“If there is no purpose in fashion, it is no more fashion; it is null,” says Aishwarya Sharma, India’s First Fashion activist. Combining the power of fashion and social media, Aishwarya is creating awareness about climate change and its adverse impacts on women and children.
Breaking the stigma that fashion is only for the elite and not a serious profession, Aishwarya shows the world that it can be purposeful too. Being the Global Goals Ambassador of the United Nations, she is a new-age revolutionary who is standing bravely for humanitarian causes.
Recently, Aishwarya Sharma participated in a global event, COP27, which was held in Egypt. There, she joined global activists and the international community of changemakers to create awareness and tackle the issue of climate change effects around the world. She is also the Goodwill Ambassador with “Youth Of India”. She has partnered with Gucci, Togetherband (a UN movement), Morris Garages and many more to create awareness and raise funds for social causes.
Let’s know more about fashion activism and Aishwarya’s journey as a Fashion Activist in her own words.
Tell us about yourself and your journey as India’s First Fashion Activist.
My journey as a Fashion activist and sustainability advocate started in 2018 after I completed my graduation. I started my blog, “figuramoda” as my media project when I was doing fashion blogging. At that time, I was also associated with Chaav Foundation as an intern and was working for the cause of “Stop Acid Attacks”.
I remembered watching Laxmi (an acid attack survivor) walking on the ramp. It was an eye-opening moment for me. It was like an epiphany for me that fashion is meant for more. Taking inspiration from this, I made my first video in 2018 on stopping acid attacks that went viral on Instagram and got millions of views overnight. After the video went viral, I comprehended that social media is a powerful tool to raise awareness and reach the greater masses at once.
Since then, I am trying to go above and beyond in bridging the gap between fashion and society. I started working with the UN as a Global Goals Ambassador in 2020 and working for the social causes of marginalised societies, acid attack survivors, sexual abuse victims and many more.
Fashion activism is not a concept that is familiar to many in India. How challenging is it for you to work in this profession?
Generally, people think fashion is what is on the surface. But in reality, the way we see fashion is so much different than what it is and what it should be. It is a common mindset in India that fashion is associated with privileges.
Fashion is still not considered a serious profession and changing that mindset of those around me and people, in general, is the biggest challenge of taking up the unconventional career of fashion activism.
I truly believe that “Fashion is how it makes you feel and how it transforms the entire ecosystem around you”. This is what I advocated from all my heart since the beginning of my career. Breaking the conventional stigma around fashion, I am working hard to build a new niche that will work parallelly with the traditional fashion industry.
Elaborate on some of the fashion activism projects and their impact on society.
We organised our first campaign which was Period Poverty Campaigns with NGOs based in New Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana, keeping in line with SGD’s 2030.
We have partnered with Gucci for their Generation Equality campaign under the banner #ChimeForChange. This campaign raises funds to support feminist organisations as a part of Gucci’s 5-year commitment to the UN Women’s Generation Equality Action Coalition.
What are your future plans?
I am looking forward to legitimising the fashion industry in such a way that brands, corporates and the government understand that there are no two ways of fashion. Purpose and Fashion work hand in hand.
I wish to collaborate with like-minded young generations because they are the future of our planet. I would also like to work with policymakers and higher authorities to include purpose in policies whether it’s fashion or climate. Together, we all can bring a big change by harnessing the power of social media.
Do you think youth today can bring a real change in society?
The youth today are more aware of their social responsibilities and have the potential to bring significant change in the world. The way today’s youth are using the power of social media is commendable. I truly believe that if guided properly, they can bring revolutionary change and will work for the betterment of the planet.