BENGALURU: As we emerge from the pandemic and its multi-layered impact on the world, we cannot ignore a relevant topic of discussion in the fashion industry today: Can our fashion choices change the world? As I researched this further, I was surprised to find that most slow fashion, earth-friendly brands are spearheaded by millennials. Growing up in the ‘80s, I realised that our generation, unfortunately, became a part of the ‘fast fashion’ globalisation moment, wherein an accelerated fashion business model demanded increased numbers of new collections every year. Our continuous accumulation of cheap garments available at reduced prices has had serious consequences on our planet, our health and on the garment workers’ lives.
As quoted by fashion blogger Julie Write, “If the ‘80s were dominated by Madonna-esque vibrant colours, and the ‘90s defined by plaid tops and distressed jeans, the current trend for the typical fashionable millennial is individuality.”Here are a few millennials who are shaping the way our fashion world works and pivoting fashion towards a more sustainable future for the planet and its people and creating minimal carbon footprints.
PA.NI, founded by Leila Veerasamy, is a swimwear label with a vision to destigmatise swimwear and women’s bodies by designing a product that is inclusive of all body types. Veerasamy says, “We are committed to choosing the sustainable alternative for every step of our supply chain. We source our fabric responsibly and exclusively work with nylon-based fabric composed mostly of econyl, a yarn made from ghost nets that have been discarded in water during the fishing process.
Damaged nets are routinely abandoned and pose both an immediate and long-term environmental risk: they’ve proven to be choking hazard for marine life and constitute the biggest source of plastic in the ocean today, with more than 6,40,000 tonnes of nets. By working exclusively with econyl-based fabric, we contribute to a greater conservation effort of over-exploited fishing areas and reduce the environmental impact of swimwear production.”
Closer home, in Bangalore, millennials are working to create fashion with a purpose. Sayesha Sachdev, founder of the label Core, has changed the stereotype image of sustainable fashion being anti-fit and drab to a refreshing shift of structured, well-tailored, versatile yet functional garments. They use a wide range of green fabrics from hemp, rose petals, orange, aloe vera, soybean protein... the list is quite exhaustive. Says Sayesha, “We want our garments to be an alternative to your fast fashion choice. We want to use our platform to make these fabrics more accessible to people and show them alternatives to more commonly found materials like polyesters and synthetics.”
Gehna Manglani, 21, and Nihal Manglani, 26, founded Doori, which means ‘distance’. Doori masks are manufactured using made-to-order organic cotton fabrics, finished with anti-bacterial, anti-microbial fabric treatments supplied by HealthGuard Australia. The notion behind the brand’s name was to acknowledge and bring to light the distance that each of us is experiencing. A part of its proceeds go towards supporting migrant workers.
Despite millennials driving the sustainable movement forward, we still have a long way to go as consumers to make eco fashion a part of our daily consumption. Fashion is a form of expressing our beliefs and it’s time we make ours count.(The author is a lifestyle consultant and mindful fashion advocate)