By Senthil Sankar, Managing Partner at Shree Renga Polymers & EcoLine Clothing
The global fashion industry has undergone a significant transformation in recent years, with sustainability emerging as a key focus. India, as one of the world’s largest textile and apparel producers, is not exempt from this trend. In this article, we will delve into the future of sustainable fashion in India, with a particular focus on developments expected within the industry in 2024.
Sustainable Fashion in India: Current Landscape: In our quest to explore the future of sustainable fashion in India, it’s essential to ground
ourselves in the current state of affairs. Let’s take a closer look at the evolving landscape of sustainable fashion on the subcontinent.
A significant shift is underway in India, with consumers becoming increasingly conscious of sustainability issues within the fashion industry. The winds of change are evident in a 2020 Nielsen survey, which revealed that a substantial 85% of Indian consumers actively consider sustainability when making their purchasing decisions. This awakening is not merely a fleeting trend; rather, it is a steadfast movement poised to gain even more momentum in the years ahead.
The Indian government, recognizing the importance of sustainable practices, has embarked on initiatives that align with the principles of eco-conscious fashion. One such initiative is ‘Make in India,’ which encourages local production. By reducing the carbon footprint associated with imports, this program takes a significant step towards sustainability.
Additionally, the Ministry of Textiles has introduced transformative schemes like the Amended Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (ATUFS). These endeavors aim to modernize the textile and apparel sector while placing a strong emphasis on sustainability, creating a harmonious synergy between government policies and eco-friendly fashion goals.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India has emerged as a prominent advocate for sustainable fashion through his choices and initiatives. His fashion choices have often reflected his commitment to promoting eco-friendly and traditional Indian textiles.
In various international and domestic events, Modi has been seen wearing handwoven fabrics, khadi, and outfits designed by local artisans.
Rise of Sustainable Brands
India’s journey towards sustainable fashion is driven by multiple factors, including heightened consumer awareness, evolving market dynamics, and an unwavering commitment to forging a more environmentally conscious and socially responsible fashion landscape. Today, Indian consumers are not merely shoppers; they are informed advocates for change.
They scrutinize the environmental and social impact of their purchases and actively seek out brands that prioritize sustainable materials, ethical labor practices, and transparent supply chains.
This transformative shift is not just a passing trend but a fundamental reconfiguration of the Indian fashion industry. It’s a move towards a future where sustainability and responsibility are at the forefront. India is setting a compelling example for the global fashion community, illustrating how a nation with a rich textile heritage can pivot towards a more sustainable and responsible future.
The message is clear: the fashion industry in India is not just evolving; it’s evolving sustainably, and it’s doing so with purpose and
determination. Anticipated Developments in India’s Sustainable Fashion Industry in 2024 As we peer into the crystal ball of the fashion industry, one thing is abundantly clear – sustainability will continue to be at the forefront of India’s fashion landscape in 2024.
The journey towards environmentally conscious and socially responsible fashion is an ongoing evolution, and the upcoming year promises exciting developments on multiple fronts.
Increased Use of Sustainable Fabrics
A pivotal change on the horizon is the burgeoning adoption of sustainable fabrics. Fabrics such as organic cotton, Tencel, and recycled polyester are gaining considerable traction. India, in particular, has been making strides in organic cotton production, emerging as a formidable alternative to conventional cotton. Remarkably, as per the Textile Exchange, India ranked third globally in organic cotton production in 2020.
Sustainable Fashion Tech
Technology is set to become the backbone of sustainability efforts in the Indian fashion industry. Innovations like 3D knitting machines, which substantially reduce fabric waste, and blockchain technology to ensure supply chain transparency are poised to become more commonplace. These technological marvels not only bolster sustainability but also enhance efficiency and cut costs – a win-win for both the industry and the planet.
Circular fashion, a concept promoting recycling, upcycling, and resale, is expected to gain substantial ground in India. Already, several startups focusing on clothing rental and resale, akin to global giants like Rent the Runway, have garnered noteworthy success. In
2024, we can anticipate a broader array of mainstream brands embracing the circular fashion model, thus mitigating the environmental toll of fast fashion.
Sustainable Fashion Weeks
India, renowned for its vibrant fashion weeks, is experiencing a shift towards sustainability. Events like Lakmé Fashion Week are increasingly emphasizing sustainable collections and eco-friendly practices. In the coming year, we can envisage a greater participation of designers and brands in these events, showcasing their unwavering commitment to sustainable fashion.
Ethical Labor Practices
In 2024, ethical labor practices will come into sharper focus within the Indian fashion industry. Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of not only the environmental consequences but also the human toll of fast fashion. Brands will face heightened scrutiny to guarantee fair wages and secure working conditions for their labor force.
Expect ethical certifications like Fair Trade and SA8000 to become more commonplace, offering consumers assurance that their purchases uphold ethical employment standards.
Sustainability Metrics and Reporting
Transparency is emerging as a bedrock principle of sustainable fashion. In the forthcoming years, there will be a more pronounced emphasis on sustainability metrics and reporting within the Indian fashion landscape. Brands will be compelled to furnish verifiable data regarding their environmental and social impact, empowering consumers to make informed choices.
Furthermore, sustainability reporting will incentivize brands to perpetually refine their practices, thereby diminishing their carbon footprint and overall environmental imprint. In summation, the canvas of sustainable fashion in India for 2024 is painted with vibrant possibilities.
From the proliferation of sustainable fabrics to groundbreaking advancements in fashion tech and the ascent of circular fashion, the industry is undergoing a transformative journey.
Nevertheless, it’s imperative to address challenges such as consumer education and affordability while harnessing opportunities like
innovation, export potential, and job creation. By embracing ethical labor practices, fortifying sustainability reporting, and fostering collaboration, India’s fashion industry is charting a course towards a more sustainable and socially responsible future.