Major events that shaped fashion last year – Times of India

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What we learned from 2021? India’s largest fashion companies have started releasing their annual reports in the past 12 months, getting the spotlight for the conversations around fashion summits and debates over taking global warming red alerts. It’s one thing to keep the moral ground solid and transparent with ecosystem, yet another thing to play the false card of organic and vegan products repeatedly. Many have been trying to win the race via chemicals and cheap manufacturing by putting a mask of recycled plastic and sustainable approach on it. 2021 was a year of local businesses building the strength and market to breathe with many fast fashion cheap brands blindly claiming to be organic and climbing the ladder of the deserving.

However, the transition has taken place during the virus war. One fortunate by-product of the pandemic was outpouring of creative diversity all around the world, while European giants like LVMH and KERING were bringing old heritage front forward and trying to facelift the entire format of foreign fashion; our very own power players RBL extended its olive branch to bring known prestigious designers and labels under their collaborations. While designers teamed up with various artisans through home decor, organic fragrances or kitchenware utilities. Small businesses, at last, saw the daylight on e-commerce portals merging with various brands and locally shipping goods around India. 2021 came with ecofriendly packaging, ongoing ethical fashion podcasts, micro- influencers, metaverse fashion opportunities offering virtual marketing tools, NFTs and their art collections, while workers struggled for their voice and rights to earn their minimum wages. Last year was chaotic and full of ‘planet friendly’ commotion through ongoing pressure of continuance.

These were some prominent challenges faced by the industries in the last passing year.

Biodiversity


In the issue of November 2021 of ScienceNews; an amount of up to 20,000 metric tons of tiny fragments called micro plastics may have been stored in coral skeletons worldwide every year, explained ecologist Jessica Reichert from Justus Liebig University Giessen in Germany. That figure corresponds to nearly 3 percent of the microplastics estimated to be in the shallow, tropical waters where coral thrives and fashion waste plays a very big part in the ocean as well as on the ground fields. Focussing on wildlife; the Amazon rain forest is home to billions of trees, trillions of wildlings and other living beings struggling to create more space for themselves, fashion and clothing industries are supporting the largest biodiversity regions on the planet.

Last year was a year of power packed revolutionaries, coming forward and working more aggressively towards the environmental issues joining hands with many countries.

Degrowth mindset


Some of the best ideas of preserving the environment and the excessive exploitation of natural resources emerged from the previous pandemic era and by the end of the World War II. However, 1970s was the time, the concept of degrowth took off. It only got prominence with ideas which were subject to further theories, developments and debate by deep thinking economists, ecologists, and philosophers. As a result, last year rooted couple of tangible principles to the ground of making growth. Today the idea of degrowth supports many undeniable realities of global warming which are a result of human actions.

Decoupling profitability from exponential economic growth is no more overlooked in company’s annual consumption. In order to build on the commitments made in 2021, fashion brands explored alternative business models, made smarter production decisions and embraced degrowth mindset to dish out old ways and open new doors to control overproduction as well as overconsumption.

Digitalisation


In order to get a pass for the new edge expansion, brands and textile companies started leaning more on augmented reality and online markets instead of physical exchange. As business shifted towards digital marketing demands, menial tasks that one person could easily achieve are now evolving in to a colossal list of things to keep up within the market needs or demands of target audience.

Year of 2021 was an eye opener for a community of old school mindsets still believing in physical experience and paper prints, while demands were rising for online businesses. Before the pandemic there was still a window for businesses operating entirely offline, but that’s not the preferred choice if one has to reach people and have unlimited access to resources. 2021 was throwing out big element of future-proofing jump in trading if one got on to a digital bandwagon. Technology is the magnum opus of the century and the virtual world is volatile yet dynamic, powerful with break and recovers your entire empire once you master the online game.

To conclude, 2021 was the year where consumers demanded more transparency, flexibility and wide variety of options which ensures the ethical value system, buyer’s fluctuating and needs, making use of multiple channels to pick and choose from. This made many companies hop on all the relevant services and tactics to keep themselves afloat.



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