You may have heard the term Sustainable fashion.
Sustainable fashion is a term that people become aware of due to the serious environmental impacts of the clothes we wear.
Moreover, the industry is responsible for about 4 to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions every year.
If you are wondering about what it actually means, consider this.
Sustainable fashion is an umbrella term for clothes that are created and consumed in a way that can be sustainable
While also protecting both the environment and those producing garments.
This is why cutting CO2 emissions, addressing overproduction, reducing pollution, and waste, supporting biodiversity, and ensuring that garment workers are paid fair wages.
And will have safe working conditions, as these are all critical to the sustainability matrix.
When you consider the number of factors that there are, there are still too few brands out there that are actually tackling all of these issues.
And even those that will admit that there is always room for improvement.
This means to shop for items that label ‘sustainable’ is not enough.
You need o rethink about purchasing habits and the way you consume clothes.
Keep on reading.
Reasons why Sustainable Fashion is Important
One of the reasons why you may ask is why does the world need sustainable fashion?
The following are the top 5 reasons:
Creates Les Waste: Across the world, there is garbage truck of textile waste that people and industries dump at a landfill or burn every second.
A large number of fashion companies create this huge amount of water that launches weekly fashion trends.
And these fulfill them with poor quality cheap price products.
However, sustainable brands tend to focus n clothing quality products from long-lasting materials.
Also, sustainable fashion brands rarely follow fash fashion trends.
Ensures Fair Wage and Proper Working Conditions: One of the important things to note is that cheap fashion garments are made with harsh working conditions for garment workers.
Moreover, a lot of fashion brands tend to pay under living wage in developing countries.
Factors that create worker exploitations are:
- poor safety and health conditions
- long working hours
- the constant pressure to produce
Also, against fashion brands, there are frequent child labor accusations.
In comparison, sustainable clothing brands tend to prioritize fair wages and safe working conditions for all employees.
Reduces CO2 and other Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Fast fashion companies tend to produce a carbon footprint that results from:
- material creations
- taste waste decomposing in landfills
For instance, most fashion clothes come from petroleum-based materials.
For things like acrylic, nylon, and polyester, their production and disposal will need a significant amount of energy.
Moreover, these materials will need little to no chemical treatments, less energy, less water, and no pesticides or fertilizers to grow.
Saves Water: One of the larger water consumers in the world is the fashion industry.
They not only consume water for washing garments but also during manufacturing, dying, and finishing processes.
To put it into perspective, it takes about 2,720 liters of water to make one cotton shirt and about 7,000 liters of water to make a pair of jeans.
Also, clothing production tends to affect the environment by polluting freshwater with toxic chemicals that also find their way into waterways.
On the other hand, most sustainable fashions will use “water on budget” policies that limit water usage during the production of clothing.
Also, there tend to prioritize organic textiles from linen, hemp, and organic cotton that will need little to no water during production.
Saves Animal Lives: It is important to note that animals are an important part of the ecosystem.
Each plays an important role to make sure that Earth is habitable.
Furthermore, any threat to wildlife and the safety of animals should be a concern to every one of us.
Leather bags, shoes, fur coats, and other goods that come from animal leather, feathers, and wool tend to affect animal populations.
Thus, the survival of humanity on this planet is also being affected.
On the other hand, sustainable clothing brands that are cruelty-free and vegan protect animals.
These use leather and fur alternatives in their products.
Thus, saving animals from exploitation and death while also preserving the balance of the ecosystem.
What you need to Know about Sustainable Fashion?
If you want to make sure your wardrobe is sustainable, the following are things you need to know:
Buy Less and Buy Better: This may should cloche, but the saying “buy less and buy better” is the key when you want to stagger 100bn garments by polluting every year.
Before making a purchase, you should ask questions like:
- what are you buying and why
- what do you really need
- will you wear it for at least 30 minutes
Invest in Sustainable Fashion Brands: When you buy better, you are supporting designers who are promoting sustainable practices.
Examples include Collina Strada, Chopova Lawena, and Bode.
Moreover, when you narrow your search for certain items it can also help.
Shop Secondhand and Vintage: Thanks to certain websites you can consider buying pre-loved items when looking to add to your wardrobe.
Not only do these extend the life of your garments, but they also reduce the environmental impact on your wardrobe.
