Its ironic that while being trained in fashion that you have developed a perspective on frugality and conscious use of resources that Button Masala embodies. Did this come from your family background or the lack of resources when you were growing up? How do you bring this message to the fashion industry which is probably the opposite of what you represent?
Its not as though people in general are wasteful – often people recognise that their activities are wasteful but they are operating within systems which perpetuate this waste. In the fashion industry, which is based in cutting and stitching, wastage is inherent. To be able to reduce this wastage one has to question the technique itself which is a tall order for most designers. Even those designers that are trying to use organic fabrics or sustainable means of production, still depend on systems of marketing that are completely unsustainable and they feel it is outside their scope to change this.
It is the ego that creates waste – one cannot excite people about simplicity by resorting to glamour. I try to live what I believe as far as I can – I work with my hands and walk with my feet. I use as little as I can because I believe that all the resources that exist belong to everybody and they are not mine to use exclusively. I grew up in Rajasthan which is a harsh environment and it was in our culture to be conscious of our resource use.
Currently we are producing more stuff than is really required – how many shoes do we really need? If one was to calculate how many shoes are truly required by a group of people over a certain period of time , it would become clear that the production is way more than required. We perhaps should have a way of regulating production so that we don’t have to create false markets for all that we have produced.
Are people open to this approach to consumerism in the fashion industry?
On an individual level, when I speak to people they understand and are inspired by the concept. However when it comes to imbibing it or living this way, they find it difficult to change. This is because the concept of sustainability is not fully understood by most of us. When we understand that living sustainably adds value to our life, we would not treat it like a loss or a punishment. Unless we live and experience the joys of making such choices we are fearful of the changes it may demand of our lifestyle