Modern fashion is ever-changing: what’s “in” one day is “out” the next, and accordingly most of our clothing is not built to last more than a few seasons. Americans consume almost 20 billion garments per year – that’s about 68 garments and 7 pairs of shoes per person – and according to the EPA, we throw away an average of 10 lbs of clothes per person every year, generating almost 13 million tons of textile waste.

But beyond the environmental issues at play, does the burgeoning culture of mass-produced materials and disposable fashion have a larger human toll? In our previous article, “The Impact of Fashion,” we heard from Sadhguru and fashion magnate Donna Karan as they discussed the effect of garment quality and material on an individual’s system. During a recent US visit, the two met again at Karan’s Urban Zen center in NYC and discussed fashion’s impact on culture and tradition.

Having recently returned from a visit to the Isha Yoga Center in India, Karan expresses her newfound appreciation for traditional handmade Indian textiles, explaining, “I think the beauty of it is the soul.” But she also worries that the culture and heritage is rapidly being wiped away.

What can we learn from these ancient techniques, and is it worthwhile for us to preserve them when cheaper and quicker alternatives have become omnipresent? In the video clip below, Sadhguru and Karan discuss the history and the significance of such varied and intricate handwork, which embodies a timeless creativity and passion that is always in style.

“One of my concerns is that this must be preserved, because it’s taken over 10,000 years to come up with such a variety of creativity. And all of it can just be wiped out…Yes, it’s practical to use machine-made cloth, but there is something beautiful when people use their hands and their hearts to weave something….Putting your life and your experience of life into the cloth, that is how these things are made. It’s not just a product, it is an outpouring of a human being. And we need to see more and more of that in the world, if we have to have some meaning to our lives.”

– Sadhguru

Editor’s Note: Check out more of the conversation in the video below:


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