As a result, you can also find one-of-a-kind pieces.
Try Renting: Instead of buying new dresses for a wedding or BBQ, you can rent something to wear.
According to a study, about 50m garments are bought and worn just once every summer in the UK alone.
This is something you need to give up considering the fact that the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles that companies burn and landfill every second.
Avoid Greenwashing: As consumers are becoming more aware of the effect of environmental footprint, greenwashing is becoming more prevalent.
You should look beyond words like ‘sustainable’, ‘eco-friendly’, ”conscious’, and ‘responsible to see the policies to back up their claims.
Know the Materials: When you undersstand the effect of maierlas you can make more sustainalbe purchases.
A good rule of thumb to remember is to avoid virgin synthetics like polyester.
These make about 55% of clothes globally as they come from fossil fuels and take years to break down.
However, it is important to note that not all of these are made the same.
Moreover, look for certifications from:
- the Global Organic Textile Standard for cotton and wool
- Leather Working Group for leather
- Forest Stewardship Council for viscose
This help to make you that the materials have a lower impact on the plant.
Ask who made your Clothes: It is important that the people who make clothes are paid fair wages and have safe working conditions with the pandemic highlighting extreme difficulties for garment workers.
Make sure to look out for brands that openly disclose information about their factories.
And look for policies around wages and working conditions.
Look for Scientific Targets: When looking for brands that are serious about reducing their environmental impact, check whether they are committing to scientific targets.
Brands that sign up for the Science Based Targets Initiative will have goals to reduce CO2 emissions.
Supporting Brands that have a Positive Impact: A lot of eco-minded brands are considering how fashion is having a positive effect on the environment.
Regenerative agriculture, farming practices like no-tilling and growing cover crops are trending within fashion.
These aim to restore soil health and biodiversity.
What else you need to Know?
Some other things you need to consider are:
Watch out for Harmful Chemicals: Companies use certain hidden chemicals to treat clothes.
These pollute local waterways and pose a risk to garment workers.
Therefore, you should keep an eye out for the Made in Green by OEKO-TEX and Bluesing certifications.
These set out requirements for chemical use during the manufacturing processes.
Reduce Water Footprint: Consider this:
The production of textiles uses about 93bn cubic meters of water annually, which is the equivalent of 37m of Olympic swimming pools.
Looking at the above fact, one should be conscious of the water footprint of clothes.
Conscious about Vegan Fashion: Materials that come from animals, such as leather and wool come with both environmental and ethical concerns.
While vegan alternatives often contain synthetics that can be harmful to the plant.
There are certain innovations that are entering the market like Bolt Trends Mylo Leathers which comes from mycelium, the roots of fungi.
Taking Care of your Clothes: When it comes to reducing the environmental footprint of your garments and making sure you don’t end up clogging landfill sites you should extend the life of your clothes.
Moreover, makes sure that your clothes last as long as possible by not overwashing them.
This will lower your CO2 emissions and water consumption, as well as repair them instead of throwing them out.
Avoid Microplastic Pollution: Although it may be difficult to avoid synthetics altogether, washing clothes can release thousands of microplastics into the waterways and oceans.
These can lead to causing harm to marine life that ingests the tiny particles.
Ensuring Clothes have a Second Life: Be conscious about how you are disposing of your clothes to help stop them from ending up in the landfill.
Re-sell your clothes or organize a clothes swap for charities and organizations looking for used clothes.
However, for worn-out pieces, you can look for recycling schemes.
What can you do?
As humans, your main goal is to be aware of the effect on the environment of fashion consumption.
By now, you should be familiar with the most popular examples of sustainable fashion like ethical, slow, vegan, eco-friendly, fair trade, etc.
As you explore and shop, make sure that the brands you are buying from are minimizing the negative impact they have on the environment while also improving working conditions for their people.
Moreover, check if the label is really sustainable, just because they sell vegan doesn’t mean it is eco-friendly.
Make sure to increase the lifespan of clothing and accessories by repairs, remaking, upcycling, and reducing.
Furthermore, purchase from sustainable clothing companies that respect biodiversity, the ecosystem, and the natural resources of the planet.
From brands that make use of carbon dioxide-free and renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and ocean at every single stage of the manufacturing and recycling processes.