Sustainable Fashion 101
What is up with this ‘eco’ trend?
The word ‘sustainability’ is coming up in the conversations of many around the world. From the Leonardo di Caprio documentaries to Greta Thunberg’s Climate Strike’s, the buzz about sustainability is like never before. We hear and read all about the current major threat to life on Earth but are some of us still confused? We’ve been told to turn the lights off when we leave the room, to take quick showers, to take more public transit, but is that even enough? Further, we hear several companies claiming ‘organic’ or ‘green’ or ‘eco-friendly’, but are they really?
Millennials treat CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility, also called corporate conscience, corporate citizenship or responsible business) like a religion. This generation has more questions as consumers than that of our parents. We ask where it was made, what’s in it, how it was made, and more. In 2015, Nielsen, a leading global information & measurement company, conducted a survey with 30,000 consumers across the world to learn about what influences brand selection and how that impacts what they buy. The common theme derived from the survey was sustainability. 66 percent of global consumers are willing to pay more for a brand or product that is sustainable, but when you hyper focus on the Millennial consumer, that number grows by 7%. So, the demand for brands that adhere to their values is increasing and more than ever ‘sustainable fashion’ the new hot topic.
What is sustainable fashion?
The fashion industry is second largest polluter in the world, right after oil. Second. It has been for several years, but the truth is that everything has been behind closed doors. The hashtag #IMadeYourClothes appeared across social platforms with photos of the women, children, and sometimes men, that make the clothes you are wearing.
Sustainable fashion is a movement to make clothing, shoes, accessories, and all the items that are manufactured, sold and used in ethical ways taking into account both environmental and socio-economic impacts. As defined by Green Strategy, sustainable fashion is about “continuous work to improve all stages of the product’s life cycle, from design, raw material production, manufacturing, transport, storage, marketing and final sale, to use, reuse, repair, remake and recycling of the product and its components”.
Why is it so important?
Sustainable fashion is so important because there is no denying the fact that the clothing we are buying are destroying our planet. The entire process and life cycle of our clothing depletes our resources, kills animals, and clogs the world with toxic chemicals and waste. According to the EPA almost 13.1 million tons of textiles are thrown away every year, with only 15% being reused or recycled. To put that into context, that means that the average American throws away 65 pounds of clothing every year yet about 48% of that is perfectly reusable.
How can I make a difference?
The most sustainable clothing on the planet right now is the clothing sitting in your closet. Treat your clothes, towels, sheets, fabrics, shoes, and accessories with care and keep them in your closet for longer life spans. Make good and conscious decisions as a consumer. Think about what you buy before you buy it. Fast fashion is tempting, but historically never fits well, goes bad after one wash, and ends up in the dusty part of your closet until you clean it out during the Spring time. Part of making conscious consumer decisions means reading up on the brands you are buying from, diving into the story of how they came to be, and researching about their supply chain – there are so many amazing sustainable brands out there that will match your personal style, it’s just a matter of finding it!
If you follow environmental issues and the growing concern for our planet, you know it’s not easy to change policy from a governmental level. But, what we can all do as individuals and a collective society is come together and use our dollars as our vote. If we all stop buying from these companies and brands that are depleting our planet, they will change.