Sustainability or the ability to sustain may be defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs. In other words, it means establishing those principles and practices which help to maintain the equilibrium of nature.

Sustainability is a contemporary, meaningful term and an approach to looking at processes. Textile industry is one of the most polluting industry sectors and in order to achieve the ethical and sustainable textile process, it is important first understand and critically evaluate the processes used to grow or manufacture fibers and yarns, including the dyeing and processing of the fibers into fabrics. Designers need to be aware of the environment effects of the various processes involved in developing a fiber into a textile product and should consider the entire product life cycle during product development. The use of natural fibers is often advocated as a means of reducing environmental damage. Natural fibers can provide benefits such as lowered energy and water consumption, reduced allergenic effects, and easier biodegradability.

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The author is an Assistant Professor in Textile Design Department of National Institute of Fashion Technology, Mumbai