From climate change to human rights, here is why making mindful fashion choices should be more of a priority.
Sustainability is a growing concern shared by experts across multiple industries due to growing environmental degradation. In response, the fashion industry is slowly evolving, as people are becoming more environmentally conscious, looking for ways to stay stylish without harming the environment. Statista data indicates that 49% of global consumers aged 18-24 supported sustainable fashion in 2018. Below are a few reasons why you should join the sustainable fashion movement:
LESS TEXTILE WASTE
Globally, one garbage truck containing textile waste is dumped at a landfill or burnt every second. Fast fashion is mainly responsible for these large amounts of waste, as these brands sacrifice clothing longevity for low prices and more purchases from clients. On the other hand, sustainable brands focus on clothing quality, using long-lasting materials in their clothing production. Sustainable fashion brands rarely follow fast fashion trends. They focus on classic and timeless pieces rather than pushing new collections weekly that force customers to buy more. Sustainable fashion items are also made from long-lasting materials, whether you are shopping for popular leggings or eco-friendly watches. Joining the sustainable fashion movement can help you obtain higher-quality clothing and accessories.
FEWER ANIMALS ARE HARMED
Animals are an essential aspect of our ecosystem, each playing a unique role to ensure that our planet is habitable. As such, any threat to wildlife and other animals’ safety should be a concern to us all. Leather bags, boots, and items produced from fur, leather, feathers, and wool, often have harmful effects on animal populations from which the materials are sourced. Some endangered species like the Sumatran Tiger and American Alligator still suffer severe depletion from being hunted for clothing.
You can save animals by choosing sustainable clothing brands. Many ethical brands lead the way with cruelty-free clothing, and some fast fashion brands are also dropping fur from their collections in support. Human-made fibres, recycled materials, and bamboo are viable alternatives that these sustainable fashion brands rely on as an alternative to animal products. This way, several animals are spared harm, abuse, and death, preserving the ecosystem’s balance.
FAIR WAGES AND WORKING CONDITIONS
Fast fashion brands do an excellent job keeping clothing prices low, making them popular. However, this low clothing cost is made possible by harsh working conditions for garment workers. Fast fashion brands produce their clothing in factories in the Global South where workers are paid far below a living wage. Poor safety and health conditions, long working hours, and the constant pressure to produce all create an environment of worker exploitation. Frequent child labour accusations have also been levelled against fast fashion brands. By switching to more ethical and sustainable brands, you can be more confident that your clothing was produced under safe and fair working conditions.
DEVELOP YOUR PERSONAL STYLE
Fast fashion is all about what’s new and trending, appealing to a wide range of customers. However, many fashion experts would say that fashion is rarely about wearing what everyone else wears. As Ralph Lauren put it, “Style is very personal. It has nothing to do with fashion. Fashion is over quickly. Style is forever.”
Sustainable fashion brands are renowned for their classic, timeless, and high-quality pieces, and today’s diverse range of choices gives wearers more opportunity to be creative, express themselves, and craft a distinct personal style. Many sustainable fashion consumers attest to finding enjoyment in clothes that truly reflect their styles. Sustainable fashion is an excellent way to build a new wardrobe of great, quality clothes that reflect you.
The fashion industry consumes a lot of water due to the dyeing and finishing processes for almost all garments. Experts estimate that it takes about 2,720 litres of water to make one cotton shirt and a whopping 7,000 litres to make one pair of jeans! Besides consuming a lot of water, clothing production also contributes to polluting our freshwater, as toxic chemicals from the production process quickly find their way into waterways. Some sustainable fashion brands operate with a “water budget” to limit their water usage during clothing production. The materials and fabrics these brands use during production, like linen, hemp, and organic cotton, are either natural, renewable, or recycled materials requiring little to no water during the production phase. Sustainable fashion is a great way to save on water usage and reduce water pollution.
REDUCED CARBON FOOTPRINT
The fast fashion industry leaves a large carbon footprint behind as part of its operations, including the amount of textile waste in landfills, water pollution, and other widespread negative impacts on the environment and human health. Fast fashion clothing is often made from petroleum-based materials, including acrylic, nylon, and polyester, which also require a significant amount of energy during production. On the other hand, sustainable fashion utilizes materials made from natural or recycled fabrics. These materials require little to no chemical treatment, less energy, less water, and no pesticides or fertilizers to grow. Materials like linen and hemp are even biodegradable, resulting in less environmental pollution.
Transportation is another major contributor to the substantial carbon footprints that fast fashion brands are leaving behind. The back and forth process of transporting raw materials and finished goods from country to country during production emits a significant amount of greenhouse gases. Sustainable brands tend to favour local production, sourcing local materials, and employing local artisans. In addition to boosting local economies, these businesses eliminate the need for frequent transportation, reducing greenhouse emissions and making the planet more sustainable.
- Article: Attire Media
- Featured Image in Article: Attire Media
- Featured Image Credit: Cherie Birkner