About Pretty As You Please:
Sustainability has turned into a buzzword all round, especially in fashion. But what is sustainability? Simply put, it is anything that can sustain and be sustained by the planet and the people it touches. Experts define it as the three Ps: Planet, People and Profit.
Is it possible for fashion to be truly sustainable? There probably isn’t a right answer to this question, nor is there a short answer. The very nature of the fashion industry—fast or slow—is at odds with the core values of zero-waste living.
According to McKinsey’s August 2020 Fashion on Climate report, the fashion industry alone contributed a staggering 2.1 billion metric tons to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2018. That’s more carbon footprint than all the flights and all the ships in the world put together! Add to that the unethical labour practices, all outsourced to developing countries like ours, and we’re sitting on a ticking bomb.
We don’t have all the answers, yet. It is an evolving conversation, a journey—there is always more to do, but there is a bare minimum we must do. If we were to stop buying clothes, completely, an entire industry would collapse, affecting lives and livelihoods and allied industries, such as agriculture, too. And that wouldn’t exactly be sustainable, would it? At Pretty As You Please, we’re raising questions, bringing solutions, and celebrating brands that are doing the good work. We’re talking ethical, green, responsible practices, rooted in circularity, fairtrade, and slow fashion, while keeping it fun. Come, join us in the conversation!
Prerna Singh Butalia
Image by Leelawati Silver
A writer and editor, Prerna has 16 years of experience across print, electronic and digital media, with a focus on fashion, beauty and wellness. About 5 years ago, while doing a story on sustainable fashion, then an ‘emerging trend’ in India, she discovered some shocking facts and figures. The dissonance between her idea of herself as a conscious citizen and her love for an industry that was causing so much damage to the planet and its people was unsettling, to put it mildly. She began delving deeper into the issues of sustainability in fashion that she found, first to her frustration and then to her fascination, extremely complex, with no straight answers. ‘To buy or not to buy’ became a more nuanced decision. She also discovered most resources see India as a link in the supply chain, never a hub of innumerable indigenous fashion brands or a market.
Armed with an MOOC on Sustainable Fashion from Copenhagen Business School, and a course on Sustainability in the Indian Context, from Azim Premji University, along with her personal experience of learning to be a more conscious consumer of fashion without compromising on style, she decided to set up Pretty As You Please to help people make more responsible fashion decisions, every day, while acknowledging the fact that sustainability is a journey, it is scalable, and we all can/must do the best we can.
For Navmalika, it all began during her Bachelors in Fashion Design, at Pearl Academy, where she decided to take on sustainability for her graduation collection, ‘Mend It for Me’. It was her take on circular fashion, even though she didn’t know the term back then. Her inspiration was compassion: For oneself, for animals and for one’s clothes, that we not abandon them as soon as we spot a hole, rather look for ways to upcycle them. Inspired by The True Cost, the documentary that revealed the dark side of fashion, she decided to take a closer look at the production process by pursuing an MA in fashion management, and the term slow fashion became an integral part of her vocabulary. But she struggled to find a meaningful outlet for all the information and knowledge she had gathered. Fortunately, Navmalika and PAYP found each other, and she’s been putting together some incredible content for us!
A graduate from Pearl Academy, New Delhi, Rishika is a designer, an explorer and a learner with a deep-rooted interest in illustration and brand-identity creation. She believes every piece of communication we come in contact with, has the power to alter our perception and having the power to create impactful communications. As an artist, she uses her skill to create value from it, so it can be a catalyst of change. She remains connected to nature, remaining in constant awe of its beauty and the ways in which it evolves, treasuring the wonders around her and making conscious efforts to preserve it. Rishika is the brain behind the incredibly brilliant, fun logo, and the vibrant look of Pretty As You Please. Check out her work at www.rishikagoyal.design.
The Buzz on Brands: How We Review
At Pretty As You Please, we review fashion brands that claim to be sustainable, in part or in entirety. Brands are rated on their transparency, their impact on the environment, their relationship with the community they operate within, and what they offer to the consumer, in terms of design as well as service.
In order to do so fairly, we delve into the information put out by the brands on their website as well as on their social media channels, before moving on to reports from other sources, including third-party sources, media reports and customer feedback. We look for certifications and affiliations, and aggregate all the information to bring you a well-rounded, balanced review.
Pretty for the Planet: We look at the brand’s impact on the environment through the materials they use, the processes they follow, the packaging they use, and if and how they give back to the environment—if they do.
Pretty for People: This is where transparency matters the most. We look into the information the brand puts out about its supply chain and about the people who’ve contributed to its success. Are there any staff- or people-friendly initiatives in place? When you buy from a brand, do you know who made your clothes?
Pretty for You: We look at what the brand offers its customers—what the designs like, how inclusive they are. What kind of services are on offer? Do they mend, repair, recycle, upcycle? What are their policies like?