Ecologically Conscious Clothing – 10 Ways to be Fashionable & Environment Friendly

Author: Yashraj Bhaiya, Director – Label Varsha

A popular saying is, “What goes around comes around”. By this logic, it is believed that if we care for nature, nature, in turn, will provide fruitful results for all our hard work. When we speak about ecological fashion; sustainable practices, environment-friendly clothes, and ‘social integrity in fashion’ top the list. In the past few decades, garments have become disposable items in our closets. The quality of the clothes we buy has decreased drastically. We have lost basic skills when it comes to sewing, stitching and we lack the time to mend damaged garments. Brands have now convinced us that we need to partake in new trends every season.

According to some statistics, the world’s textile consumption was at 95.6 million tons in 2015. 62.1% of which were oil-based synthetic fibers like polyester, 25.2% cellulosic and protein-based fibers like cotton, 6.4% wood-based cellulose fibers, 1.2% wool, and 1.5% consisted of other natural fibers.

There are numerous stages in the production process to create a single garment. The textile industry is a large consumer of water, energy, and chemicals required to produce fabric at these different stages.

With sustainability growing as a trend due to factors like climate change, and individuals becoming increasingly aware of the carbon footprints they leave behind on the earth we live in, specifically homegrown fashion brands are increasing their renewable and tenable ways.

In this age of changing views and perceptions, here are 10 ways to be fashionable and environment friendly:

  1. “Reduce, reuse and recycle” is the moto designers have been following ardently. Customers have been genuinely conscious about what their clothes are made of. About who makes their clothes, or what happens after you throw them away. Many upcoming designers have set their eyes on designing and recycling old clothes and turning them into brand new pieces ready for wear.
  1. The most essential way to be ecologically conscious is considered to be buying clothes that are preowned from a second-hand store which increases the lifespan of these items and decreases the demand for new clothes that will need to be produced; thus, lessening waste. Buying second-hand stuff should be normalized and not looked down upon. Dry-cleaning the items once or twice makes it is as beautiful as new.
  1. Some companies are embracing the growing sustainable fashion trends and offering more ethical and eco-friendly items. Label Varsha, for instance, stands solid on making clothes that are sustainable and eco-friendly. Brands like Upasana and House of Wandering Silk offer long-lasting, yet very trendy clothes.
  1. As iterated earlier, customers have been very curious about the type of clothes they tend to invest in. It is very important to research the fibers and materials used to make the clothes before you buy them. Look for natural fibers such as silk, linen, hemp, or bamboo, which are biodegradable and upscale at the same time whilst avoiding the synthetic ones like polyester, acrylic, and spandex which take decades to decompose.
  1. Always chose quality over quantity, you must have heard this saying and it is very applicable in the fashion industry too. Invest in higher-quality clothing that will stand the test of time, thus encouraging manufacturers to continue to produce high-quality items. Also, when you buy items of better quality, they last longer.
  1. Learn where to shop, what to shop, and how to prolong the life of the things you do buy. Having said this, unnecessary buying of clothes can lead to more generations of waste. The less we consume, the less waste will be created and it is no surprise that waste generated is directly proportional to the number of clothes we use. Shop smarter and repeat the clothes you wear!
  1. Jeans, T-shirts, classic dresses, timeless coats, and jackets will make for a more sustainable wardrobe. You could always turn to clothes which can be used all year round. Seasonal clothes have to be a big NO if you want to switch to sustainable fashion. However attractive the fast fashion idea may be, it can never do any good for the environment. As mentioned earlier, the textile consumption was 95.6 million tons back in 2015 and it is pretty obvious that the graph hasn’t gone down since then.
  1. Exchanging or donating clothes is a good cause in itself. Rather than leaving those clothes hanging in your wardrobe consider donating them. It will help others adopt sustainable ways, who will invest in your old pieces, rather than buying something new – live by the mantra that every time you buy something, you’ll donate something else in your wardrobe. 
  1. The use of animal furs, leather, and exotic animal skins for clothes and fashion accessories had been a tragic trend over the years. However, in the modern era, designers from all over the world have stepped forward to be part of a market that avoids cruelty and is animal-free. Vegan clothes are committed to reducing the negative impacts on the whilst still wanting to bring style fit for the fashion world. As a buyer, one must avoid non-vegan purchases as it encourages multi-faced environmental issues.
  1. Local clothing is far more environmentally friendly than the ones made in factories in abundance. Cotton woven clothes made in small-scale industries and local hand-loom stores lower the carbon footprint of the fashion industry on the environment. Apart from serving the ecological system, supporting local businesses can boost the economy which is essential in a developing country like India.

Eco-conscious fashion is the wave of the future and to make that possible, designers have come up with revolutionary ideas of collaborating ethics with aesthetics. Quoting Emma Watson, “As consumers, we have so much power to change the world by just being careful in what we buy.”

About the Author

Yashraj Bhaiya is a graduate in Fashion Design from NIFT Gandhinagar. He heads Label Varsha, a textile manufacturer that has dominance over wholesale and retail distribution channels as well as B2C channels via an e-commerce website.

Yashraj Bhaiya actively contributes and lays emphasis on sustainability in fashion and hiring/promoting local artisans work in the field of textile fashion!

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