Sustainable fashion raises more awareness each day. The next generation of fashion consumers has made fashion sustainability its core principle and they are taking it into consideration whenever they have the chance of purchasing a garment.
When advocating for fashion sustainability is important to know that fashion industry is the second largest cause of pollution nowadays.
It is involved in some of the biggest challenges that today’s world is suffering – the climate change and modern slavery. This is why we need to do something about it. As much as we love clothes and love being in trend, we can achieve this by doing it at a more responsible level.
The slow or sustainable fashion is in opposition with the fast fashion that is going on for decades now. The slow fashion intends to create good quality products that resist the test of time and that make consumer buy less; clean production of the garments that does not harm the environment and handy prices for consumers as well as equitable payment for workers in the domain.
Let us voice for sustainability and choose to stand by it:
- Start with the sourced materials like cotton. This is the most used fabric in the fashion industry therefore we should treat it with the importance it requires. Cotton is very hard to grow, it requires a lot of water and human touch. This is where we can come in, let us ensure a fair income for those that work hard to provide cotton, make sure organic cotton is at the core of any cotton farm and that they do not use any pesticides nor fertilizers; use recycled cotton from the garments that are no longer used. Another material option to use is lyocell – this comes from the fiber of some trees and do not require that much water to grow. Organic linen is another option to keep sustainability up. This is grown without any pesticides and does well to both farmers and to the environment. The quality of the material remains the same when using organic linen in comparison to using linen. There are many materials one can choose to use to increase sustainability – recycled glass, recycled plastic, recycled polyester, recycled wool, just make sure you are in the right place.
- The working conditions fashion industry offers to their workers say a lot. Make sure you contribute to their well-being, offer respect and good working conditions. They are the ones that make it possible for you to exist on the fashion market.
- The wages, such as the working conditions are an important factor. Each person that contributes to this fashion chain should be treated fair and receive a fair wage that they can manage to live on.
- Think of the animal welfare when in the fashion business. If you need fabrics such as fur, leather and wool, you can try to use their synthetic counterparts. Their counterparts have become very good copies of real leather; the fur is already outdated, as beautiful synthetic furs exist out there. However, when in real need of using any of these animal related materials, try and use them as conscious as possible, do not use exotic animal skins, fur or leather from endangered species and try to source from animal farms.
- Use chemicals in a correct manner. While they are essential in some areas – like softening fiber, dying the materials and finishing, make sure you avoid any dangerous chemicals. This will ensure safer working conditions and a safer environment. Using chemicals in a correct manner will do no harm.
- Climate has a big impact on all industries and industries have a large impact on it. Fashion is one of them and each fashion player out there should make a commitment to be more climate positive. This can be done through renewable energy, innovations to absorb greenhouse gases, cut energy intensity and invest in a more sustainable agriculture.
- Last but not least, water is crucial in the fashion industry. There are places in this world where clean fresh water is very hard to find and this is no joke. Fashion industry uses a lot of it starting from the need of it to grow the plants used for making the materials, to when they dye the fabrics up to when each of us washes his clothes at home. These are some of the reasons why contributing to conserving water ecosystems is imperious. Water is crucial to the welfare of people, animals, plants and the planet overall.
Some big fashion players on the market have already started implementing sustainable fashion in their collections.
Brands are trying to comply and are making everything they can to protect the environment and the world we live in. Some of them are Stella McCartney, H&M, ASOS, Dagny, Mayamiko The Label, Tencel, People Tree, Tales of Thread, Finisterre, Noah, Patagonia, Encircled, Though, Mud Jeans, Chinti & Parker, Milla.Vert, Aeon Row, 1X1. H&M promise they will become completely sustainable by 2030; ASOS also committed to use 100% organic cotton by 2025 and every day new and fresh brands comply to sustainability 100%.
Fashion sustainability means more than organic cotton or using sustainable materials. It involves many aspects, not just the environment one, the human one, or the economical one; it also involves the consumer. The fashion sustainability goes all the way up to responsible consumption.
What can you do as a consumer?
Care for your clothes
- Do not buy just for sake of buying. Buy quality clothes, maybe pay more but they will last longer. And promise yourself you will use them for as much as they will last.
- Don’t throw those clothes that no longer fit you. Turn them into other clothing items, a pair of jeans into a short pair of jeans etc.
- Don’t throw away a garment just because you no longer wear it. Give it away – maybe what you do not wear, some of your friends might.
- Prolong a garment life as much as you can. Re-wear your old clothes as fashion always comes back; this can also be done by washing your clothes at 30 degrees – it will both make the colours last longer and save a lot of energy.
- If you really do not use a garment at all, recycle it. Make sure you know where the clothes recycling is near your place and take it there. They will be turned into fibres and then used in other industries, such as for insulation purposes.
Let us all participate at this sustainability. What are your thoughts on this? Have you tried some of the above tips? Do you have some other suggestions to make this world a safer place?