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Fashion with a conscience

Last updated: 04 June, 2009
Madhuri Kalyan 10:03 IST

Metrolife speaks to fashion experts on Environment Day to find out how to make fashion greener and more ethical


When it comes to fashion, most of us don’t mind shelling that extra buck or two. But would we do the same to promote ethical and environmental issues?

Fashionistas and fashion experts world over have taken this stance and have proved that green is not just a mere colour trend in fashion, but a revolution, where to be environmental friendly and ethical is fashionable and vice-versa. So why has this sudden awareness kicked into the haute couture, when fashion has always had reputation of being not so ethical.

Says Swati Khandelwal, a fashion designing student from NIFT, “every little action of ours has serious repucussions to the environment or a social issue, and we, as fashion designers, need to make people aware of the consequences, as fashion is a universal platform.”

The movement snowballed into international runways when fashion designers started taking a strong stance on ethical fashion, according to Stella McCartney, one of the top fashion designers who designs an exclusive line of designer organic clothing, “why shouldn’t it be possible to adopt a more natural, organic lifestyle without forgoing luxury? I believe it’s possible to have all these things without compromising your personal beliefs and the safety of the environment,” she said while launching her organic line. Designer Namrata G feels strongly about being eco-friendly, as well, but feels, it should be more a part of one’s attitude. “I have stopped using plastics, and have been using Khadi a lot, but for me going green is not necessarily about fashion, but adopting a certain lifestyle which is not just for the sake of keeping up with the trend.”

For Reema Prasanna, another self-confessed fashion junkie, it’s a natural progression towards a healthier lifestyle. “I normally wear clothes made in natural fabric like jute, khadi, cane wear, bamboo-based fabric and organic cotton clothes and bags. Twenty five percent of the world's pesticides are used to grow non-organic cotton. It is hard to believe that we are wearing toxic products on our bodies. That's why I look for the tag 'organic cotton' when I go shopping. Also, I don't shop extravagantly, I believe in ‘hand-me-downs’ within the family and I pass on my old clothes that are in good condition to orphanages. I understand that most brands that manufacture organic fashion extensively are not Indian. But there is hope and things are gradually getting better.
This will hopefully keep getting better as more and more people opt in to flaunt fashion that is sustainable. After all, it’s cool to be eco-sensible!”

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