Upon first glance at a price tag of an eco-friendly garment, it’s easy to be dismayed by the dramatic price difference between fast fashion and sustainably made clothing.
W hile it’s great that sustainably made clothes are rising in popularity, it is equally important that there be a shift in mindset too, so that the demand increases and the prices are lowered. We see daily reports on how Earth is in danger from climate change, but it will take a while for everyone to understand this and make a difference. So does that mean we’re going to be left with no choice but to purchase costly products? I disagree.
A little over 18 months ago, I made a promise to myself, that I was going to be mindful about my fashion choices. For someone who was used to hoarding clothes every month, it can be an intimidating thought; How does one-stop shopping? What about all those sales that would give us great deals on our favourite brands? Luckily if there’s one thing that I’ve learned in life, it’s that no sustainable change can be made overnight. I realised this on my fitness journey when it took me over 7 years to understand the concept of body love, and I was now prepared to watch it come true once again when it came to my fashion choices.I resisted the sales successfully, but it was peak party season, and I wanted a new outfit. I ended up borrowing a dress from a friend, and this miraculously led to the birth of Thrifty Ideas India: a community of individuals who believe in making mindful choices for themselves and the environment.
As we exchanged clothes within our friend circle, we realised that we could extend this to the community, and thus Thrifty Ideas India went on to hold second-hand clothes swaps around Pune, Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi. In this process, I realised that instead of buying new clothes, I was purchasing second-hand outfits and was enjoying the change. I hadn’t bought anything for 3 months, my next purchase came from a thrift store, and I found myself getting interested in the world of fashion. I learned about the ugly side of fast fashion, the tricks of capitalism and how our purchase decisions had an impact on the environment.
I slowly realised that sustainable fashion was an intimidating concept that not many understood. Lack of awareness led to the belief that sustainable fashion means purchasing clothes from eco-friendly brands, and not everyone has the money to make these kinds of decisions. It is through personal experience that I realised that sustainable fashion is not expensive if you approach it in the right way.
Your support for sustainable fashion starts from the point when you start reusing your clothes. The next step involves buying second-hand items if absolutely necessary, and the last step Is buying new pieces from sustainable clothing brands. One important thing to realise is that you cannot be extreme and you cannot be too hard on yourself: It won’t be easy to start using your garments if you have been used to wearing fresh outfits every time you went out.It’s a slow change that will happen over a few months. Similarly, it takes a lot of time to get over the stigma of buying second-hand clothes, but there is a feeling of gratitude that overwhelms you and you realise that even a small change is making a huge difference to planet Earth. Your journey might start with reusing clothes and will slowly evolve to a level that you understand the grey areas that lie in living the slow life. Today most of the outfits I wear have been bought over a year ago or at thrift stores. I haven’t shopped for anything in over two years now. And I truly believe that when it comes to fashion, one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure!