On Earth Day today, it is time to spare a thought about the worsening global climate crisis. This year, the theme is ‘Restore our Earth’. The glamour industry thrives on wasteful consumerism. It is the second largest polluter in the world, just after the oil industry. Clearly, the world of fashion hasn’t been kind to the Earth! We talk to some of the top fashion designers and actors on how to stop the damage.
Varun Bahl is among the couturiers known for his style globally. He says, “I practice simple ways like the manner in which a fabric is dyed and processed; I use sustainable fabrics. I invest in a line that adds solid design value to your wardrobe and enhances your personal style, a line that is trend-less and versatile, so that each piece can be styled in different ways, from within the existing wardrobe. It’s my commitment to offer well-made clothes that people can wear again and again,” he says.
Actress Aahana Kumra opines, “Sustainable fashion is the only way forward. I am not much into buying and I reuse, recycle and repeat clothes. It’s a wastage wearing a new outfit for every public appearance. During this pandemic, everybody, I am sure, has realised that we don’t need too many clothes. A few pyjamas, a couple of shorts and t-shirts, and some home- wear are enough. Let’s stick to that.”
Celebrated designer Abhinav Mishra says he has a holistic approach, “Each stage of the product’s life cycle has environmental inputs and outputs. Being a couture designer helps me in curbing a lot of wastage, as the pieces are made to order. Almost all designs are handcrafted that helps me eliminate carbon footprint to a great extent. Keeping in mind the sustainability benchmarks, all creations are made with natural fabrics.”
Every step counts and actress Elnaaz Norouzi’s steps include exchanging clothes with her mom and cousins, donating those that she doesn’t wear and not buying something she already has. “A lot of people think that sustainable fashion is about leaving a luxurious life, but I feel knowing what you are wearing is also sustainable fashion. As a part of the glamour industry, we need to work towards sustainability with our choice of clothes, makeup and even what we eat. Like I always use organic items on my hair because the waste goes into the water. I have also chosen to be a vegetarian. I have stopped using single-use plastic bottles. And I make it a point to not get the scripts printed; we already have a phone. We can easily go paperless.”
As for actor Amar Upadhyay, he feels, “I avoid taking a shower bath. Even while shaving, I take a mug of hot water instead of keeping the tap running as most people do.We need to protect our environment in any way we can. In fact, even the incense sticks that I use don’t have wood in them.”
Likewise, in her personal life, Shirley Setia does things that have become a part of her lifestyle. “Beyond clothes and looks, how we conduct ourselves on a day-to-day basis also has a huge impact. I reuse my old wardrobe, don’t take long showers, never leave AC or light and fans on when not required; walk when I can, use cloth bags for grocery shopping and do not waste food or water.”
Shifting the focus to the brand level, fashion designer Seema Gujral believes, “We only use recyclable material for packaging and avoid single-use plastic. We also have a strict ‘no-waste’ policy where the fabric cut-outs are used as lining or for our internal usage. These transitions help us emphasise the importance of water conservation and waste-treatment.” Luxury fashion designer Pankaj and Nidhi reiterate the thought of collective action. They echo, “We’ve realised how prudent and imperative it is to design sharp and focused collections — reduce waste by designing less and ensuring each sample and each stitch and each cut of cloth counts.”