The Growth Of Sustainable Fashion Ecosystem In India While fast fashion has in use the forefront chain and everybody is tirelessly stockpiling on one style after another, there are a few viable fashion hacks seeking to change the game for better

By Nohar Nath

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Circularity and reusing fashion have sought great popularity on the global front in the last five years. But this concept has existed in India for ages now. It has been an age-old tradition for Indians to wear pre-used clothes and hand-me-down clothes from their elder siblings or relatives. A garment bought in a family was usually first used by the intended person, only to be then passed down to whoever it would fit. Once the garment became unfit for wearing it was used as a washcloth or dusting purposes.

With the advent of the concept of ethical fashion, consumers all around the world are gravitating towards sustainable and eco-friendly fashion. They are consciously opting for pre-existing clothes which are in good condition. They no longer make purchase based on what's trending in the market. They do not hoard their closets, but believe in minimizing the clutter and sticking to the wardrobe essentials.

The last decade saw a different side of the Indian customer. With the burgeoning middle class having bigger spending power than ever before, Indians were more than willing to try out the brands available in the market. Fashion and luxury industry benefited highly in India with the average customer buying about 60 per cent more clothes in 2014 than they did in 2000, but only retaining it for half as long. The surge of fast fashion brands gave people access to a wide variety of clothes at cheaper prices. Indians, because of this, came out of the mindset of being spendthrift.

But is it time to go back to the good old days? With closet circularity trending globally, a lot of Indian consumers have also turned to ethical fashion. They have once again embraced the idea of buying pre-owned apparel. The newer generation believes in purging their closets for the clothes they no longer use; they choose to sell or donate them. They, in turn, indulge in pre-owned branded apparels sold by other customers.

Choosing to use pre-owned clothing has transformed the fashion industry's trends. It has significantly tamed the ever-growing demand of continually producing newer fashion products; thereby reducing the strain put on the environment for resources. Since, the clothes are recycled and not dumped after their first cycle; the clothes are retained in the market cycle for longer periods of time than previously seen. This further reduces the amount of fashion waste that is dumped in the landfill every year. The clothes hit their optimum usage level before they make it to the landfill.

There are a number of batch portals who the sellers can approach to, if they wish to sell their clothes; some of them even online. Customers can watch their products being listed real-time on the website for the buyers to buy.

The conscious consumer community worldwide actively indulges in buying and selling their closet pieces. India also sees the same pattern of conscious buying, thus maintaining a steady supply of fashion that is circulated regularly. This has evolved the fashion scene in India. Today, approximately 60 per cent of the consumer population buys from the pre-owned section. An increase in this number is a definite possibility.

Nohar Nath

Founder & CEO, Kiabza

The Founder & CEO, Nohar Nath has 20+ years of experience in the textile recycling industry having run Kishco Group’s business, which is primarily based on recycling of textiles. He has a Master’s in Business Administration (Marketing) from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS). He is an active and much sought after speaker at various forums across the globe. He has delivered speeches at the World Recycling Conference in 2015 and again in 2017. He has been a national level golfer with many laurels, including winning the World Corporate Golf Challenge in 2008 in La Manga, Spain.

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