Wiping The Slate Clean | Verve Magazine
India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
March 20, 2021

Wiping The Slate Clean

Text by Akanksha Pandey. GIF by Aishwaryashree

How has fashion evolved to tackle a global crisis that shook the industry’s very foundation? Four industry insiders share their thoughts

The pandemic triggered a series of events both alarming and informing while we were fighting the battle of life and death. Until late 2019, the general consensus was to conserve the environment but no sooner had we set foot into 2020 than we moved from shunning the use of single-use plastics to depending on them for our lives. As the fear of contracting the virus or spreading it unknowingly began to take root, our pledge to live sustainably was overridden by the dependence on disposable items — gloves, masks, spoons, glasses and even entire PPE suits. 

Like most of us, last year I started adding an extra “why” to the choices I made every day. 

2020 saw a collective disinterest in conventional fashion (the garment industry); instead what informed our choices as consumers became primary. What I now gather is that transparency is here to stay. Those at the lower levels of the value chain are our heroes and their safety and security are of utmost importance. 

We can’t solve our problems if our buying patterns aren’t guided by the principles of reusing, recycling, repurposing and generally just purchasing lesser. A T-shirt cannot cost as much as or less than a sandwich.

We are the sum of our choices, and as we enter a new period of our existence, we purge our old selves and embrace the freshness of renewed awareness, circularity and humanity.

On the cusp of FDCI X Lakmé Fashion Week 2021, we invited the best of industry insiders to share their thoughts on where is fashion at today and where it needs to be….

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“I believe fashion is at somewhat of a turning point. Through the restrictions of quarantine and a suffering industry worldwide, we have been forced to evaluate our consumption of fashion and what we are buying into. Not only has this offered us a chance to change the future of fashion through more sustainable ways, but it has also given us a breather to really question our authenticity as creators and as people living a fashionable existence.” – Nilik Khimani, Visual Artist


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A post shared by NILIK KHIMANI (@nilikkhimani)

“Consumers are holding designers and artists more accountable than ever before and are pushing us to question the integrity of our work. The way in which we consume fashion and culture today gives us more space to tell our stories and what matters to us beyond the products we’re selling. That’s the most exciting part for me and I feel it has inspired many people from non-traditional design or art backgrounds to use fashion as a means of spreading their narratives too.” – ZN Ali, Designer


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A post shared by @znali

“2020 turned the fashion industry on its head; consumer behaviours shifted as people became more conscious of where to invest their money, international trade suffered as a result of travel restrictions and stores had to be shuttered all over the world. Yearning for a silver lining, fashion brands went all out with their digital presence, engaging with audiences through enhanced social media experiences and providing flexible and interactive video shopping strategies. But perhaps the best thing to have come out of this upheaval is the recognition, dignity, security and justice afforded to our garment workers. With brand campaigns promoting a more sustainable approach to fashion, this is the time for us to come together, calibrate our consumerist outlook and wholeheartedly embrace the slow fashion movement. I guess we needed a global pandemic to pause, reshape our priorities and make the kind of ethical choices we should have always made.” – Indrakshi Pattanaik, Costume Designer and Stylist

“Fashion has been an expression of one individual’s desire so far, but it is now moving towards the expression of a collective vision. In its most honest form, fashion is a union of society and nature; it has always been, even though humans go back to check on this truth every now and then, until nature does a check on us.” – Nishanth Chopra, Founder at Oshadi


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A post shared by Ōshadi (@oshadi_collective)

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