The movement to make the fashion industry ecologically sustainable has been ongoing for a while now. But, with the COVID outbreak, the demand for the industry to adopt sustainability as a whole and not just in parts, has accelerated. A few voices from the industry talks about how post-COVID-19, sustainability will evolve as the central driving factor and not just an additional element.
Gautam Gupta, Designer
Sustainability in fashion is a comprehensive subject and it boils down to procuring yarns and fibres naturally and then making fabric and the end garment, with least harm to nature and being fair to the workforce involved. It should be the main focus as we have already seen what imbalance acts previously did to our nature. We cannot afford for more unfair practices to continue as the damages will be irreversible. We should not buy without asking questions on the supply chain and processes as well.
Mandeep Nagi, Design Director, Shades of India
For us, at Shades of India, sustainability has meant providing livelihoods whilst sustaining and celebrating handmade textile crafts. It has always been at our core and never really an additional element. That said, the rhetoric is already changing, from cancelled fashion shows to compelling narratives to buy from home grown brands, where the supply chain will be more transparent. One can also see a change in consumer sentiment, which started in January itself this year. At a time when businesses are fighting for survival, and adapting to the environment, sustainability will be a driving factor, so it cannot be an afterthought anymore.
Nanki Papneja, Founder and Creative Director at Limerick by Abirr n’ Nanki
From fewer fashion weeks to helping fast fashion slow down, post COVID-19, the fashion industry is set to see sustainability take the centerstage. The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries and with this pandemic a reckoning has come for all of us. It’s time for brands to commit to a responsible resource use and rebuild the whole fashion ecosystem based on responsibility, sustainability and respect.
Payal Jain, Designer
COVID-19 has come as a serious wake up call and change is the only way for us to sustain and survive. Let us become conscious of the needs of our planet and understand the difference between need and greed. We need to be mindful of what we buy, how much we use and discard, and how much goes into the landfill. Let us together reduce, recycle, revive and reinvent.
Ruchi Sally, Managing Director of Melissa India
The industry needs to think about what’s at stake right now. Consecut-ively, in another 20 to 30 years the fashion industry will be unrecognisable if any of the predictions about climate change, environmental stress and depletion of finite natural resources come true. Countries like India and Vietnam, the biggest fashion manufacturing hubs, are affected by rising sea levels. The idea of take, make and waste is not a choice and any business model that operates on single use of resources is going to be indefensible. Being sustainable is the only way forward. Remake and recycle; it would be an utter lunacy to think it as additional element when the complete industry is at stake.
Rhea Rastogi, Founder at Label Rhea Pillai Rastogi
Now, more than ever, the fashion industry needs to alter its course and switch to sustainable practices, a conscious shift amongst designers and other people of influence in the fashion fraternity. The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic will launch a wave of change in consumer behaviour and although businesses will take a few months, if not more, to regain its standing, the need to slowly but surely adapt sustainable practices into everyday operations is paramount to ensure a better future. Sustainability in fashion is deemed as arduous and expensive, a concept that can change only with easier accessibility to knowledge on the same. And extensive workshops being the answer.
Manjula Gandhi, Head of Design & Merchandising, Numero Uno
The keywords that will be relevant in post-COVID times are authenticity, responsibility and compassion. As responsible brands it will be good for us to press the reset button and adopt business practices that will keep our environment and our customers safe. So, be it sourcing eco-friendly raw materials, employing non-polluting and worker-friendly production processes, reducing seasonality in clothing, innovating and adopting technology judiciously and deliver closer to season, recycling and reusing to reduce discarded clothing and keeping land, air and oceans clean and healthy. …that’s the way forward.