The sustainability movement in fashion has come a long way from its humble origins. While it would be hard to pinpoint the exact lightbulb moment, the conversation around eco-friendly fashion has been making the rounds since the late 1960s when the hippie revolution rejected conventional tropes of fashion in favour of natural fabrics and going back to a simpler way of life. Cut to 2021, and sustainability is no longer an outlier looking in from the outside—terms like carbon footprint and fabric traceability are now firmly entrenched in the lexicon of an enlightened tribe of consumers who are compelling brands and labels to follow suit.
The rise of ethical consumerism in the post-pandemic world
“The pandemic shocked people into change,” believes Ragini Ahuja, fashion designer and founder of eco-conscious label, Ikai by Ragini Ahuja. She adds, “Fashion needed to reset, to pause mindless consumption and reevaluate our actions. This time off from everyday life brought clarity of thought, vision and action.” Further proof of the same, as always, can be mined from the numbers. The concerns around sustainability have been clocking in at an all-time high, with 65 per cent respondents of an international study admitting that climate change needs to be prioritised in the economic recovery after the pandemic.
The good news doesn’t end there—the increased conscientiousness among everyday consumers is already translating into tangible results. Another study by a market intelligence firm on the changing customer sentiment around sustainable fashion discovered that consumers are now making significant changes to their lifestyles to reduce their environmental impact, with 60 per cent of the surveyed consumers going out of their way to recycle and purchase products in eco-friendly packaging. So, what is causing the sudden wave of revolution and how can we collectively build on it in a consistent manner for the long haul? We asked industry insiders to join us in tracing the source of the domino effect, and here’s what we learned.