Its a question I still ask myself, now and then.
To those who are new here, I am changing my career path. I started out pursuing a major in Finance both in my undergraduate and graduate degrees. After that, I spent almost a decade working in the Analytics department for an Advertising Agency. Except for my family, not many know of my hidden passion for designing garments.
Back to my roots for the defining moments
I have always been passionate about textiles. Being born and raised in India, we had access to a variety of regionally crafted textile weaves and prints. Spending hours touching and feeling fabrics in a local shop and getting clothes tailored to perfection was the norm. To come to think of it, every photo album I ever looked at - my parent's generation looked pretty well-dressed! With crisply ironed saris for women and well-fitted shirts and trousers for men.
All it took to look great was to wear well-ironed clothes with a good fit - not patterns, and not colors. They valued and preserved their clothing for years to come. Limited funds at the time encouraged preservation. It inspired me to upcycle a few of my mom's old saris into dress and jackets. My younger sister and I both enjoyed the fruitful life of these new refashioned outfits.
Downward spiral caused by upward mobility
Of course, we live in different times than our previous generation. Widespread internet access and industrialization provided new job opportunities. We now have access to a wealth of resources, information, and choices. But lack in mental bandwidth.
The capacity to make better choices that affect us, our community and the environment is compromised. More is not always better. So when fashion becomes fast and cheap, we consume and dispose of garments without blinking an eye to the trail of waste we leave behind us. Sure we all like a good bargain but at what cost?
Fashion brands replaced natural fibers like cotton and linen with synthetic fibers like polyester. Cheap fibers and cheap labor became cost-effective for brands and were able to pass it on to their customers. But when a piece of clothing costs the same as a cup of coffee, one must pause. Consumerism across the board exacts a heavy price.
After being a part of this problem, I now aim to direct my passion for designing clothing that captures the essence of our previous generation - reduce, reuse, repair, and recycle. Do I have all the answers? Not really, but I choose to do something about it and learn along the way.