In this fast-changing world, words like eco-friendly, organic, home-made can be heard everywhere. People, brands are switching from plastics to paper, saving food, electricity, water in whatever conscious ways they can. But what about the clothes we wear? Aren’t they damaging the environment? Well, research suggests that the $2.5 trillion global fashion industry is responsible for 10 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions. Fast fashion is extremely dangerous to the environment, it is made out of chemicals and synthetic fabrics, that takes years to decompose.
Jeans or a t-shirt you wear every day might take years together to decompose. To produce these, everyday clothing gallons of water is used. And chances are that these clothes are worn only a few times before getting dumped at a landfill. Every year, almost 50 thousand tons of synthetic dye is discharged into global water systems from textile industries. The fashion and textile industry is the 2nd most polluting industry in the world after oil and gas.
But, we cannot stop wearing clothes, right? Then what should we do? The answer is to switch to sustainable fashion. Sustainability is becoming a table stake. During the pandemic, the fashion industry experienced a shift from fast to green fashion. In India, the concept of Local for Vocal, under the umbrella of ‘Aatmanirvar Bharat’ was introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where he encouraged the citizens to buy goods from the local sellers.
India is the land of rich, culture and heritage, that is well-preserved by our tribal artisans who till today produce handmade, organic, eco-friendly artefacts. India has a huge collection of tribal clothes, shoes, jewellery and whatnot. You name a fashion item that this Indie homegrown labels wouldn’t have. The tribal heritage depicts the ancient Indian tradition and culture.
India is home to more than 500 tribes who are settled in remote areas across states. They all have their own distinctive culture that is unique to their ancestor's belief and tribal norms. And the artefacts they produce depicts the raw emotions and ideologies they practice. Indie fashion encompasses a wide variety of Indian embroidery, prints, handwork, embellishment, styles of wearing clothes.
For centuries the artisans from across the states are consciously indulged in keeping alive the vivid art forms they inherit. Globally also, Indie fashion has gained many fans. ‘Khadi’ is widely used abroad. The Banjara Fashion is a trend followed by everyone today, it is curated by the Banjara tribe of Telangana, Kutch, Gujarat. The clothes, essentials and home decor they produce depicts the colourful and rural lifestyle of Banjaras knows as Lambada Tribe. They use colourful threads, beads, mirrors, shells etc. Similarly, the Bagru hand block printing is famous for its use of natural dyes and Chippas of a remote place of Rajasthan. Bagru is home to Chhipa community who have preserved their traditional arts for over 400 years now. The dyes are prepared from vegetables and fruits; like yellow from turmeric, blue from indigo and red from madder root. The process includes rubbing fuller's earth on the entire piece of cloth and then, dip it into turmeric water. After the fabric gets the usual cream colour, it is adorned with natural shades using various type of wooden block prints.
These local tribes use natural fabrics or a mixture of both synthetic and natural fabrics to produce clothes and other essentials. These reduce the strain on the environment. The colours, the dye are made out of woods, fruits, vegetables, plants, leaves, soil etc. The tribal communities manufacture different varieties of artefacts that are made available to the Urban population by different government schemes and programmes.
So, it is the right time to switch our fashion sense towards more eco-friendly, organic and home-made.