State youth on the way to a sustainable lifestyle

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As youth become more aware of their own consumer behavior, they are gradually moving towards more sustainable practices when it comes to fashion. Through thrift, reuse and upcycling, many in Meghalaya have begun to lead more responsible lifestyles.

“When I started my imperfect zero-waste practice, I was looking for more sustainable clothing options because I couldn’t afford hand-woven or designer clothes, so thrift was the best option I could find,” said Coretta Sangma, the entrepreneur behind it the nostalgia label in Tura. Sangma works in the fashion industry and has seen firsthand the negative effects of consuming fast fashion. She expressed her desire to work on fixing the broken fashion system. She said, “Instead of a linear give-take-waste model, I started assessing the lifecycle of my clothing and wanted to keep it circular.” There are many who don’t know how the industry actually works. She feels responsible for creating awareness on the subject and wants to offer more sustainable options to those who wish to deviate from the linear model.

Sangma says used clothing is good for the environment as it extends its life cycle. “Since no new resources are used, it saves a lot of water, energy, emissions and significantly reduces our carbon footprint,” she added. Cheaper and faster clothing is made using chemical dyes that pollute our waterways. In addition to environmental problems, frugality also has humanitarian implications. “Every time we put our money into thrift, we boycott the fast fashion industry and demand a change in the system, so I find it very revolutionary,” she said.

In addition to selling used items, she has worked with local artisans and made upcycling pieces from old and used dakmanda. She plans to make other products that include the dakmanda, such as hats, caps, and more clothing. It also houses a collection of handmade items made from sustainable materials such as hemp or hand-woven fabrics.

The owner of Va-le Closet thrift store in Shillong, Badarishisha Chyrmang, said she learned about this lifestyle in college. At first she didn’t go to save for environmental reasons, but to consume fashion on a small budget. She said, “I have had a deeper understanding of thrift since I started an online thrift store. It’s not just about saving money, it’s also about recycling clothes that are worth wearing and saving Mother Earth. “

Chyrmang said that she has always believed in the 3Rs of waste management (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), adding, “While I may not be able to use all three in my daily life, even recycling and reusing items can earth save at least a small percentage. ”The fashion industry generates tons of waste, which among other things leads to microplastic pollutants and pollution of water and soil. She says that if more people switched to thrift, we could reduce and slow down the pollution of the earth.

Dipse Sangma, a fanatic of frugal and sustainable fashion, said: “It is now common knowledge that the fashion industry is one of the main culprits for pollution.” She added: “For customers as fashion lovers, we can support slow and sustainable fashion and do our part to save our planet. ”The best way to do this is to save or buy clothes that are made from recycled materials, she said.

Kasaan Chokchim, a NEHU student who loves thrift, said buying used items creates less waste, which is good for the environment. “For me, sustainable fashion means being environmentally friendly and choosing quality over quantity,” said Chokchim. She urged people to opt for sustainable fashion over fast fashion and sustainable vintage items over trends that only last a few years.

“The adage ‘One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure’ is very true. I would recommend it to anyone who gives up on thrift as it is not only convenient but also environmentally friendly, ”she added.

Some people are skeptical, as frugality has long been associated with misunderstandings. Chyrmang said, “Most people think that thrift stores sell cheap items for twice the reasonable price, or that they’re dirty and out of trend.” Some people also believe that thrift store owners often try to defraud their customers. She stated that such misunderstandings lately have been proven wrong. Shopkeepers take extra care when choosing items. “They think about the quality of the product first, followed by the latest trends,” she added.

However, there are certain concerns about the new austerity policy. “Because of the recent popularity of saving in India, I have noticed major greenwashing and new product sales as thrift,” Sangma said. Second-hand clothing is said to have been carefully worn by the previous owner, but the products sold in most second-hand stores are new. She added that those thrift stores that sell garments made from factory waste can still be considered sustainable as they are not sold in showrooms or incinerated, which ultimately end up in landfills. However, in order not to create misunderstandings, she said it was better to use the correct terms. In her opinion, companies have taken advantage of this term and tried to wash consumers green in an attempt to boost sales. “But we now have more advanced consumers who want transparency and are trying to follow the supply chain,” she added.

“Sustainable fashion is the future because if we want humanity to exist on this planet, we have to work with nature, not against it,” said Sangma. She explained that the transition to a sustainable lifestyle has to take place within ourselves first as it is never easy or convenient. People need to be more receptive to others and connect with nature for the transition to take place. She agreed that this is a slow process as people are used to an unhealthy system. When she talked about how mindful consumption starts with small steps, she challenged people to ask tough questions. “Don’t be afraid of how awkward these questions and the answers you find out can be,” she added.

Chyrmang said, “We live in a world of fast-paced fashion and rapid development where slowing down is not an option.” She said if promoting sustainable fashion will save and preserve planet earth for our future generation, we should definitely encourage them.