How I Made The Switch To Sustainable Fashion

by Drishti Mistry

“When you add the sixteenth item to your wardrobe, remove one,” is the maxim my mother has lived by. But I never fully understood the depth of the words until this poignant incidence forged my foray into sustainability, five years ago, in Africa. I was there for my holidays and enjoying my routinely swim, when from the corner of my eye, I spotted a baby turtle glide towards me. My first instinct was to go closer and try to pet it, but what I saw changed my view forever- it was looking for help as something was stuck in its nostril and it was struggling to breathe! It was a piece of broken plastic that had probably been dumped by one of the many tourists who visit the beaches every year! Luckily, we were able to save the turtle with the help of kind locals who came to our rescue. But that episode made me question, this was just one life, what about the others?

That’s when I started reading up about living sustainably and the many polluters of the environment. Little did I know that fashion was only the second largest contributor to the environmental crisis faced by nations today. One thing led to another and I stumbled upon several articles about the tragic accident that took place at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh. After discovering the sorry state of workers in fast fashion sweatshops, my mind played one thought on repeat, leading to my new-found conviction- something had to be done, change had to be brought. So, what better way to do so than to start with myself? It couldn’t be done overnight but I started making smaller alterations in my lifestyle – my non vegetarian diet was replaced by a Vegan one, plastic straws were replaced by a steel one and plastic bags replaced by cloth ones.

In months that followed, I quite literally Marie Kondo-ed my closet before Marie Kondo did her own and took many a bagful of discarded clothes to H&M because I didn’t know any better (while H&M is doing their bit towards sustainability, they still continue to produce fast fashion). The world today is buying four times as much clothing compared to the 80’s and as a result 80 billion new garments are produced everyday that ultimately end up in hazardous landfills. The key, I found, was to consume mindfully – I now buy one piece of sustainable clothing to replace the five-six pieces I would typically buy from a high-street label. This justifies the price and allows fair wages and a safe working environment to the craftsmen who’ve worked on my garment. I also don’t mind repeating my outfits to events anymore, I just style it differently each time – after all, wasn’t this commonplace back in the day when earth was in better shape?

The challenges that remained, however, were finding affordable options and styles that were on top of trends. As my luck would have it, accessible labels like ANS, The Summer House and Pasithea helped me overcome the former and inherently cool labels such as The Jodi Life, Doodlage, Pause, Iyla and Bodice got me through the latter. That said, I hope I’m able to add more such labels to my conscious collection in the future, but for now, I’m plugging in my favourites from these labels so that you can enjoy fashion sustainably too!

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Off White Muslin..



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