In the year 2019, the Amazon rainforest, also known as the lungs of the Earth, was set on fire destroying a large area of the rainforest. Along with many others, American actor Leonardo DiCaprio donated $5 million to preserve the rainforest. Australia’s bushfires, which are still raging, have become a global concern. Climate change is no longer a distant reality. We are experiencing the effects of global warming. Unless every individual makes an effort, we cannot save our planet from catastrophes.
American actor, Joaquin Phoenix, who won the Best Actor Award at Golden Globes 2020 for his role in Joker, mentioned that he would wear the same tuxedo throughout the award season. Keeping his promise, he wore the same Stella McCartney suit for the 2020 Critics’ Choice Awards on Sunday night. Besides his acting prowess, Phoenix certainly deserves a big round of applause for his thoughtful gesture. We need more such celebrities to come up with smart ideas and inspire others to help build a green planet.
Pune-based young fashion experts, who have appreciated the actor’s ingenuity, share their thoughts on sustainable clothing.
Fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogger Nikita Verma appreciates the initiative taken by the ‘Joker’. “I would love to join hands with his initiative. This is for the welfare of Earth and humanity, so why not?” says she.
Providing zero harm to the environment in every possible way and avoiding depletion of natural resources is what Verma believes in. “The fabrics come from nature and uses power for processing. With fashion trends changing every now and then, what we should do is buy a few clothes and style them in different ways. This way, we can help save the environment and spend less on clothes too,” she says.
Being an influencer and youth of the country, she inspires people to be fashionable yet conscious by giving tips on using one dress for different occasions. “I love wearing handloom apparel like kurta with woven designs, handloom sarees, bohemian dresses, tops and skirts etc,” says Verma, adding that she promotes sustainable fashion through her Instagram posts and blogs. Giving examples, she says that one can use a long stitched kurti as a maxi dress. “Put on a belt, wear some jewellery and a contrasting scarf. Also, use the same kurti and pair it with denim pants, palazzos or traditional churidar and a dupatta,” she suggests.
“Personally, I style the dress using different accessories like belts, bags, and pieces of jewellery. It makes the piece of clothing look new and unique. For example, I can wear a blazer with trousers or jeans as well as I can pair it with a dress,” Verma says while giving away style tips.
The fashion industry has caused harm to the environment. Therefore, people should opt for handloom apparel. “Handloom has many advantages like less capital is involved, the use of power is minimal and it is eco-friendly. According to me, the use of social media marketing by the handloom industries can increase awareness about handloom products and boost its sales,” she says.
Be a smart buyer
A fashionista by heart and an education counsellor by profession, Rubiya Sonawala, says the concept of minimalism changed her thinking about fashion. “While growing up, many a time, I heard my mom say how she grew up with very less clothing options. To be honest, today’s youngsters do not put much thought into minimalist living,” she says, adding, “Sustainability focuses on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their needs.”
Being a conscious youngster, she understands the consequences of excess plastic on Earth. “I personally do not prefer using plastic bags. Whenever I go shopping, I always carry reusable shopping bags with me,” says Sonawala adding that she believes in smart buying. “Try to buy second-hand, ethical, organic and long-lasting items,” she says. Giving examples of how she styles her regular clothes to make them fancy and attractive, Sonawala says, “The most common dressing item is a plain white/ black basic top and I try to accessorise it with different bottoms or jewellery. Another favourite style is to wear a long loose shirt. I wear it with leggings and add a belt to give it a shape and hold it. One can choose the belt as per their taste and body type. Sometimes, I just tie it up like a crop shirt and pair it with high waist jeans.”
Speaking about the effects of the fashion industry on the environment, she says that spreading awareness is important, and every individual needs to do their bit.
Do your bit
“Usually, actors wear different and exclusive outfits throughout the award season and never repeat. This does send the wrong message of wearing a new outfit for every occasion. So it’s really commendable for an actor like Joaquin Phoenix to raise awareness for conserving and repeating clothes,” says Prachiti Shinde, a student of fashion design. She hopes the masses, who look up to celebrities like Phoenix and other conscious individuals, do take inspiration.
The fashion industry is one of the largest producers of waste. Using organic, natural fibres, natural dyes are a few possible ways to lessen the impact on environment.
“My efforts are minuscule in the large scheme of things. Consciously buying pieces that can be mixed and matched to create different looks is a sensible way of staying fashionable,” says Shinde, adding, “Simple gestures like throwing trash in the bin, using cloth instead of plastic bags, using less electricity during the day, using tiffin boxes instead of containers for takeaway food at restaurants, taking bath from a bucket instead of a shower can help save the environment.”
Telling us about her participation at Lakme Launch Pad, organised for the students of INIFD (International Institute of Fashion Design) in Mumbai, she says, “Being the most sustainable and resilient material, denim was my first choice. I upcycled denim for my designs and teamed it with cotton matte cloth. The white matte cloth was embellished with colourful Kasuti and Kantha work. I changed the traditional motifs a bit and added neon threads to the mix. The garments were casual wear. I also made denim accessories and hand-painted canvas shoes. The denim belt clutch was the judges’ favourite. The end result was an ensemble that was sustainable and wearable.”
Shinde is confident that the new generation of designers can promote sustainable fashion. “We need to start using more handloom fabrics and promote it through our work. Several established designers and fashion leaders are doing their bit by using handloom and bringing handloom workers into the limelight. More such initiatives will help,” she concludes.