Business sustainability of sustainable fashion

Youth today are barely able to keep up with the changing fashion. While wearing distressed denim and shiny boots might be a fashion today, tomorrow it will be cargo and converse. This ever-changing trend is viewed by environmentalists as unsustainable. To change the mindset of the youth, the Fashion Institute of Technology in the country is training interested designers in promoting slow fashion. Slow fashion is the process of generating environment-friendly quality clothes made with natural fibres by local artists.

A big barrier to promoting sustainable fashion has been the mass-produced, low-priced and machine-made goods that come and go with the trends. Fast fashion is popular among youth who are known as trendsetters.

“Youth are the biggest consumers of fashion. These days everyone is opting for fast fashion and barely anyone is after a slow fashion. Youth opt for fast fashion because it is affordable and trendy. As far as I have heard, despite wanting to adapt to slow fashion, people are reluctant to adapt to slow fashion since it is expensive,” said Ngawang Choden, the Programme Coordinator at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Ngawang, who also serves the institute as Marketing Officer and a trainer, believes that awareness for youth, to choose quality over quantity is needed. Fashion Industries are said to be the second largest pollutant besides exploiting animals. Adopting sustainable fashion would help reduce waste and also save water as 3,000 litres of water is used to produce one cotton t-shirt.

Most of FIT’s customers today are foreigners.

The Institute promotes eco-fashion by reusing fabric wastes in their training programs. Additionally, fabrics are donated to automobile workshops and elderlies residing in the memorial Chorten.

However, it is not easy for the local fashion house to switch to promoting slow fashion. According to some local fashion designers, there is a question of sustainability while adopting sustainable fashion. They say limited access to local raw materials, higher costs and slow business might threaten the very sustainability of their business. Due to uncertain business prospects of slow fashion, local designers refused to share the details of their plans with BBS.

Tashi Yangden

Edited by Sonam

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