As the world moves towards more sustainable habits, it’s important to remember that sustainable fashion is not just about avoiding plastic bags.
For many, the idea of “sustainable fashion” is synonymous with “slow fashion” or “zero waste fashion,” terms that are gaining popularity due to their ability to challenge consumerism.
These terms also allow consumers to choose how they want to define sustainable fashion for themselves. So, does the fashion industry have a sustainable future? The answer is yes!
The term “fast fashion” sounds great and doesn’t it seem like a perfect fit with our lifestyles? However, when you look at the impact of fast fashion on the environment things don’t look so rosy anymore. On the surface, fast fashion sounds like a great idea.
Who doesn’t want to wear the latest fashions? More cheaply than ever before, right? Since almost everyone is now able to afford clothes, this sounds like great news.
But, once you start digging a little deeper, it turns out that fast fashion isn’t so great for the environment, and it isn’t so great for the people involved in the production of these clothes either.
Making Fashion Sustainable: Waste and Collective Responsibility
Clothes should be easy to recycle, right? It’s a small enough item, we should be able to just throw it in the bin on its own. Sadly, that’s not the case. Most of today’s clothing is made from synthetic fibers that are notoriously difficult to recycle due to their complex chemical makeup.
The only way to make fashion truly sustainable is to reduce the amount of waste products we produce in the first place, which means changing the way we make, buy and dispose of clothes.
Every piece of clothing we buy has a negative impact on the environment and the garment workers who make them. Since fashion changes faster than most industries, there’s a real opportunity for the fashion industry to improve its sustainability practices and standard.
Sustainable fashion is a term that has been used to describe a number of different approaches to fashion and has been developed to encompass a range of ideas about how fashion can be made to be more environmentally friendly.
But what exactly does the term mean to you? According to the Environment news service, a sustainable fashion is one that meets the triple bottom line: it is not only environmentally friendly but also economically viable and socially responsible.
It is these qualities, along with the efforts of designers, that have made it possible to create clothes and accessories that are not only fashionable but also kind to the environment.
The environmental cost of ‘fast fashion’ is not sustainable
The environmental cost of our addiction to fast fashion is not sustainable. The production of clothing not only uses up natural resources but also generates hazardous waste.
In addition to the environmental cost, the production of clothing contributes to urban sprawl and the depletion of natural resources.
The fast fashion industry has faced criticism in recent years for the environmental cost of producing disposable clothing.
While people buy designer items, in many cases because they are less expensive than their high-quality counterparts, at the end of the day it is hard to justify a $40 t-shirt that will likely end up in a landfill.
Doing fast fashion better
Fast fashion is the term given to a business model that offers new clothing and accessories at an affordable price, without the luxury price tag. The trend has been on the rise since the early 2000s thanks to the increasing demand for affordable clothing.
But many of the brands that contribute to the trend are now facing criticism for the impact their production has on the environment. One of the biggest issues is the extensive use of fabrics that are made from synthetic fibers.
While synthetics are cheaper in the short term, they are often made from nonrenewable resources and can contain harmful ingredients that have been linked to cancer and other health problems.
Sustainability is a tricky word. In the fashion industry it is often used to justify the opposite: less sustainably produced fabric, fewer sustainable materials, and faster production times. Too often, the word “sustainable” is used to justify trends and fashions that appeal to the consumer, but are actually detrimental to the environment.
Buy Clothes from sustainable brands
The average American throws out 70 lbs of clothing each year. That’s a lot of unnecessary waste. Buying clothes from sustainable brands can help you make a difference in the environmental impact your clothing choices make.
Sustainable clothing is produced in a way that doesn’t harm the environment or exploit workers. Textile chemicals, water use, and other impacts of textile production are minimized, and all workers involved in a product’s creation are treated fairly.
When looking for clothes to buy, whether you’re browsing the racks at your local store or online, the first thing to consider is the eco-friendliness of the brand.
If you’re interested in buying clothes from sustainable brands better for the environment, you want to look for brands that produce clothing in an environmentally friendly way. However, sustainable doesn’t always mean organic. Some clothes labeled as organic may have been produced without any regard for the environment.
If you want to buy clothes from sustainable brands better for the environment, consider the following:
Consider the Fair Trade label. Only clothes from sustainable brands with the Fair Trade label can truly be considered environmentally friendly.
Buy second hand, swap, & rent clothing
The fashion industry is responsible for more greenhouse gases than almost any other industry, and a lot of that comes from the amount of clothing we buy. By buying less and buying used you’ll not only save money, but you’ll also help the environment.
If you’re like most people, you don’t have the budget to buy all of your clothing new. But you might be surprised to learn that buying second-hand can actually be better for the environment than buying new!
That’s because the average piece of clothing we buy today has a carbon footprint of 900 gCO2e. And 65% of that carbon footprint comes from washing and drying the clothes once they’re worn. By contrast, buying new clothes emits only about 25 gCO2e. But that doesn’t mean you should be buying new clothes at all! There are much better options.
Fast fashion is big business, but is it good for the environment? The industry has grown into a $100 billion dollar worldwide market, thanks to its ability to deliver affordable clothing to consumers in a relatively short amount of time. However, this speed comes at a cost, as fast fashion’s rapid growth has left the industry with a number of sustainability issues. The good news is there are things you can do to make your fast fashion purchases a bit more sustainable.