FASHION FOR PEACE

There is no beauty in finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness -Mahatma Gandhi


 

Question to ask is; Can a piece of cloth be violent and bring unhappiness and hunger? The answer is yes. 

Lets look further why:

  • Every piece of new clothing, if not made sustainably, can be the product of countless chemicals and dyes, all of which can be harmful to the earth, air, groundwater as well as the people making the clothing and even the people who try it on and then wear it. This kind of piece of cloth is violent towards planet earth.
  • Every piece of new clothing, if made as a part of fast fashion, so that consumer can buy cheaper and as a result buy more will lead to a tremendous pressure on manufacturer to cut cost by paying low wages. This in result brings unhappiness. Better margin for factory can lead to better pay for the workers.
  • Every piece of new clothing, if made in a sweatshop, where hours are long and wages are pitiful, working conditions are bad , will lead to poverty and unhappiness.                  

How does this affect us and our buying choices as a consumer? If we knew, the shirt we are going to buy is made in a sweatshop, it is quite likely we might decline it. After all, we don’t want to wear something which has hurt someone while its manufacturing process. I think, however beautiful a garment might look, it is not worth if it is made in a sweat shop.

As Mahatma Gandhi rightly said “There is no beauty in finest cloth of it makes hunger and unhappiness”. I think, anyone would gladly offer 50cents or a dollar more on a piece of garment if they are assured that the money would go to improve the living wage of the workers who made those clothes for us, instead of adding it to the profits of retailers or manufacturers.

Is there anything we can do to help the workers who made our clothes on other side of the world? Yes, we can. Ask the retailer to publish minimum wage paid on every style they sell, on their website. Even better: ask the retailers and importers to print he minimum wage paid for a garment on the label or tag, of every garment sold. If you are thinking this is not possible then read this. You might have underestimated YOUR (consumer’s) power.

In February 2019 ISHA hosted Fashion For Peace at New York Fashion Week, an event inspired by Sadhguru’s vision to lead a global shift back to natural and organic fibers and handmade textiles.

The Isha Foundation, a non-profit organisation founded by Vasudev, has worked on curating over a hundred Indian textiles that have been a part of India’s design vocabulary for nearly 5,000 years. Each of the participating designers worked on creating exclusive looks that will champion the weaves. The presentation was produced by People’s Revolution along with the students of the High School of Art and Design, a New York City public school that aims towards educating and inspiring gifted students to become artists.

Four leading-edge fashion designers collaborated in the event: Norma Kamali, Maya Hoffman, Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Mimi Prober. Using a selection of rare Indian weaves and fabrics curated by Sadhguru, each designer created exclusive looks to illustrate the exceptional beauty of natural and handmade fabrics.

This first-of-its-kind event drew a large attendance to view the work of the designers and to hear Sadhguru explain how as human beings we must transform the way we clothe ourselves – with natural fiber and handmade craft used in our clothing, it impacts and improves the lives of millions while also addressing the toxic pollution caused by the production of and growing dependence on synthetic textiles.

Sadhguru spoke about the big picture of our environment, health and overall wellbeing of the planet, pointing out how food, agriculture, housing, economics and now even clothing have become violent. The pollution caused by the textile industry, and how the microfibers of synthetic fabrics have made their way into the oceans and waterways, working their way up the food chain and into our bodies. 

So what are natural fibers and what happens if we start wearing natural fibre made clothes?

Natural fibers can be defined as bio-based fibers or fibers from vegetable and animal origin. This includes all natural cellulosic fibers like cotton, jute, sisal, coir, flax, hemp, abaca, ramie, etc. and protein based fibers such as wool and silk.

Natural fibers are a healthy choice

Most people know natural fibers provide natural ventilation. That is why a cotton T-shirt feels so comfortable on a hot day – and why sweat-suits used for weight reduction are 100% synthetic. Wool garments act as insulators against both cold and heat – Bedouins wear thin wool to keep themselves cool. Coconut fibers used in mattresses have natural resistance to fungus and mites. Hemp fiber has antibacterial properties, and studies show that linen is the most hygienic textile for hospital bed sheets.

Natural fibers are a responsible choice

Natural fibers are of major economic importance to many developing countries and vital to the livelihoods and food security of millions of small-scale farmers and processors. They include 10 million people in the cotton sector in West and Central Africa, 4 million small-scale jute farmers in Bangladesh and India, one million silk industry workers in China, and 120 000 alpaca herding families in the Andes. By choosing natural fibers we boost the sector’s contribution to economic growth and help fight hunger and rural poverty. 

Natural fires are a sustainable choice

The emerging “green” economy is based on energy efficiency, renewable feed stocks in polymer products, industrial processes that reduce carbon emissions and recyclable materials. Natural fibers are a renewable resource. Growing one ton of jute fiber requires less than 10% of the energy used for the production of polypropylene. Natural fibers are carbon neutral. Processing produces residues that can be used in bio composites for building houses or to generate electricity. At the end of their life cycle, natural fibers are 100% biodegradable. 

Natural fibers are a high-tech choice

Natural fibers have good mechanical strength, low weight and low cost. That has made them particularly attractive to the automobile industry. In Europe, car makers are using an estimated 80 000 tons of natural fibers a year to reinforce thermoplastic panels. India has developed composite boards made from coconut fiber that are more resistant to rotting than teak. Brazil is making roofing material reinforced with sisal. In Europe, hemp wastes are used in cement, and China used hemp-based construction materials in the past.

There is a pressing need to transform the way clothes are made. Eliminating wasteful practices, reducing electricity, water and chemicals consumption can have a positive impact on our and planet earth’s health and wellbeing. Choice of our clothes has impact on environment therefore making intelligent and thoughtful buying decisions can help to create clothing with minimal negative impacts upon the environment, animals and human welfare

References:

https://isha.sadhguru.org/us/en/blog/article/fashion-for-peace-newyork-fashion-week-event-highlights

http://www.wildfibres.co.uk/

http://www.naturalfibres2009.org/

http://www.globalexchange.org/fairtrade/sweatfree/faq

 

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