* Is Sustainability a distraction rather than a solution?

* Whose sustainability are we talking about?

* Who are the stake-holders in this change?

* What change do we need to be to bring the change.

* What is the role of the consumer in this movement?

* What is the role of the industry in this movement?

* Change – are we ready for it?

The scenario runs like this.

The consumer has got used to buying. Buying everything. Buying more than he can consume. The insatiable nature of the humankind has led to conquering, acquiring, hoarding and wasting resources, just to prove his might all along from stone age, to agricultural age to industrial age to information age.

The recent fad of fast fashion has made a consumer so spoilt; he has got addicted to frequent buying, without a reason, without a need.

And now when we all have woken up to our deeds, will it be easy for us to buy less? Or buy at a higher price?

Imagine what will happen if every consumer buys less. It will lead to reduction in manufacturing. Which in turn will lead to unemployment. And thus, less income. The loop of less income, less buying will get equated. However, unemployment will have its own vices. Increase in crime, depression and death. Desperate measures may lead to imbalance of a different kind. The whole impact will escalate and reflect on the economies of the world.

A slowdown is imperative. And it will have its snowballing effect.

In the short run, which can span across a period of 5years to 10 years, this will have a huge impact on the human world as a whole.

In the long run, the race will survive, provided it retains and improvises its ecological balance.

The situation drawn out above is imperative. But it gives jitters to anyone who can think through its impact, thus making it easy for all of us to shove it under the carpet.

With a quick short sight, which suits us all, we are simply taking small steps and are trying to evolve the circle. Join the cult. Be a part of the movement. Every one of us are justifying our acts, however small, as a contribution to the need of the hour, be it refusal to use single-use-plastic, sowing seeds for more plants, turning vegan or replacing our lifestyle by adopting slow fashion.

Joining the bandwagon is the industry. Simply responding to the change in consumerism. Some are actually contributing by not producing certain things. Some are simply cashing on the latest fad to sell more of what they are making; offering replacements of materials as alternates.

The three concepts of alternate materials that are emerging strongly are:

  1. Cradle – to – Cradle: Re-use, Re-cycle, Re-produce.
  2. Cradle – to – Grave: Make things out of material that is bio-degradable.
  3. Artisanal Approach: Save on mechanical processes – in materials, in production and in the whole supply chain. Thus, providing ethical and judicious rewards to all stakeholders.

All approaches, however small, are good as contribution to the cause. The concept of sustainability as a whole is still not clear to many. And without much in-depth understanding, they are trying to contribute in whichever way they can, with all good intent.

The common challenge is the fact that any approach that we take, it will bring the prices up. And as consumers, we are not ready to pay more. The spoils of Fast Fashion will take time to wear off.

Of course, as always, there are many who do not give a damn and are simply trying to ride the wave by making it more of a marketing tool and get a quick cash-in on it.

Many, who were our favorites, as now being labelled as Outcasts – the conglomerates who became the torchbearers of Fast Fashion. The larger they are, the tougher it is for them to make a U-turn from what they have always stood as. Their attempts to break the typecasting is proving to be tough. Some of them, with all good intent, may make it for everyone’s good. And some would drown against the tide and perish.

We are here to witness this revolution and it will be interesting to see how it shapes us and our future lives.

About the author


Shunya is a journey of fashion veteran, Rajesh Jain, a business strategist in the Fashion & Retail industry. His domains cover all aspects of business – Product, People & Processes. He has journaled here his observations of this ever-changing trends in consumer behaviour and lifestyle.

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