You’ll probably have your feed full of posts this week about environmental issues and what you should be doing to save the planet from every influencer and brand that you follow. With days like the UN World Environment Day, which is on June 5th by the way, becoming more and more hyped – what does it truly mean and is it driving any real change or meaningful conversations? We hope it does!
The fact is that we do need to address and do a lot of damage control, and it all starts with awareness. The theme of this year and this entire decade (2021–2030) set by the United Nations, very aptly is ‘Ecosystem Restoration’ focusing on the protection and revival of ecosystems all around the world, for the benefit of people and nature. Only with healthy ecosystems can people’s livelihoods be enhanced, climate change counteracted, and we can prevent further damage to biodiversity. Don’t we all agree that this is the need of the hour?
The theme of the decade resonates with the ethos of I was a Sari. Our mission is to create soulful products that empower people and respect the planet. The very fact that we are “I was a Sari” – means we started our journey with pre-existing material, the saris that were already part of this ecosystem. If we used virgin fabric and dyes our carbon footprint and water usage would be off the charts. We source our Saris from the Waghris, a nomadic community of India that travels door to door collecting clothes from people in exchange for household items.
All our products are produced by female artisans who have not let their origins stop them. We train women from disadvantaged communities to become skilled artisans and designers of their own future. We believe in giving second chances, a new beginning for the pre-loved saris and the artisans. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support from our beloved community, who make a conscious choice and purchase from us which goes beyond the sustainable planet-friendly product.
If you are still reading this, it shows you care about the environment and might be wondering how you too can bring in change. Give yourself a pat on the back, because acknowledging the need to change is the most crucial stepping stone and you did it!
All you need to begin with is to make mindful fashion choices. Trust us, adapting mindful choices doesn’t really imply changing one’s lifestyle or wardrobe completely, it might be a very simple small change by you but its effect is way more amplified when more people also implement it.
Wondering what kind of small steps to turn to? We bring you an interesting list :
Think before you buy – The 30 wears test
Livia Firth, the founder of Eco Age (a company that certifies brands for their sustainability) began the #30Wears campaign to encourage everyone to only buy an item if we really know that we’ll wear it a minimum of 30 times.
And for the products that you already own but don’t use, have you considered upcycling or repurposing them into something which you need?
By upcycling, you will be ensuring that they don’t end up in landfills. At the same time, by repurposing material instead of buying new products, you are also ensuring that virgin resources that are already scarce are not over consumed. It’s a win-win for you and the planet!
Be more aware – What is it made of?
There are types of fabric that are more eco-friendly than the rest, and if you are informed and have a choice, you will choose better.
It’s hard to visualise all of the inputs that go into producing garments, but let’s take denim as an example. The UN estimates that a single pair of jeans requires a kilogram of cotton. And because cotton tends to be grown in dry environments, producing this kilo requires about 7,500–10,000 litres of water. That’s about 10 years’ worth of drinking water for one person.
But this doesn’t mean you eliminate denim from your wardrobe altogether, but maybe now you would buy just a pair of good quality jeans rather than an entire range most of which wouldn’t even make it out of your wardrobe.
Step out of the traditional shopping habits
Most times we don’t shop for new clothes out of necessity but for the mere need of change, we all have been there! For these undying urges, try something new, like :
– Organize a clothing swap
– Do the planet a favour by swapping your clothes with friends or co-workers. This way is super easy and fun and organizing such a swap can be a guilt-free excuse for socializing.
– Shop vintage
– Shop from thrift stores
Quality over quantity
Try investing in some better quality and trans-seasonal pieces instead of spending on many items that won’t last as long. Reducing plays an important step towards a sustainable life in fashion.
It is better to repair your garments instead of recycling them as it helps in extending the life of the clothes. It will reduce the carbon footprint caused by an unsustainable rate of fashion production and consumption. Good for your wallet and the planet!
Be responsible while shopping online
Returning items can effectively double the emissions from transporting your goods, and if you factor in failed collections and deliveries, that number can grow further. A simple way to reduce the footprint from online shopping then is to only order what we really want and intend to keep.
Ask yourself – Do I want to support this brand?
You might have to go an extra mile to figure this out, but being a conscious consumer you might want to know their social and environmental practices, if any. This could range from using eco-friendly raw materials, transparent production and supply chain, fair wages, cause-driven to a lot more. In the end, it’s your choice whether to make a purchase from a brand that cares or a brand that just cares about fast fashion ignoring basic labor rights.
Donating, Recycling, Selling
We need to think of the value that clothes still have even after we get rid of them. They would be great, for instance, as donations for vulnerable people who cannot afford such purchases. All you have to do is make sure the clothes you donate are clean and in good condition. If it’s a product that you don’t fit into or have barely worn, you may choose to sell your clothes to second-hand stores and events. Otherwise, you could drop them at an apparel recycling program. Companies have started to explore innovative ways of introducing used textiles back into production cycles as input for new clothes.
There are so many ways you can contribute to a greener today and tomorrow. A great way would be to start this conversation with friends over a cup of coffee and let them also join in.
Here’s to celebrating environment day every day!