In a world of instant gratification, we are used to making quick purchases without considering the environmental impact, and while slow fashion has made its gradual ascent in public consciousness, fast fashion still dominates fashion charts around the world. Slow fashion, for the uninitiated, simply means fashion created through slow processes, which basically means that processes with human engagement such as traditional crafts and arts would be part of it.
That, in turn, simply means that we are reducing the carbon footprint of our products and also sustaining traditional methods and materials. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Madhumita Nath, founder/director of Ek Katha Clothing shared, “Choice is the most powerful tool a designer has. We change the narrative of our business path just by making these choices. Choose raw materials, methods of production and creative forms of sustainable packaging, as well as using slow design.” She suggested the following 3 tips for implementing slow fashion:
1. Focus on your supply chain: Find the origin of materials and methods. This guarantees traceability and transparency, gives credibility to your offer. Ties with honest partners are one way to do this. No certification works better than honest work at the grassroots level.
2. Ask questions like how will this be done: Choose hand-made over machine and do as much as possible during the creation process.
3. Materials: All artificial and synthetic materials use machines for production. Opting for natural materials means betting on human commitment and in addition to the beautiful silks, bamboos, hemp, cottons that you get you are undoubtedly generating jobs for so many people in the countryside.
According to Shreya Mehra, designer/founder of Aab Label, there are a multitude of ways to understand slow fashion and plan for its execution. She highlighted, “Amidst all the definitions of the new era of slow and sustainable fashion, what we often overlook are the practices ingrained in Indian society since time immemorial that subtly point to sustainable practices from the consumer end. Although the brands adopt practices that instill sustainability in manufacturing, the cycle is only complete when the end consumer also plays their part.To execute slow fashion efficiently, he recommended:
- He prefers to buy items that are less driven by short-lived fashion trends, but will last longer in the wardrobe.
- Choose sustainable fabrics. Naturally grown fabrics use fewer pesticides and handwoven fabrics use less water and electricity in manufacturing.
- Buy better quality, which often comes at a higher price but also lasts longer and is more durable.
- Reduce washing cycles. Since most garments do not need to be washed frequently, it is recommended to air the garments before storage and clean them for minor stains. This severely reduces water consumption and increases the longevity of the garment.
Kaveri Lalchand, founder of Kaveri, said: “As fashion designers, entrepreneurs, thinkers, enthusiasts and the industry at large, we have an obligation to shine a light on more meaningful alternatives through the lens of environmental responsibility and sustainability: slow fashion.” .
Speaking of quality VS quantity, he said: “Famous designer Viviene Westwood has eloquently expressed the importance of buying less and making the right choices while your wear lasts longer. We must adhere to the habit of paying more attention to brands that offer fabrics of the best quality, are diligent in their craftsmanship and have the means to make garments that are made for the long term.” Commenting on fashion born from nature, he said: “Our planet’s most ardent champions are natural fabrics: from from silk, cotton, linen and more, we have a variety of greener alternatives compared to synthetics like polyester. Many resort to the latter as the cheapest option, but it comes at the expense of the health of the environment, as it is not biodegradable, known for its toxic microfibres and for being one of the main sources of ocean pollution”.
She concluded: “Fashion can be a daunting endeavor for many with an endless chasm of options in the market. It doesn’t have to be that way. Making the right choice can go a long way in helping you, your wallet and the environment. The first step is lead the conversation and your preference for brands that value the artistic integrity of meaningful garments; their creators, whose diligence with artistic style make your garments unique; using ethical means to produce garments in a more responsible way that contributes to future of our planet and future generations”.