Sustainability is composed of two words – sustain + ability. Sustain means to carry forward, preserve, continue & ability means the power, the skill, or the strength. Therefore, we can define sustainability as the potential to preserve useful and necessary things by using them wisely and not exploiting them.

Sustainability is not absolute. The understanding of sustainability is subjective to different contexts. The meaning of sustainability to a home-maker can be re-using, upcycling, recycling. To a factory, it can be preventing the flow of harmful chemicals into the water body. To a restaurant, sustainability can be no food wastage. The ways and processes for everyone could differ to achieve a sustainable approach. But it is vital to make sure that the chain processes are foolproof. Sustainability is not only related to environmental growth but also works in harmony with social and economic development. The circular economy in action is a great framework to save the world thus, contributing towards sustainability. It has been designed on a restorative and regenerative approach to benefit the environment, society, and economy.

In this pandemic situation, we humans are becoming more aware and conscious of things happening around us more than ever. Sustainability has turned into an essential need rather than a mere trend. All kinds of brands & consumers are trying to incorporate it into their lives in one way or another.

The water footprint is one of the major concerns in the fashion industry. As per the BCI (Better Cotton Initiative) report, 27000 liters of water consumption happens to make one tee shirt. According to Ellen Macarthur Foundation’s report, over 150 million tonnes of clothing waste will clog landfills by 2050. It might make us think not just about the importance of sustainability but a definite need for it.

Isn’t it stupid to use the available resources so carelessly, damaging our environment and making our survival difficult?

The idea of sustainability is not something new. We can go back decades and centuries to Indian villages and witness the sustainable approach which they had. Getting new clothes only on occasions or when the actual requirement is, using these clothes till their shelf life and discarding them only to make it a mop cloth or for various other purposes until it’s torn into pieces. Also, back then fabrics and yarns were pure and biodegradable, unlike today. Many other examples tell us about the sustainable approach our ancestors had to live their lives. They knew the secret of living happily within the limited resources and utilizing it wisely as well. Why haven’t we inherited this beautiful quality and learned to preserve it? This negligence from the human race is certainly going to cost our Mother Nature and Earth. The question that arises here is – Do we want to take away everything with us, leaving nothing behind for the generations to come, or Can we not become selfish and do something about it now itself?

Mitali Kapoor, Assistant Professor, School of Fashion Design, Unitedworld Institute of Design (UID)

Disclaimer: The opinions / views expressed in this article are solely of the author in his / her individual capacity. They do not purport to reflect the opinions and/or views of the College and/or University or its members.

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