She turns her lens on water guzzling textiles, impending global disaster
Prarthana Singh, a globally published photographer, has essayed a specially commissioned series on an unusual narrative on consumerism and fast fashion.
In collaboration with The ReFashion Hub, Prarthna Singh’s latest collection of black and whites once again displays her distinctive style 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.
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.
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.
Consider more shocking stats: 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.
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 communicate 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. Earlier this month, The ReFashion Hub and YWater launched India’s first fellowship focussing on wastewater reuse and management in the textile industry called the Fashion Forward Fellowship. The ongoing 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.
Prarthana completed her BFA in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design, and later lived and worked in New York City. At present, 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.