When we think about fashion all we can imagine is trendy clothes flying off the shelf. But were you aware that the fashion industry has produced 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 in recent years. 35% Microplastic pollution is attributed to synthetic materials that produce tonnes of fast fashion clothing lines. It is anticipated that the textile industry will consume 25-30% of the world’s carbon reserves in the coming years. These projected numbers are only going to grow within a short period of time. So, what is the solution to halt the deterioration of the environment with conscious fashion choices? Sustainable fashion!
What is sustainable fashion? And how does it benefit the fashion industry?
It is not just a solo clothing term, but an umbrella of activities that can preserve the environment with eco-friendly choices. There are many productive functions that belong to sustainable fashion. Let’s take a peek:
It reduces Co2 and green house gas emission:
The amount of carbon footprint that fast fashion houses leave on the planet are alarming. Considering the petroleum-based materials used to manufacture nylon, polyester and acrylic clothing. Mass production of these fabrics causes waste of textiles and the problem of the accumulation of landfills as refuse. Add to that the cost of bulk transport and production. By contrast, durable fabrics are made of natural, biodegradable and recycled materials. They require less energy, water, no fertilisers, and almost no chemical treatments.
Low consumption of water:
Did you know that it takes nearly 2,720 litres of water to make a cotton shirt and an enormous 7,000 litres to make a pair of jeans? The fashion industry is responsible for the release of toxins into bodies of water that is used for the treatment, dyeing and treatment of clothing on a daily basis. This water pollution is totally absent in the manufacturing process of durable apparel. Eco-fashion relies on organic textiles such as cotton, flax and hemp to manufacture garments, which require less water during production.
Animals play a major role in the preservation of ecological balance, but unfortunately they are exploited in the fashion industry. Leather and fur goods are hugely popular with the modish generation. As a result of this trend, hundreds of animals are victims of cruelty because they meet the demands of consumers. Durable items are vegan and animal cruelty free. These products are made from materials that prove to be ideal alternatives to fur and hide.
Old clothes that land in landfills and pollute the earth more are now being recycled into new materials. This trend has been picking up with the eco-friendly fashion houses to reduce waste.
Providing safe labour:
It is a well-known fact that sweatshops go hand in hand with rapidly producing fashion in developing countries. These low-cost production houses have employees packed in poor working conditions for hours with miserable wages. With the advent of sustainable fashion, there has been a shift in the recruitment of skilled labour. The focus is now on slow fashion which allows artisans to work on couture pieces that are manufactured over a period of time. This has stimulated small businesses and artists, their talents are now being rediscovered in fashion circles.
Tips to wear/chose sustainable fabrics
Give second chance to the fabrics that you are about to discard into the garbage. If the clothing items are in good condition organize a charity drive, donate, or simply give them away to goodwill shops. Garments that are beyond repair can be optioned for recycling.
There are many fashion conscious houses that have sprung up to fulfil the vegan demands of consumers. Bolt Threads Mylo leather is one such brand that produces faux leather items made out of roots of fungi – mycelium. Avoid synthetic clothing and shop only garments made out of organic cotton, which requires less water during production. Check out the labels on clothing items for certifications from the Global Organic Textile Standard – cotton and wool, Leather Working Group, and Forest Stewardship Council -viscose that guarantee eco-friendly materials have been used while manufacturing.
The urge to have a closet full of clothes has lead to unhealthy fashion practices and fast production of items. Make a list before going on a shopping spree – Do you really need the extra top? Am I going to wear it regularly? Is it affordable? These conscious questions will allow one to save money and also reduce carbon footprint caused due to mass production. Buy what you need is the current buzzword.
Invest in sustainable fashion brands:
There are many global brands like Bode, Indigo luna, Girlfriend collective, Outland demin, and Stay Wild swim that promote sustainable wears. These specialize in active wear, swimwear and casual dressing. All the materials used to produce these items are specially curated and ecologically upcycled designs.
There is a conscious, collective need to re-think how we dress ourselves. Currently, there are very few brands promoting a healthy way of life. There is a need to sustainably support biodiversity and ecology by raising awareness on healthy fashion choices.