Fascinated and enthralled by Ahmedabad’s architectural and textile inheritance, the city’s premiere design institute- UID (United Institute of Design) hosted the biggest design event in Gujarat – Ahmedabad Design Week and India Design Confluence which is an ode to Ahmedabad, the first UNESCO Heritage city of India and in many ways a cradle of design education in India.

With the theme being “World Design 2025”, the three day design festival aimed to assemble designers, developers, innovative thinkers and leaders from across the globe to promote creativity, create opportunities for innovation and share design knowledge.

While all the speakers had different topics to talk about, they all hinted the same message – “How can human beings be more mindful and sustainable in future? Be it through adopting a sustainable lifestyle or by making changes in everyday living through various design interventions.

With technological innovations and scientific boom, not only has there been an escalation in production but also there has been a significant increase in unused resources. While the other industries may be contributors to wastage, the global fashion industry is considered the second largest polluter in the world. According to United Nations Climate Change News states, the fashion industry contributes 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions due to its long supply chains and energy intensive production.

Dr. Reet Aus, Founder Reet Aus Collection and Upshirt and a pioneer in industrial upcycling, has been experimenting with recycling in fashion and costume design since 2005. Highlighting the importance of sustainable fashion, she addressed the design fraternity saying, “Fashion trends are created, promoted and discarded. Over the past few decades, the rhythm of fashion has accelerated towards what we call fast fashion, a concept dominated by consumption, fast changing trends and low quality, leading consumers to buy more because they are affordable and eventually discard these as soon as trends change. The way in which the fashion industry is functioning today is environmentally damaging which is why one must adopt fashion that is sustainable.”

Today with growing consumer awareness and concerns about issues like environmental degradation, sustainability and ethical production, various fashion brands, designers and manufacturers from around the world are creating products in more eco-friendly ways to make sure they take steps to reduce carbon footprints.

Considering that Recycling, Upcycling, Repeat Wear and embracing Pre-loved fashion is the only way forward, here are the 5 Commandments by Dr. Reet Aus to be fashionably mindful in 2020.

  • Make use of textiles that are made from a renewable and sustainable grown raw material like organic cotton, bamboo or khadi which are not toxic and are pesticide free.
  • Shop locally made garments. This practice contributes to increased transparency and quality control.
  • Buying less and using less. Adopt the concept of zero-waste by shopping only what you need and not what you want. The concept of zero-waste in designing is about designing clothes where no scraps are left after the pattern is cut out.
  • Reuse your old clothes, repair them or pass it on to your siblings, friends etc. Reusing garments significantly helps in reducing the negative environmental impact of fashion textiles.
  • Upcycle your clothes. Upcycling aims to guide textile waste back into production. In making new from old and creating unique garments from mass production, upcycling helps a designer make sensible choices about their designing process and at the same time maintain characteristics of their design aesthetics.

Lookforward to a better life, a better future and better living with Sustainable Fashion.

(Dr. Reet Aus has teamed with Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Tallinn to create a novel circular business model, UPMADE to apply the method of upcycling in the manufacturing of textiles on an industrial scale. She has also been honoured with the prestigious The Order of the White Star from the Government of Estonia.)