In June 2022, FTA Youth Ambassador Daaniyah visited the factory of one of Pakistan’s most sustainable clothing brands, Generation, and had the opportunity to speak with Raafia Islahi, their Communications and Sustainability Manager. Generation has a fitting name as they sell timeless clothing that is made to last and passed down for generations. It was an honour to visit their colourful offices, soak in the friendly atmosphere, and enjoy the gorgeous grounds.
Why is timeless clothing important?
In recent years, we have become painfully aware of the numerous social and environmental issues with fast fashion including wage theft, unsafe working conditions, toxic chemicals, carbon emissions, and incomprehensible amounts of waste. However, with newer policies and standards being implemented, such as the New York Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act, The Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act, and the FABRIC Act,it seems that we’re working towards ensuring safer and more sustainable way of manufacturing clothing is on the horizon.
Recognizing that Asia, and specifically South Asia, have a long way to go towards solving the problems caused primarily by the fast fashion industry, it was very inspiring to learn about Generation and see a progressive brand so willing to not only be open about their positive efforts but also about their shortcomings.
What makes Generation different is that they take active steps to combat mass production. Every piece of clothing is made in limited quantities, which circumvents waste. The intention is to create a shift in consumers’ mindset toward clothing knowing that when a person considers their clothing to be special they have more of an emotional attachment to it which has been shown that they are more likely to cherish it for longer, ideally passing it along to the next Generation.
Going Behind the ScenesGeneration meets its workers where they’re at – in some cases, quite literally. In addition to the employees working in and around the factory, a portion of their female workers are able to do their needlework work from home. This benefits the workers as they are better able to juggle their work and family responsibilities, and provides opportunities for workers who live far from Generation’s factory to avoid the cost and time it takes to travel there. The needlework is delivered to the homes of these workers with pieces tracked to ensure they are paid fairly.
Generation’s latest endeavor, Re-generate is focused on zero waste, usingpost-industrial waste from their other clothing lines that would have otherwise been throw out, and turning it into various end products such as patchwork kurtas, scrunchies, bags, aprons, masks, and prayer mats. As these pieces are made from scrap material, there is a limited number of each and each one is unique. As Islahi says, “the goal isn’t to grow the line, the goal is to end the line”. In other words, the goal is for Generation to reach a stage in production where they no longer have leftover materials/waste.
As these pieces are made from scrap material, there’s a limited amount of each item created and each item is unique. And, judging by how fast items are sold out on a regular basis, people all over the world are eager to support these unique designs and earth-conscious efforts.
Generation’s EthosSustainability has been a core value of Generation since before the “eco-wakening” as it’s been woven into their mission from the beginning. The reason behind this is largely the climate of Pakistan. The country’s year-round hot weather, means that local consumer have specific needs for their clothes such as being breathable, made of natural fibers (as synthetics aren’t as breathable and can can irritate skin in the heat), and be able to withstand frequent washing. For these reasons, Generation was simply guided by consumer needs which aligned with the values of the eco-wakening.
How we treat our clothing determines the longevity of its life. Generation sends their clothes out into the world with all the qualities needed for it to live a long and loved life. In my opinion, this brand gives us a glimpse into the ideal future of fashion, and a mindset to be adopted by brands and consumers alike.
Written by: Daaniyah Mirza