Fashion reaches life at the expense of the environment. Attractive, fast-fashion clothes with a lower price tag are hard to resist. But they cause massive turbulence in the water, air, and even soil quality by the time they land in our wardrobes. Due to this, human lives, too, are put at stake.
For instance, a 100% polyester T-shirt can come as cheap as 4 dollars. Still, it can produce a 5.5kg carbon footprint. Moreover, making such T-shirts can increase greenhouse gases, climate change, acid rain and melting glaciers.
The World Bank states that the fashion industry accounts for 10% of the world's carbon emissions in a year.
We can't blame the fashion industry alone. As consumers, we, too, support these fast-fashion brands with our hard-earned money.
It's, therefore, high time for us to take accountability, make conscious choices, and save our environment. That is where sustainable fashion comes into the picture.
The ABC of Sustainable Fashion
Sustainable fashion is natural, long-lasting and follows an eco-friendly approach. The items processed and manufactured sustainably favour the following:
Sustainable fashion focuses on materials like organic cotton, hemp, lotus silk, low-impact dyes and recycled fabrics.
A sustainable fashion brand creates a conducive and ethical environment for its workers. It ensures the following values:
- Maintenance of workplace infrastructure
- Adherence to safety protocols at the workplace
- Fair wage payment to the workers concerning the work they do
- Commitment to the labour rights laws
A sustainable brand minimises animal-derived materials like leather or fur for textile products. It takes exceptional care of animals and does not subject them to cruelty in the supply chain. Further, it commits to animal welfare certifications like the PETA-Approved Vegan certificate.
In a nutshell, sustainable fashion aims to reduce the industry's negative environmental impact while considering its social and economic aspects. But it is also about innovation, quality, and style. Moreover, it is an ethical approach that looks to create a more sustainable future for the global fashion industry.
The Importance of Sustainable Clothing
The fashion industry often motivates consumers to purchase more clothing items. It offers them discounts for bulk purchases and entices them to wear different attires for each occasion. But these tactics manipulate consumers to contribute to ecological degradation.
Further, most of our used clothes end up in a landfill. As per Business Insider, a truck full of clothes ends up in a landfill every second. Now imagine how long these clothes could take to decompose!
For example, decomposing a t-shirt made of sustainable material like organic cotton takes one to five weeks. In contrast, a T-shirt made of polyester can take about 20 to 200 years.
As a responsible consumer, instead of giving in to tempting fashion needs, think twice and invest in sustainable clothing. Furthermore, adopt sustainable fashion practices such as reducing clothing consumption, recycling and upcycling clothes, and buying quality pieces that last longer.
How to Identify a Sustainable Fashion Brand?
Many brands market themselves as eco-friendly and sustainable so that you proudly shop more and show off their products to people. But, unfortunately, it's a marketing gimmick to bring these brands more sales.
To avoid falling into this trap, you must know what a sustainable brand is. So instead of blindly believing in tags that read 100% sustainable or organic, look out for these signs:
- Start by researching the company's values and practices.
- Look for companies that are transparent about their production methods and the materials they use. Companies that use natural and organic materials, minimise their carbon footprint and provide safe working conditions for their employees are usually the most sustainable.
- Look for companies that use minimal packaging, have return and repair programs, and are committed to diversity.
- Charitable causes are also signs of a sustainable fashion brand.
By researching and paying attention to details, you can identify and support a sustainable fashion brand that is right for you.
- Impulse buys, fast fashion end up in landfills and stay intact for 200 years: https://www.businessinsider.in/retail/news/impulse-buys-fast-fashion-end-up-in-landfills-and-stay-intact-for-200-years/articleshow/92533424.cms#:~:text=Globally%2C%20an%20estimated%2092%20million,to%20be%20discarded%20each%20year.
- How Long Does It Take For Clothes To Decompose & Its Impact On Ecosystem: https://www.hercircle.in/engage/fashion/trends/how-long-will-the-clothes-you-threw-out-take-to-decompose-695.html
- What is Lotus Silk? Spotlight on a Rare Natural Silk: https://ecoclubofficial.com/what-is-lotus-silk-spotlight-on-a-rare-natural-silk/
- The Sustainable Future of the Modern Fashion Industry: https://scholar.dominican.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1001&context=honors-theses