What is sustainable fashion?
Sustainability focuses on meeting the needs of the present consumers without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The concept of sustainability is composed of three pillars: economic, environmental, and social—also known informally as profits, planet, and people.
Sustainable fashion is a movement and process of fostering change in the fashion industry for ethical production and move towards greater ecological integrity and social justice. The fashion industry is the second largest polluting industry in the world! These facts call for conscious efforts to save water, curb climate change, and promote responsible consumption and production. The dire need to save our planet while promoting economic and social upliftment are also some of the key areas identified by the UNDP under the Sustainable Development Goals for Better Fashion. This pro-active call for a conscious way of doing business came from the harsh reality of the way the fast fashion industry has been working behind the scenes. To quantify that into some numbers, over 20% of the global industrial water pollution is constituted by the fashion industry alone. While some of the lowest wages are paid to the people working in this industry owing to the fast fashion culture of the business.
For brands sustainability in fashion means creating in a conscious and eco-friendly way which is most considerate at the humanitarian and ecological level. The goal is to have a system that works without leaving a negative carbon footprint. With fast fashion brands like Zara launching 52 collections in a year, the main responsibility of fashion companies is obviously to change their production, distribution and marketing practices, and strategies towards greater sustainability. It urges brands and consumers alike to move towards slow fashion and promote fair wages, use sustainable and eco-friendly fabrics, save water, soil, and air pollution across the value and supply chain. An increasing number of brands are rejecting the principles of Fast Fashion, as a more sustainable approach to making clothes comes to the fore. Brands have a huge potential to be transparent about their carbon footprint and ways of doing business with social media providing a great platform of communication between the brands and consumers.
For consumers, sustainable fashion is being conscious about what you buy, knowing which sustainable practices you are supporting through your purchases, and also asking yourself if you are going to wear that new piece to the extent that it was worth being made. Reading sustainability reports issued by brands, packaging conveying the brand’s conscious philosophies, and looking for certifications. As a consumer, you can ask brands how your clothing was made and where was it made. This will urge brands to become more transparent and conscious about their choices while moving to more sustainable and ethical ways of doing business.
It also doesn’t end with an eco-friendly purchase. The wear and care determine much of the carbon footprint that a garment has on the planet. We will go into more depth on this in the coming blogs! If the garment is nearing its lifespan in your wardrobes, it is worth considering to upcycle them, donate them, or swap them in thrift stores! These steps would go a long way in promoting a sustainable fashion industry.
Brands and consumers alike are trying to inculcate sustainable values of production and consumption. While we still have a long way to go, this approach has inspired many changes in recent years. We can maintain awareness of what a brand represents and focus on quality, not quantity by simplifying our wardrobes.
Write to us to share your insights and experiences of a sustainable lifestyle! We would love to hear from you:)