CHENNAI: It takes 2,720 litres of water to make one t-shirt. Polyester takes 20-200 years to decompose. About 7,000 gallons of water are needed to produce one pair of jeans. But after consuming and wasting all these resources, and doing irreversible damage, about 40 per cent of the clothing we buy sits idly on our shelves, unused. This is why Mrs India Pageants has decided to be a part of the solution and not part of the pollution,” says Deepali Phadnis, director, Mrs India Pageants.
In an attempt to bring a change and create awareness, Deepali has sounded the bugle for a war on textile pollution. In the 2019-2020 edition of the pageant, she called for a paradigm shift in how participants buy, use and dispose of their clothes. “I decided to introduce the concept of restyling, where available clothes can be redesigned and reused.
This way, we reduce textile pollution,” says the Mrs Asia International 2012 winner. Mrs India 2019-2020 participants showcased their restyled garments as part of the first round of the grand finale that was held between September 13 and 16. This change, Deepali says, will open up a dialogue on choosing sustainable fashion over fast fashion. Along the awareness trail, her organisation also hopes to protect heritage and handloom weaves and the weaver community.
“The finalists promoted local tourism by talking about their culture and local weaves, and also created awareness about textile pollution. This is a first in any beauty pageant,” she explains. According to Deepali, every thread has an emotion and a story to tell. “These are stories that need to be told. For instance, our finalists wore clothes that were generations old. The winner, Priyanka Abhishek recreated a Ravi Varma painting as her look with a 90-year-old family heirloom silk sari. Another winner, Nimisha Saxena, created a look with reused and environmentally sustainable fabrics. She dressed like a mermaid to bring attention to water pollution due to the textile industry.
The contamination due to effluents and everyday microfibers has started destroying aquatic life,” she rues. Through this initiative, Deepali hopes to reach 60,000 women in the next few years. “Change cannot happen in a day. But if all the participants are exposed to the pollution the industry makes, they can initiate the conversation with their kith and kin. A ripple effect is what we are looking at. This is our way of doing out bit for the environment,” she says. The registrations for Mrs India 2020-2021 are open. To register, visit: mrsindia.net