Before I start talking about my first ever encounter to the world of Ethical Fashion, let me first introduce myself! I’m Hansa, a Fashion Communication student at NIFT Mumbai. I was at this event organised by Fairtrunk on 18th November, as I also intern with them! I was quite psyched when I first heard about it from Darshana, little did I know it was going to be such an inspirational day, one that will also shape the way I looked at Fashion there on!
On occasion of Fair Trade week, Fairtrunk had organised a screening of this breathtaking fashion documentary, The True Cost, alongside Fair Trade India & Fashion Revolution India. There also were a few brands associated with Fairtrunk who came forward to put up a small pop-up to introduce ethical products to the attendees.
We gathered on Saturday, the 18th of November at this beautiful venue in town called Ministry Of New. There was this pre-event hustle happening.. setting up the pop-up, registration desk, the goodies, the food et al.
In no time, we gathered for the screening, in this extremely beautiful room, that hosted a small crowd by the time Darshana took the stage to welcome them all… She kept it brief and said,“I’ve been working in this industry for over a decade now and after watching this documentary I genuinely felt the need to do something!” and moved straight to the movie.
The True Cost is about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our people & planet. The price of clothing has been decreasing over the years, while the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically. How has every industry managed to increase its selling price while we’ve gone down from $10 to $3 for a shirt?
The True Cost is a ground-breaking documentary film that pulls back the curtain on the untold story and asks us to consider, who really pays the price for our clothing? Filmed in countries all over the world, from the brightest runways to the darkest slums, and featuring interviews with the world’s leading influencers including Stella McCartney, Livia Firth and Vandana Shiva, The True Cost is an unprecedented project that invites us on an eye-opening journey around the world and into the lives of the many people and places behind our clothes!
The audience looked stunned with every new fact being uncovered every passing minute in the film. It was like undressing the fashion industry one dirty fact after the other. I also witnessed a few of them teary-eyed… the movie does that to you! As the movie got over, there was this awkward silence as everyone seemed rather shocked, and unhappy with the way things have been happening in the fashion industry. To their rescue was a Q&A in a few minutes to discuss these issues in depth.
After a brief chai break where we indulged ourselves with baked goodness from celebrity Chef Rakhee Vaswani’s Palatte Culinary Academy and refreshing cold-pressed juices thanks to Raw Pressery. We all gathered back for a little Q&A with our stellar panel of entrepreneurs and changemakers. We had the lovely sister duo Dipna & Dipti of Love The world Today, Megha Rawat from Kurio, Amit Jain, Co-Founder Funky Kalakar, Suki Dusanj – Lenz, Country Head of Fashion Revolution India and our very own Darshana Gajare, Founder Fairtrunk.
It was thrilling to learn about the lengths to which these brands went to ensure they were sustainable through and through. For example, Dipna & Dipti talked about using every single piece of fabric, be it for trimmings or to make accessories like hair bands or little girl purses, to ensure zero-waste. How Funky Kalakar & Kurio both used waste rubber tyres to make the soles of their footwear and how all these brands employed grass root level clusters to empower them.
A lot of us wondered if there was some hack to becoming a sustainable shopper. That’s when Amit simplified it in a one-liner and we couldn’t agree more! He said, “Buy what you need and not what you want, and when you buy, invest in quality, not quantity.”
Suki explained the #whomademyclothes movement, which basically asks consumers to question brands. She said, “When you ask about your clothing, someone’s gonna hear you in those brand boardrooms and at some point, somebody will answer. I urge you all to join the Fashion Revolution!” and well, I do have a few brands in mind that I’d love to poke. 🙂
“Having spent my childhood in Rajasthan, I was aware of the scarcity of resources and hence valued them and never took them for granted,” said Megha. Her products are hence designed keeping these values in mind.
All these brand founders came from different backgrounds, none from design! Being from a design background myself, it took me by shock by how much they had achieved with no previous knowledge of design or textiles and this discussion pushed me to think how I could give back through design and have a purpose to my work.
I wish I could copy and paste a recording of everything they said because it was collectively perfect and every time I recollect certain titbits I just realise how blind we’ve been as consumers of this global market, considering ourselves to be educated but being blinded so well and for so long.
We at Fairtrunk are looking forward to organising more such events to create awareness and open dialogue and to share amazing experiences and learnings from fashion revolutionaries. I just hope you’d be there to experience it first hand.