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How to Embrace Sustainable Fashion?

What is Sustainable Fashion? and How do we embrace it?

First, lets look at the word 'Fashion' itself.. Fashion is a function of 'style' and 'time', i.e at a certain period in time, a particular 'style' is most popular. This could be specific to age groups, genders, geographies and so on.

Now lets look at the word 'Sustainable' or 'Sustainable Development'. It means "Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs".... But wait, isnt that how DEVELOPMENT should anyways be? ?? That is what Aarohana believes in!

In a similar sense, now-a-days, when I hear about these words "Sustainable Fashion", I always feel, shouldnt "Fashion"  always be "Sustainable" ? i.e it should be such that we have all the fun with the trends and styles, but also leave resources for the future generations... Isnt it?

However, for the sake of the topic, I am unwillingly using these words 'Sustainable Fashion' together and trying to define them:

Sustainable Fashion is a trend which consists of clothing, accessories and other items made from either natural or organic material or from repurposed/recycled/upcycled waste material.  Many fashion designers and fashion houses, alike, have hopped on to this 'trend'. This is for obvious reasons (one or more of these) because they is eco-friendly, organically grown, biodegradable, easily recyclable, use natural dyes, chemical free, good for the skin,  leave less or no impact on our carbon footprint and does little or no harm to the Earth.  Many Designers and Fashion houses have now started their own Fashion Brands, which are solely dedicated to Sustainable Fashion.

Now that we have given you plenty of reasons to go the Sustainable Fashion Way, lets see, how we can embrace it:

1. Keep what you love and do away with what you don't

Keep only those clothes that you need. Minimize the amount of clothes you have in your closet. Donate the ones, you do not need. This way you will also save a few extra bucks!

2. Support your local and tribal craftsmen

Buy clothes which are more traditionally rooted. Buy clothes which have been made by local and tribal craftsmen.  India has a rich and diverse heritage of art and craft. These craftsmen still use ancient techniques to make clothes such as handloom weaving, natural dyeing. Buying from them, will help keep the heritage of local artisans alive and help them earn a livelihood.

3. Choose the right material

Use organic materials, which are free from chemicals and pesticides. Try and find alternatives to polyester such as Bamboo, Hemp. Hand, Khadi, Vegan Silk.

4. Support Ethical Marketing and Fair Trade

Buy clothes which are made ethically. Say no to unethical labor practices. Think about the welfare of those, that make your clothes. Do not buy clothes from brands which encourage less pay and stringent working conditions.

Do not support brands which indulge in child labor.

5. Choose your Brand

Choose the brand that supports your ideas and values.  Find a brand that suits your ideas and ethics of what a sustainable fashion brand should be.

6. Reduce your carbon footprint

Wash your clothes by hand. Use detergents which are nontoxic and chemical free! Reduce the number of washes! Reduce your pile of clothes! Choose fabrics which are easier to dry in sun!

7. Re-use, Recycle and Upcycle

Buy clothes made from recycled or upcycled materials. Also re-use your old clothes. Donate your old clothes to the needy instead of throwing them away!

To learn more about the art of UPCYCLING, log on to www.aarohana.org

 

 

 

 

 

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Tackling the problem of “Waste Generation”

I am from Pune, ex-pensioners hub to now booming IT city.

Some months ago there was a big issue of waste management in the city, where the villagers near Uruli Devachi protested against the huge garbage depot in their backyard, where most of Pune’s garbage is dumped (a glimpse shown in the cover picture of this blog). A little child even died in the village owning to untreated garbage in the depot. The villagers revolted and damaged some government dump trucks, post which cities garbage had remained uncleared for weeks together. Now, the city dwellers were having to smell the stench and bear the pollution caused by their own garbage. Post which, everyone started to find a solution to this problem!
This situation is current to every city and town in India!

How many of us can relate ourselves to the situation of the villagers at Uruli Devachi?

I certainly can! I wouldn’t like someone to come and throw their garbage in my backyard, would you?
These people and their ancestors had been living in their village for decades and centuries in a clean environment. With us throwing garbage from our homes in their backyard, they are now annoyed by the health concerns, air pollution, water pollution and constant stench from the rotting garbage.

How can we start contributing to resolve the issue of waste generation? By us, ourselves reducing the garbage

A few quick reasons, I could come up with for this unchecked creation of waste:
Buying and using more than what we need: For instance, we cook more food than what is needed, which has to be thrown away, we buy items which we use for a short period of time and then throw away, so on and so forth!
Using disposable items: For the sake of convenience, we have started using disposable plastic and thermocol/styrofoam plates and glasses. We have started using plastic bags, even after being banned from use several times. What if we start going back to how we dealt with this before these items came into existence?
Using more packaging than needed: Not blaming entirely on manufacturers on how much packaging material they use to pack products, we ourselves use more packaging than required

The list of how waste is generated can go on and on!!!!
Can we reduce our own waste?

The answer is ‘Yes!
By starting with our homes, offices, restaurants, streets, picnic areas etc, we can make a huge difference and contribute to solve the problem of waste generation.

Here are some ways I can think of to reduce the garbage generated from my house:
1) Carrying my own reusable bag to go shopping. Thus reducing the plastic bags we bring home.
2) Cooking food, only how much is needed. Take a roll call of who is present and who is not for lunches and dinners and ensuring appropriate amount is cooked.
3) For take home items from restaurants, carry your own boxes and bags, where the restaurant can pack food for you. How many of us remember doing this just about 7-8 years back?
4) Buying durable items, which last longer and you don’t have to throw them away. Even if they might be a bit expensive, they will last longer and save your money in the long run.
5) Avoiding use of disposables. Be it a party or get together at home, stop using plastic or thermocol/styrofoam plates and glasses. These non-biodegradable and non-recyclable items form one of the the largest categories of waste. We can instead rent steel plates or reusable plates. Agreed that cleanup is cumbersome, but its worth paying a few extra rupees to our maid to wash these.
6) Composting at home. There are easy to follow composting solutions, which you can follow at home and create your own organic manure for your apartment garden.
There could be many more solutions to reducing waste, so first I suggest, lets start tracking our waste… What do we throw the most, and then take steps in reducing it.

Lets make our city clean, reduce the stress on our municipal resources so that our tax payers money is utilized for something more productive than cleaning our left-overs, and over and above everything, lets make our neighboring communities life less miserable by reducing our waste flowing out to their backyards.

Look forward to hearing your thoughts about the post!