Interview #1 – the second expert I’m interviewing is Ms. Charlotte Ku who works at Sahara as a merchandiser. As an insider in the fashion industry, she was able to answer a few of my questions about the fashion industry in terms of sustainable fashion.
Q1 – According to you, what is sustainable fashion?
A – sustainable fashion is one which contributes to the environment rather than taking from it.
Q2 – Do you practice sustainable fashion? Or do you feel that you have a long way to go?
A – Yet to invest in that.
Q3 – How can a common person practice sustainable fashion?
A – The simplest way for a common man to practice sustainable fashion is by indulging lesser in fast fashion, be creative and upcycle your own clothes.
Q4 – Can you give us an overview of the process of creating a product? Is sustainability one of the things kept in mind?
A – A typical fashion garment generally goes through the process of weaving the fabric-dying it if it is not yarn dyed-then comes the various process of value addition such as printing/embroidery/etc-and lastly stitching and finishing. Sustainability can be practiced at all the stages keeping in mind the environment. Such as using chemical free dyes/natural dyes, natural fibres.
Q5 – There is a sort of taboo around repeating outfits. How do you think that can be changed?
A – That is where creativity and styling comes into play and with the growing trend of making multiple uses of a single garment, I feel the taboo is becoming less stringent.
Q6 – Are there any timeless wardrobe classics that everybody needs to invest in?
A – Most definitely- a crisp white shirt, the perfect blue jeans is a classic which everyone across all age groups can invest in. Rest of the ‘classics’ is quite subjective in my opinion.
Q7 – According to you, are there any brands which release statements claiming that their products are sustainable, when in reality, they aren’t?
A – Yes. That is not to mislead the customers in its entirety. But simply because the meaning of sustainability is somewhat diluted. Just incorporating one single ‘natural’ element or up cycling at one stage of production doesn’t necessarily make the product sustainable. It is a much broader and vast idea which must be implemented throughout the chain.
Q8 – How many of the ‘huge’ or ‘popular’brands actually try to create sustainable products?
A – Fast fashion has little to do with sustainability. And most of the big and huge fashion brands as you call it, are in the fast fashion segment.
Q9 – According to you, what changes are required in the fashion industry in terms of sustainable fashion?
A – Most importantly, the wage and working conditions in the large garment industries of India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, etc. Water shortage issues in intensive cotton producing countries like India.
Q10 – Do you personally believe in sustainable fashion? Do you think it can impact the world in a significant way?
A – It still has a long way, but I can very evidently see the trend changing.