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Prarthna Singh’s New Photo-Series Presents a Poetic Take on Consumerism and Fast-Fashion

Working in collaboration with The ReFashion Hub, Prarthna Singh’s specially commissioned series is a poetic take on consumerism and fast fashion.

The eternal struggle of staying trendy. Wear it or dump it? Only been a month since it was bought? Well, the powers that be operate on a different timescale. And you've got to keep up.

Singh's photography practice has been recognized for its exploration of unusual narratives through her distinctive and sensitive style of portraiture. For this series, she turns her lens on 10 articles of clothing, elevating them to sculptural pieces through her black and white portraits of these otherwise ubiquitous items of clothing. The viewer is invited to imagine the multiple narratives of utility, memory, consumption, waste and discarding that are layered within these images.

The 10 photographs have been specially commissioned by The ReFashion Hub, a collective working to raise awareness around the issue of water wastage in the fashion industry with a focus on bringing climate-action to fashion. The full series of works will be launching as a photo essay on The ReFashion Hub’s website.

Colours, shades and styles - one is never enough. That ‘minimum 50% off EOSS’ means it's a steal and who'd let go of that opportunity? (Mind you the new ones are on their way so, of course, these won't be in vogue for more than a few weeks).

The images show items we all have around us, yet are so quick to discard and replace with the next trend or fashion. Presented as a poignant photo essay, The ReFashion Hub wants to highlight the damage fast fashion does to the environment.

Some of the staggering facts this campaign tried to highlight include:

  • Water pollution is the most notable impact of clothing production, with around 20 percent of global industrial water pollution traceable directly back to the textiles 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.

  • Textile production uses around 93 billion cubic meters of water annually — the equivalent to 37 million Olympic swimming pools.

  • Beyond production, washing clothing using washing machines is estimated to require an additional 20 billion cubic meters of water per year globally.

Joy. It's transitory. Fleeting. Because 'fashion' is too. Despite the posters extolling the virtues of 'timelessness' and ‘eternal beauty’.

Talking about the series Prarthna Singh says, "When The Refashion Hub approached me to create a series of images addressing fast-fashion for them, I began noticing the omnipresence of clothes in my personal environment - my favourite pair of shorts out to dry; a pile of clothes waiting to be recycled; my partner’s sports kit back from the cleaners. I hadn’t consciously registered this before and it gave me some pause. I was struck by the ubiquity of clothes and how little we think of how our clothes are made or where they might end up. This series of black and white images communicates a quiet moment of reflection and recognition of these objects of clothing that make up our everyday landscape."

This photo series by Prarthna Singh is part of a series of creative programmes by The ReFashion Hub. Recently, The ReFashion Hub and YWater launched India’s first fellowship focusing on wastewater reuse and management in the textile industry called the Fashion Forward Fellowship. The on-going 5-week fellowship programme ends in April with one winning sustainable capsule collection. The ReFashion Hub has also collaborated with 7 talented artists and designers to create a series of artworks and comic strips, aimed to address the issue of heavy water wastage in the fast fashion industry and will promote traditional crafts and local artisans through its textile exhibit Karkhana Chronicles.


About Prarthna Singh:

Prarthna Singh's work explores questions of identity and gender, especially as they intersect with the fraught politics of nationalism in contemporary India. Her images reflect on the economic and political trajectory of the country, drawing connections between feminine precariousness and vulnerability, on the one hand, and courage and strength, on the other. Her practice negotiates how the two sides are inextricably linked. After completing her BFA in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design, Prarthna lived and worked in New York City. Currently, she is based in Bombay.

Her work has been published in Time, The New York Times Magazine, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, FTWeekend, Monocle, Bloomberg News, and The Guardian. Her clients include Nike, Apple, Uniqlo, Instagram, One Plus, Linkedin and Airbnb. Her book Sār: The Essence Of Indian Design was published by Phaidon Press.

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 collectivize 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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