Slow Fashion: Minding One’s Carbon Footprint While Dressing Up

WhyOnEarth logo mobEditor’s Note: Are you bothered by the drastic changes in our climate, causing extreme weather events and calamities such as the Kerala Floods? #WhyOnEarth aims to take the truth to the people with stories, experiences, opinions and revelations about the climate change reality that you should know, and act on. Have a story to share? Click here and publish.

Years back shopping meant a visit to the market to purchase a few clothes that served the purpose for a whole year. As times changed, even the meaning of shopping did. From what was restricted to a couple of clothes for a whole year, shopping now means a fortnightly affair. Now we need to shop again and again for different occasions – for parties, college, office, get togethers, marriage etc. Different clothes serve different purpose. We need a variety in casuals, semi-formals, formals, Indian wear, western wear and even sports wear.

The priority is to look stylish, gorgeous, handsome, classy and trendy. In college, girls want to flaunt jeans, skirts, dresses and shorts paired with a variety of tee shirts and accessories. In office, men want to wear nothing less than a Koutons, as ladies show off Sabhyata and Westside. More so, as the season of weddings arrives. There is a rush to the magnificent stores where one can indulge in gorgeous sarees and lehengas during this season. Today, fashion is not just for the grown ups but also for new borns. Mothers want their newly borns to be dressed in Liliput or UCB. Fashion has evolved itself for everyone and for every occasion. It is no longer restricted by age or gender.

Fashion has had such a deep impact on people, that often the topic of discussion between ladies is what to wear and where to buy. Gone are the days when one suit served the purpose of attending office and a party. Today office means sophisticated suits and parties mean exotic clothes. If someone does end up repeating her clothes at any occasion, then only God save her from being the topic of discussion.

So we indulge in shopaholism as the importance of brands increase and end up shopping frequently. We are easily swayed by latest designs and recent collections, and lured by the tag of being a stylish person.

But do we understand the carbon footprint of such an attitude? Do we understand the deep dark side of this habit of indulging in shopping? Even if we do, do we do anything to change it? The answer to perhaps all questions is a NO. At a time when environment has become the centre of all discussions – from industrial activity to commonwealth games, we need to realize that it is also at the nucleus of fashion.

The irony is that while on one hand we buy hoards of clothes every year, there is a large proportion of the world population which does not even have clothes to cover their body! According to World Bank census, around 1.4 billion people worldwide do with only a pair or two of clothes in a year.

With the growing concern of environmental damage and emphasis on carbon footprints we need to analyze if we are doing our bit to save the environment. The answer to this comes in the form of a movement of ‘Slow fashion’. Why do we need to buy different clothes for different occasions? Why do we judge a person only by the variety of clothes he wears? Why do we get lured so easily by the recent collections and changing trends? Why can’t we keep the big picture in mind and understand the impact of such an attitude?

Let’s become smart shoppers and understand that the clothes should be used to their full capacity. Let us join the new wave of ‘slow fashion’. Slow fashion, as the name suggests, is a concept which focuses on more optimal use of clothes. It promotes less frequent shopping. It is a revolution of ideas and habits which encourage a shift from indulging in shopping to restricting the purchase of clothes. In fact slow fashion is also endorsed by some of the leading brands. Levi Strauss & Co. and Forum for the Future have collaborated to form Fashion Futures which calls for support of the industry to keep climate change in mind and coming up with more sustainable forms of fashion. Levis hence takes pride in the fact that they believe in making all their garments environmentally stable.

Let us also take pride in the fact that we don’t indulge in fashion just for the sake of it and purchase clothes when in dire need of it. Slow fashion might not be the complete answer to the problem, but it is definitely a beginning. If we do shop less frequently, the consumption of energy for this purpose would also reduce. This energy can then be diverted to more purposeful use like production of food. We need to understand that we are consuming more than the need all in the name of fashion!

As humans we have justification for everything we do, but it is time to take a decision now. Just remember keeping environment in mind never goes out of style.

Similar Posts

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below