Dressing up for the occasion?
How many clothes does an average Indian with taxable income need and how many is he actually buying?
Too many is what the surveys say - 22,507 million pieces in 2018 alone. And, it is not rocket science to say that women and girls' garments top the list.
Open any girl/woman's wardrobe and you will know.
However, the rise of the metrosexual man has made the masculine gender vie for the top slot with equal fervour.
Now, for the mandatory nostalgia trip! Not long ago, in almost every home barring the rich and powerful that were still in minority - before economic revolution brought in these hordes of neo-rich and an absolutely new class called Upper-Middle whose only purpose in life is to work hard and spend hard - were Indians who still considered clothing as a basic necessity.
Yes, they too had these limited few special (costly) clothes kept carefully folded and preserved in almirahs with naphthalene balls protecting them for exclusive occasions – marriages, traditional ceremonies and parties mostly limited to birthdays.
And then there were the rest – the daily comfortable wear, which when wears out became home clothing.
And that was all it was.
Here is a glimpse of what the basic necessity has become over the years – Today the day starts with active wear or gym clothing, or sportswear – call it by any name, for it boils down to those clothes that we buy in anticipation of that elusive exercise regime, which we promise to follow day after day – that barring a few enterprising individuals - is usually an unfulfilled promise that we make to ourselves.
Then there is office wear – a code followed since there is no other option, and this is also one of the most bought categories of clothing, acquired with such feverish passion – almost as if there are 60 working days in a week, and not six.
No, this when they wear down do not become home clothing, the designs are too inconvenient for relaxing.
And when we say wear-down, it is actually not a wear down from use, but just a general disregard when new clothes make their way in, is slowly transferred to the back of the almirah; then to the lowest rack before finally making its way out of your life, either given away to charity or just disposed.
And then there is evening wear, cocktail party dresses, traditional occasion wear, heavy close family marriage collection, winter clothing, summer dressing, western wear, Indian wear, somewhere in the middle wear, nightwear, casual wear…list can go on…Award-worthy contribution to the retail economy to say the least, and ahead in keeping up with international trends to say the most.
According to statistics released by the World Economic Forum, 100 billion garments are made and sold every year worldwide.
With increased expendable incomes and decrease in the cost of garments, people are buying 100 per cent more clothes in the last 15 years, and in the process, using them less and discarding them more and this is leading to global warming. Know how?
For every 100 kg of garments made, 73 kg end up being burnt or in landfills, 12 kg is recycled, and a mere .12 kg are re-used to make new garments. Such a waste!
That said India is one of the largest markets for second-hand clothing. And Panipat is the Cast-Off capital of the world.
At the rate at which we waste our natural resources, it is indeed a wondrous thing that most of the clothes given away in developed countries make their way to India to be recycled; which is a major portion of the minuscule 0.12 kg of recycling that happens in total.