[Answered] What is sustainable clothing? What are the needs and challenges of adopting sustainable clothing in India?

Introduction: Explain sustainable clothing.
Body: Explain needs and challenges of adopting sustainable clothing in India.
Conclusion: Write a way forward.

Sustainable clothing is a way in which brands create clothing that not only reduces the impact on the environment but is also mindful of the people who work to produce the garments. Simply, it is fashion that is ethically made and environmentally friendly.

What are the needs of adopting sustainable clothing in India?

  • High demand: With India’s high share of global population and increasing purchasing power, it would be quite soon that India starts accounting for a major share in textile related environment degradation statistics.
  • Under developed recycling:  Each year, about 60 million tonnes of new fibersare used to make garments, and no plausible concept exists on what to do with them when they are no longer needed. As a result, three-quarters of these products are disposed off in landfills or incineration plants.
  • Its production process saves at least 90 per cent water and 50 per cent energy when compared with traditional methods.
  • Our National Climate Change Journal (2018) lists textile manufacturing as one of the most polluting sectors of the economy, emitting 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases.


  • It is not only about setting up a zero-carbon production and supply chain, it is also about including fair trade and ethical practices for labour, nurturing artisanship, recycling etc. all of which raises production costs.
  • Procurement of sustainable raw materials: Organic cotton, handlooms, even recycled fibres, polyesters or deadstock cost higher as well as technical interventions needed to minimise water wastage, emissions, effluents and organic dyes.
  • Maintaining a circular economy of fashion involves sophisticated technological processes, an indulgence at best by big fashion houses, who, like Stella McCartney, have developed a sub-brand.
  • The major fashion weeks are still far from firming them up.
  • Without incentives in the fashion industry, rationalisation of the cost structure, and most importantly, legitimate endorsement by Bollywood and sports ambassadors, sustainable fashion will not become a practical choice.

Because environmentalism goes hand in hand with socially equitable practices, however, ethical and sustainable fashion are intricately tied together. Owing to multiple benefits, Project SURE is a step in the right direction.

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