Described as ‘quality-based production’ over time-based, the term, Slow Fashion was coined by Author, Design Activist and Professor, Kate Fletcher. With ‘Reuse, Swap, Rent, Repeat’ being the trend set for 2021, renting outfits for specific occasions has been a secondary, yet adaptive move. With awareness regarding Slow Fashion gaining momentum within the country, the position of sustainable fashion brands holds accountability for 1%.
With eco-friendly clothing, comes the concept of Slow Fashion. It is a concept, wherein the needs of the people, environment, and animals are met and prove to be a boon for the environment. It incorporates a slower production module, collections in smaller batches, and zero-waste designs. Slow Fashion brands focus upon refilling the pit holes, dug in by the producers of Fast Fashion.
In terms of Slow Fashion reachability, the concept of Fast fashion receives all the credit. But Slow Fashion brands seem to contradict. “Instagram is an aggregator. There is a huge wave of Slow Fashion awareness on Instagram. It is slow for now, but things will get better,” said Suyash Gupta, the Founder of WOBH, New Delhi. The company works with a network of garment factories, and their by-products are converted.
Moreover, coming towards the shift that it will bring into the market, Neha Kabra, the Founder of Maati said,
“I think the shift has started, but making more and more people aware is the only solution. Adding a sense of quality over quantity is the need of the hour. By making trends and cloth-repetition normal, the trend can be brought about in a swift way.”
The survey by the India Sustainability Report 2020: Science and Sentiment, conducted by The Voice of Fashion highlighted that about 57% of the respondents were well-aware of sustainable fashion and the remaining 18% agreed on fashion equating to global pollution.
The engagement that Slow Fashion brands receive has been steadily catching up its pace, against Fast Fashion. “We only attract a certain kind of people who do not look at a certain price. Due to the price range, we only manage to attract a limited demographic who believe in sustainability. The norm in the industry is to produce more in a shorter period of time,” added Gupta. In terms of reachability and engagement, Slow Fashion brands have been slowly but surely, making their mark higher on the graph. But how many existing brands are moving towards the concept of sustainable and ethical fashion?
Adding on to the survey, it highlighted that major players in the industry, including Bata, Raymond, Sabyasachi, and Nykaa chose to decline in being a part of ethical business. Whereas, Forest Essentials and Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd (ABFRL) voluntarily stepped forward. In this overlap of Slow Fashion over the standards of Fast Fashion, 6% of the younger millennials showed a keen interest in upcycling or recycling, 22% stated that they refrained from wearing a garment more than once and 36% confessed that they bought new clothes to show off amongst their peer groups.
“In India, the recycling procedures are either non-existent or not useful. We have a team of artisans, who have suffered from the output of Fast Fashion. In turn, we make something that is durable and lasts longer,” said Gupta.
“With regards to Slow Fashion, it is all about the quality, fair pay, eco-conscious and better lifestyle for one and many. Fast fashion, on the contrary, is all about exploitation and mass consumption with mass disposal adding onto landfills,” said Kabra.
To conclude, the terms, ‘Sustainability’ and ‘eco-friendly’ are misused. While ‘eco-friendly’ is not defined in broader terms and avoids any harm caused to the planet, ‘Sustainability,’ is defined in broader terms and has a scope of thought. It hopes to keep the environment in check for future generations. Until and unless the fast fashion giants do not diminish their large-scale production, they will continue to dig pit holes with post-production waste.
In 2021, we have seen the Lakme Fashion Week showcase brands including Cocccon, which focused upon strict organic methods, zero-carbon waste measures, and techniques. Similarly, if people were to believe in investing in Slow Fashion brands, not only would it last them longer, but it would also save the country from massive pollution. Moreover, the way people are finding fast fashion as their only resort to rely upon, the fashion industry would soon have to shut down, if concerns raise. Let us all agree to the fact that fast fashion is an aggregator that drives the industry towards a black hole, that might suck us all into it, someday.