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Reuse, Reduce, Recycle: Coronavirus Sparks Fashion Sustainability As The Way Forward

Amidst the COVID-19 lockdown, one thing is certain; it's a wake-up call to start respecting mother nature. The hustle-bustle of every city has come to a standstill but on the brighter side, the sky is blue, animals are coming back to their natural habitat, with less air space traffic carbon emissions are reducing, and everyone is adopting slow living that is allowing the environment time to heal and take over.

Once we get back to our daily life, we must ask - what does a fashion consumer look like post-covid-19? As a responsible citizen, you all can make a contribution in a small yet impactful manner; fashion sustainability that includes reusing, reducing and recycling your clothes. The way forward now is all about sustainable fashion, fewer pieces that are versatile and that will last you longer. With a money crunch, it's essential to know where to put your money while making the best use of your already existing wardrobe.

Bandana Tewari quoted in Business Of Fashion "Sustainability will now be an act of conscious living, whereby we acknowledge that 'more and more,' 'faster, not fewer' and 'bigger is better' will not sustain us anymore." She perfectly summed up what the future of fashion would be and it's time we accept this fact.

As fast fashion consumers, we’re quick to pick up things that catch our eye and equally fast in discarding them. While this vicious cycle may help one look fashion-forward, have you ever stopped to wonder how it’s impacting our planet? The quantity of clothes that end up in the landfills is alarming. Not only are the clothes going to waste but also water, electricity and all the other resources used to create those garments, and it’s high time one takes action. During the time of COVID 19, it's time to embrace the idea of reuse, reduce and recycle. While sustainable fashion is a highly debated and covered topic in the media, what is sustainable fashion? Sustainable fashion can be defined as a movement fostering a change in the fashion system towards greater ecological integrity and social justice, to give back to the mother earth what it has given us. The idea is not linked to just products and textiles but it concerns the entire system of fashion. From manufactures to buyers, everyone can help contribute to a green future.

Following sustainable fashion is about making informed choices and the 3 R’s – reduce, reuse and recycle. Reduce, reuse and recycle should be the ideology for 2020 and as the first step towards achieving this, you should begin by de-cluttering your wardrobe. Eco-friendly, ethical and sustainable fashion is finally on the industry's agenda - and for many brands and designers, this has been a year of awakening. While we have taken note of the issue to be addressed, its time to throw light on one of the key factors that are causing this situation. One of the biggest culprits is fast fashion. Fast fashion is the need to constantly upgrade your wardrobe with the latest fashion trends; these clothes are usually made cheap to meet the demand of the latest fashion trend. Today, the world is more aware of the harmful effects of fast-fashion and is hence, moving towards the larger idea of sustainable fashion. Brand and consumers are slowly moving away from the idea of fast fashion and adopting a slow fashion lifestyle.

Reusing begins at home whether by brands or customers. High fashion brands and stores need to adopt the idea of taking back old clothes and re-vamping them to create new pieces – think patchwork, or up-cycling already existing pieces to create new silhouettes. Consumers, on the other hand, should begin by using their pieces more than just once, the idea is to invest in pieces that can be mixed and matched to create a brand new ensemble. Further, if one doesn’t like the silhouette, take it to your tailor and get it re-vamped into a completely new outfit.

Recycling can be linked-to swapping/borrowing clothes as well as up-cycling existing pieces. Further, investing in wardrobe staples will ensure you wear the outfit more than just once. Style the same lower with different tops or the same blouse with different bottoms, you can also opt to layer up to add a different touch. Brands need to help the consumer realize even if a t-shirt is stained or damaged making it the end of its life; it could likely be recycled into something else. Making this clear to the consumer is the key to making fashion more sustainable in the long run. Just like we’re doing away with single-use plastic and plastic in general from our lives, we should think about our clothes the same way. This thought should ultimately change the way we shop to realize the true value of every piece of clothing.


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