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Sustainable Fashion- What does it mean

    In 2019, nearly 20 of India’s biggest retailers have pledged to move towards Sustainable Fashion and have taken a pledge to use both sustainable materials and processes by 2025. Amongst the big retailers Raymonds, Arvind, and Future Group are included in the Group.

    Sustainable Fashion is trending for Generation Z as well as for millennials who are coming to terms with the reality of issues such as climate change and social and gender equity. However, the question is what do we mean by Sustainable fashion? Is it only the way we wear and dispose of, or how the fabric is sourced, where did it come from, what were the processes used, did the processes harm the planet or exploited people? While a unifying definition would have both ecological integrity and social equity high on agenda for sustainable fashion, it does boil down to the same set of highly contentious issues such as sourcing, sustainable raw materials, processes, source of power, water and waste, gender equity, safety.

    Iva Jestratijevic, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and expert in Fashion and Retail classifies sustainable fashion into six distinct categories.

    Biodegradable (natural fibres etc.), New luxury products (custom made, repairable), Second-hand and vintage, Repaired, upcycled and upgraded, Ethically made, and Officially certified. This may be true for the USP of a product as different people prefer different forms of Sustainable fashion, however, upcycling while exploiting workers, or natural fibres with toxic dyes, or high social equity and high carbon emissions will not qualify the definition of sustainability.

    Ultimately there is going to be more traction and awareness on holistic aspects of sustainability which includes governance, ethics, environmental and social sustainability including product responsibility.


    Iva Jestratijevic* and Nancy A Rudd, Six forms of Sustainable Fashion

    by Team sage Sustainability