Sustainable Fashion or SU.RE – resolving to attain the achievable goal of sustainable fashion in the Indian Textile Industry

by parineeti lal

1.What is Project SU.RE?

Indian apparel industry’s largest commitment to move towards sustainable fashion, Project SU.RE is a commitment by India’s apparel industry to set a sustainable pathway for the Indian fashion industry. SU.RE stands for ‘Sustainable Resolution’ – a firm commitment from the industry to move towards fashion that contributes to a clean environment.

2.When was it launched?

The Union Minister for Textiles, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani launched Project SU.RE, a move towards sustainable fashion, at Lakmé Fashion Winter/Festive 2019, in Mumbai on 22nd August, 2019,

3.Who are the stakeholders?

The project launched by the Minister, along with Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI); United Nations in India; and IMG Reliance, the organizers of Lakmé Fashion Week, involves 16 of the biggest brands of the Textile Industry of India.

4.What prompted this step by the Union Textiles Minister?

The Sustainability Resolution on 22nd August, 2019, is reflective of the thought of the Mahatma of ‘being the change you wish to see in the world’ and this year it being the 150th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation inspired this move.

5.What did she say on the occasion?

Addressing the gathering, the Textiles Minister said: “As a proud Indian, I stand here today to witness history. I would like to tell the United Nations that this has become possible due to the initiative of the industry, IMG Reliance and Lakme Fashion Week. We are celebrating the 150th birth anniversary year of Mahatma Gandhi, who asked us to be the change you wish to see in the world. The sustainability resolution being adopted today is reflective of that very thought of the Mahatma.

Never before have 16 of the biggest brands of India come together to save the earth. The combined Textile industry value of the the 16 signatories to the resolution is around 30,000 crore rupees. Everything we consume, we have to consume responsibly. The step taken today makes for not only responsible business but also smart business. The Sustainability Report 2018 states that sustainability is the 4th criterion considered by consumers while choosing products. I am grateful that UN in India is also here to support this endeavor. Best wishes for this amalgamation and confluence of what is purely Indian thought.”

6.What does it hope to achieve?

It is a move aimed at getting Indian fashion to contribute towards a clean environment. Based upon the launch and what the stakeholders had to say it is envisaged:

  • The Pledge taken at the launch of Project SU.RE will send a strong message to various stakeholders and producers in the apparel supply chain and encourage a wider sustainable approach to production that reduces the impact across environmental and social dimensions.
  • It will address the needs of an increasingly conscious consumer who would prefer to buy from a brand that is environmentally conscious and engages in environmental protection.
  • It will also underline the need for collaboration across the sector in order to bring about innovation and trans formative change.
  • Project SU.RE would hopefully contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030, especially SDG-12 for responsible consumption and production.

7.Some of the opinions voiced during the Occasion

Rahul Mehta, President of the Clothing Manufacturers Association of India said: “In the past, several products and processes of our industry were not environment-friendly. It is a tremendously responsible and timely step taken by the apparel industry of India, especially the signatories, to commit to move towards sustainable fashion. It is a matter of pride for us at CMAI to be associated with and be one of the drivers of this most crucial Resolution.”

As leaders and representatives of the industry, the signatories to the pledge for project SU.RE are sixteen of India’s top fashion and retail brands and CMAI members such as Future Group, Shopper’s Stop, Aditya Birla Retail, Arvind Brands, Lifestyle, Max, Raymond, House of Anita Dongre, W, Biba, Westside, 109F, Spykar, Levi’s, Bestsellers, and Trends among others. The signatories have pledged to source/utilize a substantial portion of their total consumption using sustainable raw materials and processes, by the year 2025.

 Renata Lok-Dessallien, Resident Coordinator, United Nations in India said: “The future of design is foremost about design with a future. Without sustainable supply chains, the fashion industry will become less and less viable. Project SU.RE opens a new dialogue to accelerate concrete actions for sustainability and climate action, and reduce environmental costs, through the entire value chain of clothes manufacturing. I congratulate the 30 brands and companies that have signed on to Project SU.RE.” said.

 

Mr. Jaspreet Chandok, Vice President and Head of Fashion, IMG Reliance said: “This is a culmination of our stated goal towards making sustainability a mainstream conversation. This initiative will be the start of a movement that can have massive impact and we hope to see significant change to come through over the next five years as major retailers move towards embracing sustainability at their core.”

8.Unnati Silks very much advocates sustainable fashion

When Unnati Silks started its journey in textiles with an insistence on Handlooms Sarees , little did it know about becoming a part of a mass movement towards sustainable fashion in its future years in the textile business. It has worked with master weavers across the country in a mutual beneficial association that has been a win-win from the start. While weavers were limited to their local traditions like Bengal Cotton ,Kanchipuram Silk , conditions and ideas, Unnati Silks by its holistic approach has been able to impart its research-based findings and realistic trend predictions, to give a new impetus and direction to the weaver’s effort and sustenance in those it has come in contact with.

In its march onward, by developing a strength in Hand Block Prints, it has been able to set up printing units that have a traditional Dress like Rajasthani Cotton , Gadwal Handlooms to process approach, yet maintaining the interest of the market through trendy designs. This has led to beautiful experiments in incorporating prints with other forms of adornment on fabrics that has succeeded in creating fusion that is novel and fairly captivating.

When sustainable fashion became a rage in terms of universally being accepted in the world of fashion as “necessary and contributory” towards a cleaner environment, Unnati Silks with its long-held practices of eco-friendly dyes, stress on natural fiber like Andhra handloom weaves, durable and bio-degradable fabrics,  it had in a natural way become part of the “sustainable fashion bandwagon”.

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