Indian Artists Come Together to Raise Awareness of Water Consumption by the Fashion Industry

February 20, 2021

  • climateThe ReFashion Hub presents a series of artworks and comic strips by leading Indian artists to raise awareness around wastewater in the fashion industry
  • A single cotton shirt uses up to 3,000 liters of water to make and a denim jacket takes 7,500 liters  – enough drinking water for one person for 6 years!
  • Organised by The ReFashion Hub, the artworks are part of a series of upcoming initiatives to raise awareness about water usage including public video projections, installations, and the Fashion Forward Fellowship


Above artworks clockwise from top left: Giggling Monkey; Param Sahib, Mansi Deshpande and Aditi Mali


The ReFashion Hub collaborates with 7 artists and graphic designers including Priyanka Paul, Aditi Mali, Manasi Deshpande, Mehek Malhotra, Vinu Joseph, Param Sahib and Sonali Bhasin to create a series of specially commissioned artworks and comic strips that will be launching on the artists’ social media handles from 10 February. This artistic intervention is aimed at raising awareness around the pressing issue of wastewater stewardship in the fashion industry with a focus on bringing climate-action to fashion. 

The artists 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. The resulting works showcase the absurdity of the fast fashion industry, hoping that viewers will lend a thought to the cause and take responsible decisions.

The idea behind this initiative is to ask audiences to question the source of the clothes that they wear and not just the final output. The works examine the damaging impact fast fashion can have on our natural habitats and look to develop solutions to bring about change. Priyanka Paul (image pictured right) and Mehek Malhotra’s comics bring to light the amount of water that our clothes consume. Sonali Bhasin’s comic offers an amusing take as frogs narrate the cause of the loss of their aquatic habitat, each leading to the clothes in her wardrobe and Manasi Deshpande’s sarcastic comic addresses the issue of greenwashing in the fast fashion industry.

“We are delighted to have so many innovative artists and designers join the conversation on The ReFashion Hub. The artist and designer created comics intend to popularise the narrative on the different ways that fashion impacts our lives and the environment around us. 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.” Divya Thomas, The ReFashion Hub

The comic strips are a part of a series of dynamic, youth-focused programmes conceptualised by The ReFashion Hub to create a conversation and a call to action around the pressing issue of fashion’s water footprint. It is well established that the fast fashion industry is one of the most polluting on earth. Through this campaign, The ReFashion Hub aims to create a movement around developing solutions for sustainable fashion  through impactful awareness-creation and strategic interventions.

Earlier this month, The ReFashion Hub launched India’s first fellowship focussing on wastewater stewardship called the Fashion Forward Fellowship. The 5-week fellowship programme ends in April with one winning sustainable capsule collection. ReFashion Hub is also launching a photo series by photographer Prarthna Singh to inspire young fashion conscious people to rethink fast-fashion consumerism with more fair and sustainable choices. It will also continue to promote traditional crafts and support local artisans through its textile exhibit Karkhana Chronicles.


About the artists:

Priyanka Paul is a 21 year old self-taught illustrator and poet. Her works revolve around the themes of social justice, marginalisation and self exploration.

Mehek Malhotra (giggling monkey) is a Designer and Visual Artist currently based in Mumbai. Her work is inspired from her everyday interactions, fleeting thoughts, sights from everyday life in Mumbai, all converted into thought provoking pieces. Mehek has come a long way from her childhood’s stationary oriented presents that equipped her, today, to become the Founder and CEO at Giggling Monkey Studio. 

Vinu Joseph is a political satirist, an independent journalist & video storyteller. His simple but quirky animations on socio-political topics are popular among his audience. 

Aditi Mali is a webcomic artist and a freelance animator from Pune, India. She shares her work under “goodbadcomics” on the internet. Her work is inspired by her own life and the life she would like to live. She has a cat, Maau and likes plants, clouds and maau.

Sonali Bhasin is a cartoonist and illustrator from Delhi, who works on climate change communications by day. She makes cartoons and digital art at @sonalidoodles by night. 

Manasi Deshpande is a caffeine dependent artist from Mumbai, India who draws inspiration from everyday life scenarios to create heart-warming and witty Illustrations. She is a digital communications specialist by profession, passionate about Social Change and strongly believes that art has the potential to change the world

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 into the industry as a fashion designer and artist. His quirky label Param Sahib Clothing has won hearts and eyes of many eccentric lovers. 


About The ReFashion Hub

The ReFashion Hub is a collective working to bring together multiple stakeholders invested in wastewater reuse and management in the textile industry with long term positive climate impact.

The stakeholders include fashion businesses, textile bodies, industry leaders, young designers, artisans and consumers. The Fashion Hub will collectivise and engage stakeholders in 4 states – Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab and Karnataka to raise awareness and drive conversations about water usage and wastewater generated by the fashion industry, call for commitment from textile bodies and fashion businesses to reduce the fashion water footprint and for treatment of textile wastewater and engage with government departments on reuse or management of textile wastewater. 

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