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Redefine style statement

Recent fashion trends for women should make us all think about wildlife. There are leopard prints and tiger stripes, and snake and crocodile skin leather.

tech reviews Updated: Mar 18, 2004 16:50 IST

Recent fashion trends for women should make us all think about wildlife. There are leopard prints and tiger stripes, and snake and crocodile skin leather.

Much of the stuff and accessories we wear can be produced by other materials. But for anyone concerned about wildlife, the two fashion trends throw up serious ethical questions.

Firstly, if you wear animal prints in any material, don't you actually give your assent to the trend? The more women wear this stuff, the more popular it gets: that's how trends work. And then, once it is trendy, there is fresh demand for skins in jackets and hats, and other segments as well.

Fashion has the impact and opens new markets for such products. That's why our innocent endorsement to cat prints is also an unfortunate endorsement to their being killed for their skin.

Secondly, as far as snakeskin goes, the logic remains the same. Except that we can often afford snakeskin products. But reptile skins are also a cause for worry. Recently, 29 python skins were seized in Mumbai. Two years ago, a seizure of skins from Andhra Pradesh was estimated to be worth a crore of rupees!

In 1977, when it was still legal, India exported 4 million snake skins. Much of the trade is now clandestine. If you don't want to be a part of this slaughtering, you need to be careful about your personal style statement.

That's one thing the middle-class urban Indian women can definitely do to protect wildlife.

Toxics for no woman

Every time you buy a toxic product for your home, you are putting into jeopardy your own health as well as the health of your domestic help.

Take the example of phenyle: you ask the woman who cleans the house to use phenyle, which she gets all over her hands. It's a well-known toxic product, which is how it was originally used.

The cleaner then exposes herself, just as she would while spraying mosquito repellents or dispensing mothballs. Thus, the brunt is borne by a poor woman whose malnourishment and poverty will make her even less immune to the impact of these poisons.

Women's Day is over, but we still need to think over these things.

(If you feel for Planet Earth, write toearthwatch1@rediffmail.com)

First Published: Mar 18, 2004 16:50 IST