While the influencer industry runs on the concept of selling an aspirational life, it subconsciously plants the seed of overconsumption in the head of the audience. As a generation that spends every waking minute on the internet, the see-now-buy-now culture in fashion is rapidly resulting in an ecological crisis we can no longer afford to ignore.
There’s a small but strong community of eco-warriors, who happen to be fashion insiders and are actively helming the dialogue around sustainability, conscious fashion and mindful consumption on their personal platforms. In an attempt to amplify their voices and circulate the knowledge around the subject, we asked 5 digital creators to speak their mind and shed knowledge for those who are looking to learn and make a switch.
Muzi Sufi, Fashion photographer /content creator
Muzi’s aesthetically curated minimalistic feed will instantly make you want to declutter your own Instagram (and life). 3 years ago, the mama-of-two decided to make a lifestyle shift as a fashion consumer and she recently revived her blog to speak about the same. Here’s a snippet of her thought, “If you’re trying to be a more conscious buyer, you must understand the framework of fast fashion. Buying clothes designed to fall apart will leave you needing to constantly buy more and more. The solution is rather simple: buy fewer, better quality things that will last you. If you can’t buy better, train yourself to buy less anyway. Understand that from production to disposal, fast fashion is polluting the environment in ways we won’t be able to fix. Collectively if we buy less, we can drive down the demand and decrease the insane production of these plastic fabrics.
Pro Tip: “Start by trying to eliminate your favourite fast fashion brands as options. Educate yourself about better fabrics and better brands. Slowly, start curating a timeless, high-quality wardrobe that isn’t based on mindless consumption. It’s a slow process but doing so allows you to build an emotional connection with the pieces you buy, leaving you with a wardrobe you’ll want to wear forever.”
Aditi Mayer, Sustainable blogger/journalist/activist
7 years ago Aditi Mayer became an active participant in the conversation around sustainability. Today, her wide-ranging portfolio of work includes titles like a sustainable influencer, photojournalist, labour rights activist, and frequent speaker on topics of social and environmental justice, Here are her two cents on the matter, “For folks that are new to the sustainability fashion scene, I feel like the knee-jerk reaction is to feel like we need to revamp our closets completely to become ethical. Although conscious consumerism is important, limiting the narrative of a conscious consumer to just “voting with your dollar” limits not only how one holds power, but who holds power (those who can afford it).
Pro Tip: “The most important pillar of sustainability is consuming less. From there, I would approach consumption from a perspective of longevity and quality over quantity, understand one’s personal style beyond trends that are constantly changing, shop secondhand when possible, and invest in brands that align with your aesthetics and ethics.”
Karuna Ezara Parikh, Author/digital influencer
Writer Karuna Ezra Parikh is the modern-day cool girl who flaunts her tattoos with her sari and embraces her personality without being constrained by any norm. Her journey with sustainability is rooted in her understanding of local brands, weavers, crafts and knowing the people who actually make her clothes. “I think it helps to start with one thing. When faced with the immensity of information in the face of climate change, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, so it’s much easier to start small.”
Pro Tip: “Buy only organic cotton, or avoid shopping from high-street brands. You might choose to purchase a few items from sustainable brands and wear them consistently. You may want to slowly then begin looking at how different companies treat their workers, and which of them are comfortable with you asking “Who made my clothes?” It’s good to check where brands are sourcing their materials, and what dying processes they’re comfortable using. What are their leather alternatives? “Organic” and “sustainable” are keywords a lot of brands just throw out, so look for authenticity and transparency. Start small, and remember, if you can’t always afford the designer stuff, buying cotton or khadi and getting your neighbourhood tailor to create something magical, is also sustainable, local, promotes conscious fashion and if you pay a kind price – fair trade.”
Sheefa Gilani, Fashion stylist/consultant
As a fashion stylist, Sheefa has an understanding of excess consumption and waste from an expert’s perspective. During the lockdown, she finally managed to alter her lifestyle in a more sustainable manner. From thrift and vintage shopping to investing in quality clothing, here’s how she transitioned. “It’s only until the pandemic that I genuinely started to re-think my relationship with clothes. For me, slow fashion is and always will be quality-based rather than time-based. Your step one to slow fashion should start with valuing fair treatment of people, animals and the planet.”
Pro Tip: “I read somewhere – Slow fashion is also about returning to a personal relationship with fashion. And, this truly is my long-term goal. It supports buying vintage or second-hand clothes, redesigning old clothes, shopping from smaller producers, and buying quality garments with a longer lifespan. I now love the few things I own. If you have less, you can celebrate those few things more.”
Diandra Marizet, Conscious fashion curator/model
Diandra Marizet is the co-founder of Intersectional Environmentalist, a platform that is vocal about ecological and social issues happening around the globe. It vocalizes issues and unpacks hard-hitting subjects that are often pushed under the carpet. While doing all that, Diandra still manages to magnify conversations around sustainability and slow fashion, here’s her take on the same. “Unpacking sustainability as it pertains to any topic can be overwhelming because earth stewardship transcends supply chains and logistics; it goes so much deeper. The ancestral inheritance of sustainability adds a cultural layer that fashion can and should harness.
Pro Tip: Start by connecting with the brands you love to see what they’re doing to educate themselves and you. When we learn about sustainable fashion, we learn about how sustainability has historically informed our relationship with almost everything. So shopping can start by asking the question, “Is this brand going on a conscious fashion journey alongside me?”.