CHENNAI: Standing in the mall, you notice that a white shirt looks amazing with the flattering lights and mirrors. You buy it, only for it to collect dust with the red trousers, checkered blue t-shirt and all the other clothes you bought with the intent of wearing. The black hole of unworn clothes continues to grow in the dark recesses of your closet, and the five shirts you always wear snigger at the new, still-labelled clothes.
To counter this phenomenon as well as to tackle the ecological effects of fast fashion, Netherlands-based organisation CollAction began Slow Fashion Season in 2018. This challenge motivates the participants to not buy any new clothes for three months.
“The challenge asks people to not buy any new clothes starting from June 21 to September 21. They are encouraged instead to borrow, mend or stitch their existing wardrobe. The objective of this is for consumers to be more aware of the ecological impact of their choices,” says Dhawal Mane, chief volunteer of GreenStitched, a Bengaluru-based organisation that is the regional coordinator of the challenge. He explains how the participation of at least 10,000 would greatly reduce the environmental impact of fast fashion — with participants saving 360 million litres of water and preventing 1.4 million kilograms of CO2 emissions.
For Mumbai-based Divya Ravichandran, founder of Skrap, a waste management organisation for firms, this challenge is one that will spread awareness among consumers and corporations. “Think about the value of a clothing item before you make a purchase, and cut down on frivolous material that you know you’re not going to wear. Asking yourself the question, ‘Do I really need this?’ is very important. For corporations, investing more money in R&D for this is crucial. They should adopt more sustainable business models,” she says.
Workshops, seminars and meet-ups will be held across the country for people to meet and exchange clothing, as well as to discuss their experience thus far. The Slow Fashion Season Facebook page also offers methods and ways to smoothly complete this challenge. Mane adds that people are encouraged to document their progress with the hashtag #SlowFashionSeason across Instagram and Facebook.
To register for this challenge, visit slowfashionseason.org. Registrations are open until June 21.