly one of the leading causes of environmental degradation, pollution and climate change. Did you know, that our clothing choices have a major impact on the environment? These include the source of production of the clothes, raw materials used and whether it has caused major damage to the environment in the course of its manufacture. Changing our choices and becoming wise consumers is one of the most effective ways to offset our carbon footprint and help tackle climate change. So, whenever you’re thinking of how to fight climate change, just remember this: C’s (Cease) The Enemy. C stands for our world’s greatest enemies - Capitalism, Consumerism and Climate Change. It’s interesting to note that one of the greatest causes of pollution lies in our wardrobe. Moreover, an average American throw away 80 pounds of clothes a year, which sums up to 26 billion (a big number isn’t it?) pounds of textiles and clothes ending up in the landfills. Another victim of thrown-away clothes are the oceans.
Some other startling statistics about the fashion industry’s waste generation are:
- Nearly 20% of the global waste water is generated by the fashion industry.
- It takes more than 5000 gallons of water to produce just one tee shirt and a pair of jeans.
- Upto 95% of all the clothes that are sent to the landfills could be recycled instead. (It is also interesting to note that landfill spaces are expensive and hard to find.)
- Consumers in the United Kingdom have an estimated $46.7 billion worth of unworn clothes in their closets.
- The fashion industry contributes 10% of greenhouse gas emissions due to its long supply chain and energy intensive production, as stated by United Nations Climate Change News.
These are just some harsh realities of our exploitative fashion industry. But, we, as consumers, have the power to change this and hence, lead the fight against not just pollution but consumerism and greed. Every industry runs on the demand of its consumers. If the demand is high, so will be the supply/production and vice versa. Our current demands for cheap clothes are the reason behind the immense amounts of pollution and harm to the environment. Monitor how many clothes you purchase, and how often you do so. (Remember, supply and demand). As an individual, research and find out new ways on how you can recycle/reuse/re-purpose old or outdated clothes easily.
At Ivariti, we promote sustainable fashion by revamping traditional styles of draping to suit modern looks. We do conduct workshops/webinars on more than 500 unique draping patterns for women, men and kids. Additionally, Anupama is currently writing a book as well (title: The art of modern draping) to create awareness about the cause. We request you to join the avant-garde transition of traditional clothing and handicrafts. Easy to wear and use yet look fashionable. We would love to help you through collaboration opportunities regarding uplifting of handicraft artists, preserving cultural heritage in modern way and promoting sustainability to the next generation.
Do connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org for collaborations and join our movement towards sustainable fashion.
Anupama Das, Ivariti Lifestyles founder and Professional draper
Ishaan Singh, Young environmentalist