BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO SUSTAINABLE FASHION

Okay, so your inner moral compass is finally pointing north and you want to do your bit for Mother Earth without looking like a hobo. First of all, kudos for the realization and we’re here to make the transition as easy as possible.

In order to support sustainable fashion, you need to know the difference between sustainable & fast fashion. What is fast fashion you ask? Well, you see rows and rows of clothes on Zara, Forever-21 and other major brands racks, that change every two months or so? They are all a result of fast fashion.

Fast fashion uses cheap resources and methods to produce mass quantity of clothing for every season of the fashion week. Earlier, for trends to get from the runway to the racks took longer and even then, only a few selected pieces made it to the store. This trend has reversed in the last few years. Now the new collections hit the store almost immediately. To keep this up big brands resort to cheap material and cheap labour, the focus here is on the design and not durability, which renders the clothes useless after a few months, hence making you go back for more. It’s a vicious circle really. So how do you get off this cycle? Here’s a step by step guide:

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START SMALL: Fast fashion is like an addiction and like any other addiction the withdrawals will be that much more intense if you cut it off abruptly. We suggest start slow. If you purchased 8 new pieces from fast fashion brands every month, cut it down to five, then three and so on. Eventually, you won’t be consuming fast fashion at all.

REMEMBER WHY YOU STARTED: There will be days when the greedy monster will awaken and try to lure you with sales and heavy discounts, fight the urge! Remember why you started. Think of all the good you are doing by simply changing your lifestyle.

BUY LESS, BUY SMART: You don’t need to upgrade your wardrobe as per the trends every season. You may think you do, but no, you do not need the entire Zara collection in your wardrobe. Learn to pick pieces that will last you a long time and can be easily mix and matched to create new outfits. Also invest more in sustainable brands.

THRIFT MORE: Not only will you find absolute gems, the whole process of earning your steals is a joyous feeling in itself. Not only are you cutting down on your consumption, you are now recycling, and that is 10+ brownie points from Mother Earth. India has every few thrift shops, so organize garage sales amongst your friends and swap clothes. Remember, one man’s trash is other man’s treasure.

UPCYCLE: Now that you have mastered the art of recycling, time to take it a notch higher by upcycling your old clothes. T-shirts that don’t fit; turn them into pillow cases or even houses for your cats. Turn worn out denims into shorts or bags. There are a million ways you can upcycle old clothes. Youtube will be your best friend when it comes to upcycling DIYS. So, get on that laptop and start browsing.

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Up-cycled clothes make your wardrobe sustainable… like this skirt made with silk ties (left) & this handbag made from an old leather jacket(right)

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TAILOR MADE: We’ve now reached the pinnacle, now that you are no longer consuming fast fashion, you have a lot more resources which can be used to create your own unique style statement. India has a rich variety of textiles, buy some from ethical sources or directly from the vendors and create custom made outfits with a tailor of your choice. Let the creativity unleash.

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Tailored clothes are better for the environment :Image Source

Follow this guide and before you know it, you would have freed yourself from the fast –fashion trap. Mother Earth and the kids in Bangladesh will forever be grateful!

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