A single cotton shirt uses up to 3,000 litres of water to make and a denim jacket takes about 7,500 litres — enough drinking water for one person for six years! A report published in Vogue states that "according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, textile production uses around 93 billion cubic metres (93000 billion litres) of water annually — the equivalent to 37 million Olympic swimming pools."

In order to raise awareness around the pressing issue of wastewater stewardship in the fashion industry, with a focus on bringing climate-action to fashion, seven artists and graphic designers have created a series of specially commissioned comic strips and works of art. This initiative has been taken in collaboration with ReFashion Hub, a collective working to bring together multiple stakeholders invested in wastewater reuse and management in the textile industry with long term positive climate impact.

"By 2050, fashion will become the second-largest water polluter. It's imperative for us as consumers, to come together to talk about the consequences of fashion on climate, as well as what each of us can do to make fair fashion choices," says Divya Thomas of The ReFashion Hub.

Priyanka Paul, Aditi Mali, Manasi Deshpande, Mehek Malhotra, Vinu Joseph, Param Sahib and Sonali Bhasin had been invited to design comic strips which capture a sarcastic take on producing a T-shirt, and the resources that it drains, with a key focus on water wastage.

With their works, these seven artists have tried to showcase the absurdity of the fast fashion industry, with the hope that viewers will
take a note of it, lend a thought to the cause and thus make responsible decisions.

The idea behind this initiative is also to raise awareness and at the same time, to ask audiences to question the source of the clothes they wear; think of clothes beyond the final output. Through these artworks and comic strips, one can examine the damaging impact fast fashion can have on our natural habitats. They will hopefully help the audiences to look at developing solutions to bring about change.

While Priyanka Paul and Mehek Malhotra’s comics bring to light the amount of water that our clothes consume, those of Sonali Bhasin’s offer an amusing take as frogs narrate the cause of the loss of their aquatic habitat, each leading to the clothes in her wardrobe. At the same time, Param Sahib, through her comic strip aims at initiating the process of looking out for sustainable options. Manasi Deshpande’s sarcastic comic addresses the issue of greenwashing in the fast fashion industry.

Param Sahib is a name synonymous with colours and everything pop. A designer and mixed media graduate from NIFT Bangalore, Param has completed 4 years in the industry as a fashion designer and artist. His quirky label Param Sahib Clothing has won hearts and appealed to the eyes of many eccentric art lovers.

"For millennials, it’s important to know that the damage is being done," Sahib says. Talking about her comic strip series, she adds, "It is a fun take on how things are being made and where we are actually going wrong in practice — the concept of fast fashion and its trap plays with the mind of the consumer with a backdrop of the demolishing environment at a rapid rate."

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21-year-old illustrator and poet Priyanka Paul has learnt all of it on her own. Her works revolve around the themes of social justice, marginalisation and self-exploration.

“I wanted to be part of the project because I’m constantly looking to understand and talk about the world we live in and the way we live and how we can do better," says Paul. "This project helped me explore the ethicality and also the constant tryst we have with capitalism and fast fashion in terms of everyday practices and functionality of clothing, the rise of thrift shops, and what even makes up or should be accounted for when it comes to eco-consciousness."

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Bleed image : Courtesy of Mehek Malhotra (Founder and CEO at Giggling Monkey Studio). Mehek is a designer and visual artist currently based in Mumbai. Her work is inspired by her interactions, fleeting thoughts and sights from everyday life in Mumbai, which culminate into some thought-provoking pieces.