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Fabric Cycle: Then & Now!

28th Aug 2023

As a 5-5.5-year-old, I remember my grandmother wearing a particular saree, my father wearing his favorite shirt till it used to fade and look worn out, and once they looked like they were used enough, my mom used to decide how to recycle/upcycle them. My grandma's sarees used to tear apart easily, so stripes were made and braided to form a three-strand tail, spiraled and stitched together to form rugs out of them. Dad's shirts used to be big pieces of cloth that could be stitched into bags easily. This whole thing was a process and a thoughtful one! Activities like these are very rare these days and are often used jokingly. But there is a lot of science behind it. The span of the cloth that was being used was larger. The modes to recycle/upcycle them were eco-friendly and the final product was again put to use for longer! A wholesome process it was! As a curious teenage girl, I remember asking my grandmother, "Why do you try to put even the worn-out cloth to use? If not anything else, you use it for Pocha! Why?"

"When you use its last possible state, nature has to make less effort to degrade it, and it happens faster too!" This one statement from her gave birth to a conscious shopper in me!
Today, when I see folks easily falling for Fast-Fashion, it pains! Trends keep coming, and people conveniently trash the previous trend and hang on to the new one, but as a consumer, as a residents of this planet, do we ever think about where all of it goes after we trash it? This either is on the edge or is already a new type of pollution we are making. There should be a group of people who should ideally work on managing this waste, but as an individual, we can make a conscious choice of not damaging the planet more by falling prey to trends and marketing gimmicks.
That was one side of the story; Now let us see the other part. Many brands try to copy the authentic ones, mass/bulk produce a cheaper range of clothes. An analysis by Business Insider states, that fast fashion is one of the reasons for the depletion of non-renewable sources. The fashion industry requires 700 gallons of water to produce one shirt! This also leads to water pollution, because the leftover water from the dyeing process is merged in rivers and streams.

To get large quantities produced at cheaper rates, many manufacturers use microplastics like polyesters and nylon which are non-biodegradable. Transforming the microplastic to fiber is an intensive energy process that requires and releases large amounts of chemicals, thereby resulting in pollution both in the air as well as water.
"Slow Fashion" may not be a legit term, but let's bring that into trend. Shop consciously, and mindfully and shop for eco-friendly fabric. Silk, cotton, hemp, and linen are easy to bio-degrade. With online markets doing so well, shopping is easy and happens in clicks, but to degrade it, there is no trick. So consume to a level where required, "More is less"! Do not shy away from repeating clothes, do not fall for trends, and normalize upcycling worn-out fabrics! Keep decluttering from time to time, not to make space for the new but to make the planet lighter from the burden of all those chemicals that come with one piece of garment!

This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon 2023.

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