“Even high fashion brands are thinking… sustainable…because that is the need/demand right now.”

In conversation with Insom

Insom is a Kolkata-based womenswear brand Wear Insom owned by Sajal Jain. They provide organic and upcycled clothing using 100% zero waste techniques of production. Their eco-conscious stylish, multi-functional and versatile outfits have found takers among eminent Bollywood, television stars and influencers too. We put some questions together for Sajal, read on to know her answers.

Q. How long has Insom been around for? And how do you perceive the industry to have changed since you first started?

A. Insom is now almost 2.5 years old. When I started, I really found it difficult to make people understand the importance of organic and sustainable fashion. But with time I think the customers are understanding the need and importance of organic fabrics for us and for the environment.

Q. What are the main problems you see in the fashion sector today vis-a-vis sustainability?

A. According to me, the main problems in the fashion sector—especially in the sustainable business—is that more and more people are coming up with sustainable brands, but we are really not sure if the fabrics are organic or if they are following sustainable means of producing such things. They are claiming it to be sustainable because that is the latest trend right now.

I think there should be more transparency so that people know about the brand and they can read about/get more information on how they work, how they produce, so that we can be sure that they are actually a sustainable brand and not just pretending to be one.

Q. Given that many brands are now being accused of greenwashing, how are the more conscious brands like yours implementing change within the sector?

A. I try to keep the price of my products as minimal as possible so that people can easily switch from mass production to sustainable wear. I want people to have a pocket-friendly sustainable garment so they do not think twice before opting for sustainable brands instead of a mass production brand.

Q. How do you inspire your customers to continue to invest in sustainable wear?

A. I also try to customize each and every piece for people according to their taste, according to their fit so that they become so comfortable with sustainable clothing and they do not go for that mass production trap again.

Q. Which brands would you recommend in India to imbibe the truest form of sustainability?

A. According to me, good sustainable brands or the sustainable brands that people can trust right now in India are Doodlage, No Nasties, Mati and, of course, Wear Insom.

Q. How can we as consumers drive more pressure for sustainability in fashion?

A. As customers, I guess people need to be more aware about the fashion industry. They should be more aware about the product they are buying. Before buying a product they should always check how much percentage of which fiber that product contains—what percentage of cotton, how much polyester and so on. They should always check where the product is made—is it locally made, or is it imported? And then obviously they should check to see whether it is a pure fabric or not. Wherever possible, they should always opt for sustainable brands or for locally made brands. These are the small things that anyone can do.

Q. And lastly, how do you envision the sector evolving? Are you hopeful?

A. Yes, I am very hopeful that this sector will evolve. It is already evolving, people are talking about it more and more. Even high fashion brands are getting threatened and thinking that they should do something in the sustainable (market) because that is the need/demand right now. Especially as people are becoming aware about climate change, they are also understanding that the fashion industry plays a big role in it and they are trying to put their efforts and make this industry more sustainable so that they can help in controlling climate change.

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