Do we need to slow down?
With mass production happening in every field, today’s world has evolved into something less ambitious. A bland, uniform way of making things, isolated from local culture, nature, energy and material flows. A way that is not good for the environment or mankind or the very existence of the product itself. Many products are designed with built-in-obsolescence to last only for a limited time period in order to encourage the end-user to get rid of it and buy a new piece instead.
Low-quality fabrics stitched into garments in haste to meet a certain requirement in this profit-driven world is what most of us have in our wardrobes. Neither do we know how bad the fabric is for us, nor do we know who made the garment we are wearing and whether that person was in a comfortable situation to do so or not. Is it because we don’t care?
I’m sure that most of the people are aware of the pros and cons of all that they wear but to act upon that awareness is a path seldom chosen. Truth be told – we don’t have the time to act upon it!
There is no time because mankind has forgotten to slow down and make time for crucial things that don’t seem so anymore. There is a dire need to stop and look around us, see what we have done, breathe the air that smells of petrol, diesel, and dust. To watch that bony dog look for food in the scraps of the community dustbin, while we cover our nose because it’s hard to stand the smell of our kitchen waste. There is a need to stop complaining about having fewer clothes in the cab on our way to some mall and look back at that child’s face, who is knocking at the glass window trying to sell us a balloon. We need to stop ignoring these signs that the universe sends. We need to stop pushing away that guilt and take it in instead. Let it be a lump in our throat as long as we act on our realizations.
And people have started doing that in the second most polluting industry in the world – the fashion industry. As stated by Kate Fletcher, Slow Fashion is an approach encouraging the use of responsible production processes wherein value is added to the product through quality design and the thoughtful connection between the environment and the individuals who make the apparel. Slow fashion is about designing, producing, consuming and living better. Slow fashion is not time-based but quality-based.
Slow is not the opposite of fast – there is no dualism – but a different approach in which designers, buyers, retailers, and consumers are more aware of the impacts of products on workers, communities, and ecosystems. Slow fashion is about choice, information, cultural diversity, and identity. Yet, critically, it is also about balance. Slow fashion supports our psychological needs (to wear the concepts we strongly believe in) as well as our physical needs (to cover and protect us from extremes of climate). Fast fashion, as it exists today, strikes no such balance. Indeed, it is largely disconnected from reality, with little recognition of poverty wages, forced overtime and climate change.
RaasLeela identifies itself as a slow fashion brand.
Special thanks to Gitanjali Chibber, Indian Institute of Craft and Design. For writing this article for us during her internship period.