Repeat fashion is winning big right now
Being prudent about our purchases and lifestyle, in general, is truly the need of the hour. As we encourage the conversation around sustainable choices, industry experts chime in on the importance of recycling and restyling wardrobes
A sustainable start
We’re well-informed about the positives of being minimalistic with our choices. A sustainable way of life that puts the environment first, in every way, is the only way forward. Designer Punit Balana agrees, “Yes, the current scenario has definitely taught us the value of a lot of things, especially relationships and resources. This time has taught us the importance of sustainability—be it fashion or otherwise. In fact, I am glad that few celebrities have started repeating their clothes, inspiring others to do the same.”
Repeating garments has been a long-awaited trend and is essential when addressing issues such as climate change. Designer Laxmi Shriali Sood, Founder of Label Laxmishriali, elaborates, “Fast fashion is a vicious cycle, which pushes us to forget the value of our clothes and treat them as single-use acquisitions. Moreover, the current generation is now starting to focus on issues such as recycling, upcycling and any other means to protect our environment. In the current scenario, the need of the hour is for everyone to adopt sustainability as a lifestyle choice.”
Repeat after me
In the early days, clothes were always recycled, reused or even dyed. Designer Ritu Kumar explains, “For instance, a sari was cut to make odhanis. In Bengal, layers of Kantha were used to make new shawls; therefore, the idea of reusing clothes, especially in a country which is so rich in textiles, has been with Indians for centuries. This practice is also sustainable for the environment because fast fashion tends to be thrown away quite quickly and the subsequent textile waste leads to ecological problems. Add to that, if one recycles/reuses, they curate a wardrobe that’s classic—one that will stand the test of time.”
The process of selection from a consumer’s end, too, needs to be a thoughtful exercise. “If we carefully curate our wardrobe, make informed choices and buy what resonates with our ideologies, the life of the garment increases. You will keep reaching for clothes that make you feel something, that are consciously crafted and bring out the best in you,” feels Hemant Sagar of Lecoanet Hemant.
It’s the same, but different
Repeating clothes doesn’t always mean having to look the same. Designer Vatsala Kothari for the brand Aapro Label, reveals, “Your wardrobe doesn’t need to be crowded with clothes to look your best; it just has to be a good mix of versatile pieces that can be paired with other separates to give you a completely different look each time. When it comes to Indian wear, a different blouse or dupatta can instantly make the outfit look different.”
You can keep your wardrobe fresh by buying separates. Advocating this approach, designer Shriya Som states, “We tend to buy one garment that defines a look. Instead, you can mix, match and play around with styling different pieces to put together a look that will make you feel confident! For example, a smart jacket can be worn with jeans, a gown, or a sari!”
To create new looks from an existing wardrobe, invest in some classic styles. Listing out a few key items, designer Mrunalini Rao shares, “A vintage Kanjeevaram sari, a Benarasi sari, a traditional lehenga, a little black dress, a silk skirt, a white shirt and a pair of blue denims. Should you want to re-style your bridal lehenga for an occasion, pair the skirt with a classic white shirt. You can also pair the choli with a Kanjeevaram or Benarasi sari.”
If repeating outfits frequently bothers you, restyling is your secret weapon. And accessories are your ammunition. Designer Aarushi Kilawat of The Loom Art, suggests, “With each piece that you plan to buy, look for the different ways to wear it. The mix-and-match approach will give you a new look every time.” To add repeat value to your festive wardrobe, designer Rajdeep Ranawat recommends, “Switch things up with your accessories (read: jewellery, dupattas, bags). If something can be dyed into a darker or a brighter colour, take the risk and do so.”
With celebrities and influencers championing this cause—from Isha Ambani to Ivanka Trump and even Joaquin Phoenix during the award season, designer Aisha Rao feels that it is important to undo the negativity surrounding it. “For too many years, celebrities, first ladies and royals were seen in a new outfit every time they made a public appearance. Thankfully, we’re seeing the younger generation of Indian actresses like Janhvi Kapoor and Sara Ali Khan re-wear and create a buzz by repeating their looks.”
Social media is a double-edged sword—one that can inspire you or negatively affect your state of mind. “Don’t be pushed into buying things you won’t wear more than twice. Fashion is seasonal, treat it like a guidebook rather than a Bible. Choose pieces that speak to you and develop your own sense of style regardless of what is au courant,” advises designer Simrat Marwah.
From upping your accessory game to renting garments—there are a host of measures that one can adopt to make sustainable style choices. “You can promote sustainability by telling your friends and family to create a capsule wardrobe and only collect a few essential items. At the end of the day, fashion is what you do with it!” concludes Nishit Gupta, Director, Kalki Fashions.