Sustainable, but how?
‘Sustainable’ is not a newly coined term however of late every product has some form of sustainable/green/eco-friendly association, right from clothing to cosmetics to food. Sustainably made. Sustainably sourced. Sustainably crafted. Sustainably grown.
But what does it all really mean?
Let's start with something simple, what does ‘sustainable’ mean? Sustainable in the dictionary refers to –
“able to continue over a period of time”
In the context of products it means processes or acts which contribute to the growth or continuity of something for a long time in the future. In 1987, the United Nations Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” We believe brands must create with a very simple thought that we as the receivers of certain skills and practices have the responsibility to pass them on to future generations. Sustainability however is not just one thing, an organisation can practice sustainability in many different ways,
we break down a few terms within the topic of sustainability and what they really mean.
Consumers today value honest communication and brands make efforts to update this information on their websites and social media. Most brands have a listing of their certifications (Craftmark, Fairtrade etc) and an About page that talks about their inception/ethos, this is usually a good place to learn more about your favourite brands’ sustainability journey. The 108 Knots website/social media is full of all our workshops and behind the scenes of making, See here.
A large part of transparency is knowing where and how every part of a product was made, from “farm to finish” identifying every step in the supply chain. Many brands do this by including such information in their tags or have dedicated pages on their website that talk about material/manufacturing origins. At 108 Knots we source our materials locally, making them into your favourite products with our in-house teams at various locations in and around Ahmedabad.
The making cultures of any place are primary to its identity, promoting practices that secure this identity helps to carry forward their culture. Indian craft communities have passed on making traditions through generations as oral instructions. At 108 Knots, we now conduct skill training to formalise this transfer and to include more people who might be interested in learning. We take a collaborative approach through dialogue with local communities to bring you handcrafted products that keep their identity central.
Assisting people in finding opportunities to support themselves economically over time can support individuals and entire communities. By creating a platform for these crafts to be showcased to the world, the culture of making in the communities is protected. We take this culture and shape it into a more economically lucrative opportunity for them.
Responsible use of the material is a large contributor to the environmental impact of any product (even packaging), material compositions that take longer to bio-degrade are bad for the environment. At 108 Knots, we use all-natural materials like naturally dyed pure cotton and banana fibre extracted from banana stems to craft our products.
ZERO WASTE INITIATIVES
The zero waste concept refers to the efficient use of resources by reducing waste generated in making any product. In fact, 108 Knots has been working towards using every part of the banana plant to make products, after harvesting the bananas farmers usually throw away the stems. We take this stem and process it to extract fibre to weave into fabrics, two other by-products of this process are a liquid that is used to make plant nutrients and pulp which is used to make paper.
A positive impact on society is central to the idea of sustainability. To create positive spaces for all members of an organisation and to support their individual growth. At 108 Knots, we celebrate festivals/birthdays together and have picnics regularly, to truly create a sense of community.
In the conversation around sustainability one
oft-overlooked aspect is that of ethical responsibilities. Fair wages are a primary part of this conversation. The artisan community at
108 Knots consists primarily of women, who are
at many times the sole earning members in their families and are proud of being the ones funding their kids’ education.
Trends and their very short-lived nature are huge contributors to landfills. However, some brands choose to step away from trends and create seasonless products that can be used for years. We at 108 Knots make uniquely crafted pieces that are handmade from start to finish.
The conversation around sustainability and sustainable design is a much longer one, these are a few ways you can start spotting greenwashing language by looking for facts. Here are some additional resources to keep learning new things in this realm every day.
Fashion revolution: www.fashionrevolution.org. Voice of Fashion: www.thevoiceoffashion.com. Good on you: www.goodonyou.eco
Keep watching this space and our Socials for more !
- ...In 1987, the United Nations Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
- ...sustainability refers to the ability to maintain or support a process continuously over time. In business and policy contexts, sustainability seeks to prevent the depletion of natural or physical resources, so that they will remain available for the long term. The idea of sustainability is often broken down into three pillars: economic, environmental, and social—also known informally as profits, planet, and people.
- Sustainable fashion is incomplete without considering the implications of business decisions on people and the planet. It is about time cultural sustainability is included in mainstream conversations, design collaborations and responsible business ideologies. And from a broader lens of holistic sustainable development, imbibing the true ethos of craft can be a roadmap to slowing down fast fashion and its impact on climate. https://thevoiceoffashion.com/fabric-of-india/artisan-x-designer/what-about-indian-fashions-cultural-sustainability-4687
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