What is Sustainable Fashion
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Sustainable fashion is the future. Actually sustainable everything is the future, but today we’re talking about fashion. So, what is sustainable fashion?
The “technical” definition:
More sustainable fashion can be defined as clothing, shoes and accessories that are manufactured, marketed and used in the most sustainable manner possible, taking into account both environmental and socio-economic aspects. In practice, this implies 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. From an environmental perspective, the aim should be to minimize any undesirable environmental effect of the product’s life cycle by: (a) ensuring efficient and careful use of natural resources (water, energy, land, soil, animals, plants, biodiversity, ecosystems, etc); (b) selecting renewable energy sources (wind, solar, etc) at every stage, and (c) maximizing repair, remake, reuse, and recycling of the product and its components. From a socio-economic perspective, all stakeholders should work to improve present working conditions for workers on the field, in the factories, transportation chain, and stores, by aligning with good ethics, best practice and international codes of conduct. In addition, fashion companies should contribute to encourage more sustainable consumption patterns, caring and washing practices, and overall attitudes to fashion. (Green Strategy, June 2014)
Let’s break that down.
More Sustainable Fashion
First, I want to point out that this definition describes more sustainable fashion because, as a whole, the fashion industry relies on fast consumption. Which makes the entire industry not exactly sustainably friendly.
Next, part of the ultimate goal is to keep the undesirable environmental effects of producing a garment of clothing as low as possible. So, what are the environmental aspects of sustainable fashion? As stated above, they are:
Ensuring efficient and careful use of natural resources (water, energy, land, soil, animals, plants, biodiversity, ecosystems, etc)
Selecting renewable energy sources (wind, solar, etc) at every stage
Maximizing repair, remake, reuse, and recycling of the product and its components
The second part of the ultimate goal is improving the socio-economic well-being of the people who are making the clothing. From factory workers to seamstresses, the goal is to ensure that these individuals are receiving a competitive wage, safe working conditions and proper codes of conduct.
The last part of the ultimate goal is to educate consumers about over-consumption. By properly caring for the clothing that we already own, making educated decisions when it comes to buying and avoiding impulses to buy, we can greatly reduce our clothing waste.
How can we start to live a more sustainable life when it comes to our clothes?
The image below shows seven ways that you can purchase/rent/swap clothing that will decrease your clothing’s carbon footprint.
What are you tips to creating a more sustainable wardrobe?
HERE IS A LIST OF A FEW OF MY FAVORITE SUSTAINABLE FASHION BRANDS:
Reformation - Feminine silhouettes made from sustainable materials, such as old stock fabric & repurposed vintage clothing.
Levi’s - 67% of Levi’s are made using Water<Less® technologies which reduces up to 96% of the water normally used in finishing denim. Their goal is to be at 80% by 2020.
Everlane - Radical transparency is what put Everlane on the map. Everlane tells you the true cost of each product, plus the factory it was made in.
Alternative Apparel - Basics using organic cotton & recycled materials. Also uses more sustainable packaging.
H&M Conscious - Sustainable fashion that won’t break the bank. H&M also allows it customers to recycle their unwanted H&M items to receive a discount on something knew, even if the item cannot be reworn.
Patagonia - Not only uses sustainable materials, but will also repair your used Patagonia products. Plus, Patagonia is Fair Trade Certified & Bluesign approved. They also buy & resell their products so that you can purchase gently used Patagonia items on a discounted price.
Athleta - 60% of its products are made with sustainable materials with the goal to reach 80% by 2020. Plus, Athleta is a B Corp which means it meets strict social & environmental standards
Allbirds - Sustainable footwear made out of sugarcane, eucalyptus trees & naturally-made merino wool.