Until this morning I knew not about #30wears, started by Livia Firth, whose existence I have ignored and denied in my head, totally enamoured as I am with Colin Firth, totally beyond ‘The edge of reason’. Easy Virtue, King’s Speech, Ohhh! Him and Hugh Grant. Which is why, Bridget Jones for me is like that Eden of my dreams.
Anyway, back to the Missus. So, Livia launched Eco-Age, and GCC, Green Carpet Challenge, recognising best practices in the fashion industry. Emma Watson has recently endorsed it by wearing a dress made of recycled plastic bottles, I don’t exactly know how many. Mrs. Firth challenges celebs to cavort in media glare while daring to wear an outfit a full 30 times. Or something like that. Actually, she encourages people to buy an outfit only if they’ll wear it 30 times. Apparently, her campaign is super successful.
Imagine this against the backdrop of my reality: I read this in Mumbai Mirror, Namrata Zakaria’s column on Slow Fashion link here. In my wardrobe hang a couple of items that have been with me for more than a decade. They serve their purpose to this day; pairs of jeans that also compliment me every time for not having expanded since those college days. I recall the time in 1998 when I had exactly 3 dresses to wear for ‘when I am out’. Which means not just a friend’s party party but also a regular bicycle ride to the tuition class. Black polka dots, red polka dots, a lemon yellow frock with green buttons and two pockets in the front – ‘sandy beach’ embroidered in green on the left panel. Yes, that was atrocious, no doubt. I owe my present madness about casual clothing to that constricted wardrobe of my early teens. At least that’s what I tell myself.
Yet, that was better than what most people in India have even now. Especially in the rural areas. My grandmother had a compact folding ‘charkha’ (spinning wheel). I delighted in Ms. Zakaria’s reference of Lucy Siegle’s words ‘Mahatma Gandhi didn’t have multinational fashion in mind’ when speaking of the rise of the Slow Fashion movement. We are now realising the damage we are doing to our very own existence by indulging our self-hate and insecurities through our fickle and feckless world of fashion, much perpetuated by page-3 termites that scream blue murder every time Kate Middleton repeats a dress.
GCC may be a very good idea in that part of the world but in this one, where 300+ farmers have killed themselves this year, #30wears is anything but aspirational in a twisted fashion. This is the culture of built to last rising like a phoenix from the ashes. Or is it? Ironically, while #30wears becomes a hashtag there, a hot trend, back in India, people are gobbling up mass-produced fast fashion sold under cheap labels like there’s no tomorrow. Little knowing that there isn’t, for many farmers.
As for me, I just invested in some khadi today. Go Khadi! Go slow…