We are all too familiar with the terms climate change, deforestation, ecological damage, water pollution etc. But rarely do we think of the fashion industry as a contributing factor to these issues. There’s no denying the fact that consumerism has taken over our conscience. And that has resulted in the birth of fast fashion. There is absolutely no denying that fast fashion is destroying our environment. It is the 2nd largest polluter industry in the world right now.
Fast fashion leads to water pollution, plastic pollution, chemical contamination, soil degradation, greenhouse gas emission and various other environmental issues as well as some glaring humanitarian ones.
But how can we move away from this? Can the harmful impact of fast fashion be avoided when we’re so immersed in it?
Enter Sustainable Fashion!
The term Sustainable fashion indicates the movement and process of advancing change to fashion products and the fashion system towards ecological stability and social justice.
Sustainable fashion aims to lessen the waste it leaves behind and also the amount of consumption. Eco-ethical brands choose to use materials that last longer. These brands produce their fashion items prioritizing environmental friendliness in mind. They intend to lessen the carbon footprint and any negative environmental impact from the beginning of production to the ending point of selling to the buyers.
Sustainable Fashion helps the environment in more ways than we can imagine. Let’s have a look at all the ways sustainable fashion can be beneficial :
It’s assumed that every second, all across the globe, one full truck of textile waste is dumped at a landfill or burnt. These enormous quantities of textile wastes are the result of fast fashion. Fast fashion doesn’t care about the longevity of its product. As a result, they end up manufacturing low-quality products that only last a few months and end up as trash sooner rather than later. But sustainable fashion brings products that last longer. These materials can be reused and recycled again and again. One piece of clothing can last for years. That means when we follow the path of sustainable fashion, we reduce the number of wastes coming from textiles.
Less natural sources
Sustainable fashion means recycling and reusing the same clothes for years on. And It has been proven that recycled fibers are a much more sustainable option because they reduce the pressure on newer natural resources and address growing problems of the waste management system. Whereas in fast fashion only 97% of what goes for making clothes are new resources, with only 3% of these recycled materials.
Doesn’t harm animals
The fashion industry hasn’t always been kind to animals. In fact, the industry is guilty of killing animals for fashion. The leather that is made into pretty shoes and little handbags and the furry coats that we throw over ourselves to keep warm comes at the cost of animals’ lives. Their skins and furs are not our luxury goods. Buying authentic leather products and fur products is just downright cruel.
When we choose to go down the path of sustainability in regards to fashion, we choose to live cruelty-free and ethically where harming animals is strictly prohibited. Sustainable fashion chooses to explore the alternatives to these inhumane practices.
Reduces Carbon footprint
The trail of carbon footprint that fast fashion leaves behind is almost insurmountable. Most fashion brands under the fast fashion trend are petroleum based and made from fossil fuels. They require more energy in their production than the buyer can ever think of.
Sustainable fashion uses materials that come from more natural and recyclable fabrics. They need less energy, less chemicals and less water. These fabrics are also mostly biodegradable which means no negative impact on the planet.
Less Water Consumption
Did you know it requires approximately 2,700 liters of water to make a single T-shirt and 7,000 liters to make a single pair of jeans? Water is the primary source in the fashion industry. It’s used for the dyeing and finishing process of all the manufactured clothes. It not only requires a huge amount of water; it also pollutes it. Toxic chemicals released from the industry contaminate the fresh waters and harm our ecosystem.
When we look at sustainable brands, we can notice many brands following a strict “water budget” to limit their water usage from the production of the clothes. All the materials and fabrics these brands use during production, like linen, hemp, and organic cotton, are either natural, renewable, or recycled materials that need little to no water during their production phase.
Ethical and safe working environment
The fast fashion industry is notorious for its treatment of employees. The employees are mistreated, underpaid and overworked. Ever wondered how come a piece of clothing that uses so many resources and comes from a different country altogether costs so much less than it should? It costs less because of the harsh working conditions of the garment workers. Poor safety and health conditions, long working hours, and the constant pressure to produce clothes faster and faster altogether create an environment that exploits its workers. Moreover, around 170 million children are involved with garment work.
Sustainable Brands are working to provide good and healthy working conditions, fair wages, and health care for their workers, which are above average. Brands who genuinely follow ethical and sustainable practices are also transparent about child labour. So, when we choose to follow sustainable fashion, we can confidently say that the clothing was produced under safe and fair working conditions.
The mass production trend in fast fashion also results in them producing poor quality products. The strategy is to come out with newer and newer clothes to fuel our consumerism tendencies. Fast fashion doesn’t care about quality products being put out; they just care about the profits they make.
But Sustainable Brands produce clothing that are long lasting which means they make clothing that has better quality. These quality products not only have longevity but they can also be redesigned and recycled.
Helps you find your unique style
Fast fashion is too determined on following the up-and-coming trends. This is why it focuses so much on mass-producing clothes faster and faster. When we follow fast fashion, we tend to keep on changing our styles as the trends change.
But following sustainable fashion gives us a chance to be creative, express ourselves, and craft a distinct personal style. We can dress how we want to dress and what fits our personality rather than dressing trendy.
Here are a few brands to get you started on sustainable fashion!
Threads 4 Thought
More brands, like, Boden and Levi’s, too are following the sustainability trend!
Also, did you know? It’s the World Environment Day on June 5. This year, let’s make the world a better place for living by supporting local sustainable brands!
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