A range of engaging comic strips by seven Indian artists — Priyanka Paul, Aditi Mali, Manasi Deshpande, Mehek Malhotra, Vinu Joseph, Param Sahib and Sonali Bhasin — underline water consumption by the fashion industry. This group show by ReFashion Hub attempts to bring climate-action to fashion.
According to Mehek Malhotra, one of the artists involved in the initiative, “My artwork was made to start the conversation around how bad the ground reality of the fast fashion cycle really is. We can afford a Rs 300 T-shirt but cannot afford to repair the damage it does to the environment. Buying responsibly and investing in the right fabrics is the key to being more understanding of the environment.”
Similarly for Sonali Bhasin, whose artwork is a comment on the impact of wastewater from dyeing on the environment. “What if nature talked back? What if you could see the impact of every impulse-buy you have ever made, and how would that feel? Also, I really wanted to draw polka-dotted frogs,” she says.
Aditi Mali informs that she has stopped buying new clothes, “except for the time I got very sad and gave in to buying two pieces of clothing from Instagram thrift stores. Some of these stores are cool but most of them are gentrifying the whole thrifting thing which is anti-purpose,” she says, adding, “Not everyone can afford to go off fast fashion because of its accessibility, but there are inexpensive ways to stray away from. As for the comic, I just wanted the t-shirt to do the talking about how it comes to be and where it ends up being as the t-shirt knows more about its life than I do.”
Divya Thomas, representative of The ReFashion Hub, feels by 2050, fashion will become the second largest water polluter. “It is imperative for consumers to come together to talk about the consequences of fashion on climate, and how we can make fair fashion choices.”
The ReFashion Hub has also launched India’s first fellowship on wastewater stewardship called the Fashion Forward Fellowship. The five-week fellowship programme ends in April with one winning sustainable capsule collection.