The fashion industry is the second biggest polluter in the world.
Seasonal styles, fast fashion brands, influencers and advertising contribute to our ever-growing consumerism. Cheap labour and toxic materials add to the industry’s negative impact.
Most high street brands create and produce clothes based on fast-moving trends and cheap prices. These fast fashion brands have perfected bringing runway knockoffs into the stores at affordable prices.
While cheap and trendy, fast fashion is dangerous because it results in overproduction, waste, environmental degradation and the overworking and under-paying of people who make the garments.
Clothing that is intentionally made to fall apart will do exactly that. It will contribute to the 37 kilograms of textile waste each American sends to landfill every single year.
Sustainable fashion aims to combat all this.
But beware! A lot of brands use the term “sustainable” loosely.
They might produce a tiny range of their product line sustainably and promote themselves as eco-conscious, but continue to profit off their other, mainly-unsustainable products.
This is greenwashing – the marketing of a product that misleads the consumer by overstating its social and environmental impact.
Real sustainable fashion is slow and ethical. It is a deliberate choice by consumers to buy less and invest in high quality pieces which last longer.
Conscious consumers embrace the ethos of “buy less, buy better”. They develop their individual styles over chasing trends. They support local brands, which have sustainable fashion collections. They reuse what theyhave in their closets, upcycle and swap clothes, even rent outfits for special occasions.
In Qatar there is a growing number of small brands and designers using sustainable production models. I see several upcoming designers moving towards sustainable style and slow fashion, adopting ethical production and transparency in the supply chain.
This means that the path to change has already begun. By buying from them you are becoming part of the change. Organizations like M7 are promoting sustainable fashion through their Fashion Incubator / Accelerator.
More than five years ago, I launched my own slow fashion brand of ready-to-wear clothes and handmade jewellery.
SR by Sonali Raman carries a line of handcrafted fashion jewellery, mixing traditional craft techniques with contemporary designs. My ready-to-wear apparel line uses natural fabrics and traditional embroidery techniques to create modern silhouettes.
I work with artisans and handloom weavers as I am passionate about supporting traditional textile crafts.Promoting cultural sustainability and promoting conscious consumption are the core values for my brand and philosophy. I choose fabrics that are a blend of natural and biodegradable elements and create jewellery out of leather that would otherwise be thrown away.
I am working towards zero waste by using our fabric scraps to make bag handles and hanger covers. I also make masks and other small products from the offcuts from of my collections.
SR by Sonali Raman is in Qatar and can be found on social media @srdoha and in Sonali’s studio.
Conscious consumers ask these questions before making a fashion purchase:
Who makes my clothes?
Where are they made?
Under what conditions are they made?
What goes into my clothes?
BE PART OF THE FASHION REVOLUTION!
Sonali Raman has been in the fashion business for over 30 years, having worked in the industry in India, before moving to Qatar. She is an educator teaching at VCUarts Qatar and a designer with her own label. She can be contacted: firstname.lastname@example.org