SUSTAINABLE CLOTHING OPTIONS IN THE INDIAN FASHION MARKET
By: Amneet Mann (@amneet_mann) and Monika Sidhu (@MonikaSidhuu)
Shopping for traditional Indian clothing has evolved so much over the years. Turning to Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration and being able to ship an outfit from any store around the world has certainly changed our experience.
Gone are the days that we were confined to the local suit shops or depending on trips to India to purchase our garments. It’s much easier now to get our hands on any style that our hearts desire.
While we are enabled to achieve our dream aesthetic, when do we stop to think about how sustainability plays into all of this?
The sustainable fashion movement has started gaining momentum in recent years. One of the themes of the movement is to steer consumers away from what is termed “fast fashion,” which is cheaper and often lower-quality clothing that has been mass-produced and isn’t made to last long before breaking down.
Oftentimes, the dialogue has been restricted to Western clothes, like H&M or Zara, and there is still a gap in the dialogue for consumers who have immigrated to the West and are consuming cultural clothes with Western dollars.
As one of many aspects of how two cultures blend, it’s common for immigrant families to adopt to a Western culture of consumerism.
Margarine tubs may be repurposed to hold frozen dal or subzi and cleaning rags may be made of old t-shirts -- yet when shopping for Indian clothes, a combination of classism and the desire to stretch your dollar to its maximum potential often leads to only purchasing clothes that are new and made in India, which are cheaper (in both price and quality), and come with a significant carbon footprint.
These clothes are quickly replaced as the trends change, and new wedding seasons begin.