Bengaluru recently hosted a film ‘The GreenStitched Film Festival’, a film festival on ‘Sustainable Fashion’. The day-long program had films dealing with serious issues pertinent to the fashion industry. Fair trade, cotton farming, slow fashion, waste clothing, the future of clothing and craft revival - the documentaries and movies included subjects that tend to get lost in the commotion of fashion photos on Instagram and loud sales pitches on ecommerce websites.
Organised by Roshni Rajendra, for her the idea seemed appealing because there is a need to raise awareness about sustainable fashion. Think about how many clothes you owned as a kid. How many clothes did your parents own back then? How often did you and your family shop then? Compare that to the amount of clothes you own today. Clothes are cheaper now and fashion has become so transient. But amidst the sales and the glamour, we need to pause and think about how clothes have become so cheap. Thirteen billion ton pounds of textile wastes are generated each year in the US, of which only one per cent is recycled. Do we really want to be sitting on a dump yard of textile wastes?
Sometime back, Prasad Bidapa and Wendell Rodricks echoed same concerns. They said today there is a need for everyone to practice responsible fashion. People need to decide if they really want to buy a bag or a dress because it is the season's latest fashion. For Bidapa, globalization of fashion had triggered fast fashion. He says, we need to endorse that we don't need to buy clothes so often. We need to take the route of slow fashion, sustainable fashion, responsible fashion, fair fashion, ethical fashion, etc.
Sustainable fashion has varied connotations depending on people and places. What we need today is to set sustainable fashion in a global context. During a recently held special sustainable fashion exhibition along side London Fashion Week, Jaspreet Chandok, head-Fashion of IMG-Reliance and a team of five young Indian designers won the International Fashion Showcase Country Award. The designs subscribed to sustainable fashion principles like zero-wastage in terms of fabrics used or use of ethical silk. The installations had designers reinterpreting the textile heritage of India's nomadic pastoral communities. The larger perspective is of how younger designers are going back to India's textile heritage to make their individual statements. In the last five and a half years, there has been a tremendous rise in the number of gen-next designers using handlooms as the base for their creations.
At the recently concluded Lakme Fashion Week, designer Rajesh Pratap Singh made a special collection for 'Sustainable Man' show. The garments were woven from synthetic yarns made out of recycled bottles, yarns were made from recycled and old garments and fabric from old clothes were reused to create a whole new ensemble. The award-wining designer feels that this new interest in sustainable fashion is just a natural reaction to the other world of fast fashion.