"We don't inherit the Earth from our ancestors, but we borrow it from our children"
- David Brower
As we live today, conscious consumption is rapidly becoming a lifestyle choice out of a sheer need, to build a sustainable future for ourselves and the generations to come. However, there seems to be much ambiguity as to the very implications of this concept, one of the more prominent being the threat of climate change. True, climate change is a real-time, atomic threat of our times, but so is our inability to comprehensively adapt to a sustainable lifestyle.
As David Brower rightly said, "We don't inherit the Earth from our ancestors, but we borrow it from our children". The geopolitics of our times have indented much stress onto our choices, right from mass deforestation to create modern societies in select cities, to our indulgence in natural resources, fueled by our advancement through the industrial revolution, unto this very breathing moment. We've recklessly upped our carbon footprint, hoping, there would be someone else, who could bear the responsibility of reversing it. We, in the larger, more 'metropolitan cities' hopped into the age of consumerism with little thought of the consequences of such consumption, onto the next decade of our lives - living larger than life appetites for all the best money has to offer. Surely there is no condescension in luxury and or the indulgence of it, occasional or as a lifestyle, but is its price tag one that we can afford to pay, for our future generations?
The rapid consumption of plastics and fast fashion have gained much publicity, with their multidimensional harm to the environment in its absolution - earth, water and air. When we donate to charities of our choice, we take much satisfaction in knowing that we are doing our part in 'saving the planet'. However, how often have we made a step back and done something as small as 'reduce, reuse and recycle'? I'm not one to condone someone's choices, but I certainly do feel that we are at a juncture, where our decisions today could critically make or break the future of this delicate environment we're a part of.
It’s been a directional shift of the entire thought process, to truly understand the meaning of sustainability in our times. It is a fact that modern media places much importance on the use of organic materials, banning single-use plastics, reducing our carbon footprint in every little manner we can - but transparency in one of the most basic of our consumptions - fashion, is overlooked more than we'd be able to appreciate. There isn't much that's laid out in front of us, as a consumer, when we are purchasing mass-produced goods, which have often not been able to achieve the trifecta of local businesses - the creativity of the artist, the handicraft skill and sustained the development of that skill.
Mass production has primarily been focused on bringing cost-effectiveness into handicraft, consequently automating much of the process, which was initially developed to meet a small demand within a small community, making it a luxury commodity. However, as we rebranded the concept of luxury, so did we redefine our consumption habits. Almost all of us have, at some point, practiced sustainability as a way of living, without heeding to it more consciously, which is why it's not difficult to develop these habits, to become a constant lifestyle. Being from a family where sustainable practices, like recycling, reuse, mindful consumption being practiced since we were kids, it has come to represent a way of life, which we only realized years later, that our parents had been grounding us to experience a sustainable lifestyle from the very beginning.
All these years of enjoying the luxuries, working within the fashion industry, has truly made me reconsider my future choices for not just myself, but what I would like to teach my future children someday and that has bought me to the conclusion that there needs to be more inclusiveness in our understanding of sustainability. When we speak of reducing our carbon footprints, recycling, banning single-use plastics, cleaning the oceans, planting more trees - it is imperative to include the large populations of artisans, across the world, who have been deprived sustainable livelihoods, with automated reproduction of their handicrafts skills. Recognizing who made our clothes, shoes, bags, grew our produce, gives us more control on our consumption habits, allowing us to significantly increase our individual input towards building an environment and societies that would sustain, to enjoy many more centuries of the luxuries of this beautiful planet.
At HMade Collective , we hope that this journey to truly understanding the nuances of sustainability and conscious consumption would be full of opportunities to experience the luxurious of such transparency and the organic fashion that results from it.
Watch this space for more on simple hacks for a sustainable lifestyle and ethical fashion, stemming from the core principles of recycling and up-cycling.