The fashion world is becoming organic with both big and small-scale fashion retailers, such as H&M, Wills Lifestyle, W and Akira Ming, opting for organic materials, natural dyes and designs to minimise wastage. For example, in February 2019, ITC owned fashion retailer WLS (formerly Wills Lifestyle) announced that henceforth all its garments will be made of natural fabrics and will be fully biodegradable. Even their threads, buttons and labels will consist of purely natural elements.
Use of ‘green’ fabrics
TCNS Clothing Co owned apparel brand W launched a ‘Yolo’ collection made from environment-friendly fabrics. Similarly, fast fashion brand H&M, has vowed to use cotton from only sustainable sources by 2020 besides shifting to recycled and other sustainably sourced materials by 2030. The brand currently sells sustainable clothing through the “Conscious" line made from Tencel blends, recycled polyester and sustainably-sourced cotton voile and linen blends. It is committed to become climate positive by 2040 for its entire value chain.
Reinventing manufacturing process
However, the industry cannot achieve its goal sustainability just by using organic fabrics. It also needs to adopt ethical manufacturing process. For this, slow fashion brands need to use vegetable dyes instead of chemical dyes and water-based binders instead of petroleum binders for printing on cloth. They also need to innovate with clothes design. Organic fabrics are not as elastic like factory-produced material and hence, provide more space for innovations in designs. Divya Ahluwalia, Founder of fashion label Akira Ming which sells clothing made of khadi and silk with wooden, mother of pearl or coconut shell buttons on Etsy.com, reveals designing these garments not only leads to minimal wastage but also boosts recycling.
As fast fashion brands continue to fuel consumption among growing markets such as India, excess inventory and garment disposal by consumers pose a serious problem. To deal with this, brands need to formalise sustainability efforts through globally accepted policies and regulation. Only then can we truly hope for a sustainable future.