Is India Ready To Accept Sustainable Fashion?

Many big fashion brands have recently come to the radar for their impact on the environment. In a situation when the impact of global warming is so clearly visible, it therefore became important for the brands to send a message that they are environmentally conscious brands and thus, for both the brand and the consumer, the ‘sustainable fashion’ term became not only important but a trending concept too. Currently, many retail brands in India are following the eco-friendly shopping trend by offering their customers the option of sustainable offerings. The same is visible through the action of brands. 

 

For instance, Indian Terrain in 2020 started a sustainable fashion line with Fairtrade India. Similarly, Madame launched its Eco Aware collection to show that one can look fashionable and click Sexy Photos with sustainable clothings too. Other brands that have joined the trend includes ANI Clothing, DaMENSCH, The Pant Project and Sparsh Organic who by creating sustainable clothing are showing their Love Status with the environment by proving themselves an environmentally-friendly brand. A report in 2020 by The Business Research Company indicated that the global ethical fashion will grow to 8.25 billion in 2023 at a CAGR of 6.8% from the $6.35 billion industry in 2019. 

Is The Shift Towards Sustainable Clothing Natural?

Madame has captured many headlines for its plan to minimize the textile waste which is generated in their manufacturing plants. Currently, it is aiming to reduce its carbon footprint by 80% with the objective of becoming a carbon-negative company by 2030. Currently, sustainable clothing range only contributes 3% to the overall fashion brand. Most of the sustainable clothing is available in the price range of INR 1,699 – 2,999. Most of the brands which have introduced sustainable clothing in the line are targeting the millennials and Gen Z consumers in the urban areas, especially the metro cities. The millennials and Gen Z customers are seen as the customers who will pay higher prices for responsible products. 

 

Most of the sustainable clothing is a result of amalgam of production technique, age-old textiles and craft mixed with contemporary styles and the same is visible in the ethinic wear brand of Tata named Taneira which was launched in 2017. Going out of the way, Woodland is creating pure green t-shirts which are created from recycled plastic bottles. 

 

The recycled plastic bottles are first sterilised and then are processed into fibre brands and these clothes are especially created keeping the youth in mind. Because so much effort and processes are required to create sustainable clothings, they are priced 5-10% higher than the general line of the clothing. Similarly, Raymond Group created Ecovera, an eco-friendly fabric for its customers which again is created with the help of plastic bottles and the process used for it uses biofuel and is extremely energy-efficient. 

What Is The Cost Of Sustainability?

Even though sustainable clothing has become a trending topic, no one really asks what is the cost of sustainability? The cost of sustainability is high in terms of finance that it consumers. For many companies it has been challenging to indulge in sustainable environment-friendly practices to create the final product right from the sourcing of the appropriate fabrics. The cost of creating sustainable clothes becomes high because of the steps that go in manufacturing the product and as a result, these products are priced higher than the other clothes which are produced by the manufacturer. If the customer is not willing to pay that higher price for an environmentally-friendly product, creating the product proves to be futile for the retailers and they go back to producing the environment harming products again. In addition to the money, even though most of the youth understands the importance of being environmentally conscious, not all understand it. 

 

This lack of awareness prevents many customers from switching to sustainable alternatives for a higher price. Therefore, to see flourishing sustainable clothing, it is a must to increase the awareness of it amongst the customers, especially the fashion customers and education is the first step towards it. Till the awareness is not spread, sustainable clothing will simply remain as a sub-segment of the broader fashion clothes which will result in sub-scaling. This, in turn, will make the pricing expensive and the supply chain inefficient for the fashion retail brands.