What is sustainable fashion?
Sustainable fashion is often referred to as eco friendly fashion. It refers to the social, economic and environment-mindful ways of manufacturing, marketing, distributing and handling garments. Every clothing item can be likened to a baton that gets handed down through various stakeholders. Every stakeholder represents a stage and they are responsible for that stage. It is their duty to ensure that while the shoe or cloth is under their care, it does not harm the environment, themselves and others.
In the year 2018, the fashion industry made a revenue of $481.2 billion. This figure is expected to rise by 32% in the next 2 years. If this increase in revenue will not be accompanied by a rise in conscious consumption, then it will be the beginning of an end to earth as we know it. Every year, tons of plastics get washed off into the sea, acres of forests get cleared and animals too, are going extinct. It is clear we need a change in our lifestyles.
Can Fashion Really be Sustainable?
Fashion can be made sustainable, however, there can never be a 100% sustainability. This is because some certain resources are needed to keep the garments in good condition. For example, water is needed when washing. Another reason is that during distribution, fuel will be used, the result of this is air pollution on the environment. However, a 100% success rate is not the goal, the goal is to ensure that the most efficient means is used and this should help minimize the negative impact on the environment.
The cloth life-cycle begins with manufacturing. Here It is upon the sustainable fashion companies to ensure that eco-friendly methods are used. Most of the garments flooding our markets are made from cotton. And when we look a little closer into its production, we realize that this crop uses up 25% of all the pesticides in the world and takes up more land space than any other crop. Cotton also interferes with the soil structures making it harder to grow other crops in the future.
Eco-friendly fabrics are the fabrics and textiles produced from crops whose growth has very little or no negative impact on the environment. There are more organic fabrics that have gained traction over the past few years.
Bamboo based fabrics
Bamboo grows in two years, can be easily renewed and bio-degrades much quicker. The bamboo crop does not also require pesticides or fertilizers to enhance its growth. It is also known for its resilient nature, being one of the few crops that doesn’t require irrigation.
Organic cottonUnlike conventional cotton, organic cotton has been free from pesticides and other growth-enhancing chemicals for a minimum period of 3 years. Organically grown cotton solves the soil-degradation problem and health-related issues caused by inhaling these pesticides.
HempSince time immemorial, hemp fabric has been used in making ropes, paper, and Hemp grows at a much faster rate and compared to cotton, hemp does not take up too much land space.
There are many other options when it comes to choosing an eco friendly fabric.
Sustainable energy sources
Another sustainable method that can be used during manufacturing is the use of renewable sources of energy. Currently, many countries still use oil, gas, and coal for their energy. This is not sustainable as it cannot be renewed after it has been used, meaning that there is a possibility that they could run out.
Better working conditions
For the social aspect, the well-being of workers becomes a priority for those in charge. This is why sustainable methods eliminate the use of chemicals. Families that live on and around cotton growing areas are reported to have been dying as a result of inhaling too much of the chemicals. This should not be the case.
It is also the responsibility of the manufacturing companies to ensure that more people get to learn and know about the different renewable options they can choose from. Not everyone is aware of the impact clothing has had on the environment and social lives, that is why they haven’t given it much thought.
When a piece of garment is all worn out and can no longer be sold as second-hand, where does it go? Most of the time, it gets burnt or disposed of in ways that later prove harmful to the environment. The best option is recycling. If the clothing apparel can still be worn, it is a good idea to re-use, donate to charity or sell as a second-hand cloth.
The sustainable fashion companies should ensure that recycling services are within the reach of everyone.
Myths about sustainable fashion
People who have not taken their time to look into eco friendly fashion often have an opinion that is far from the truth. They think that organic fashion will not look good on them. This is not true at all. Sustainable fashion designers are currently on top of their game and rocking one of their garments will surely make you stand out from the rest.
The sustainability fashion mindset
The sustainability mindset is all about doing what feels right in our hearts. We have put price tags on everything and our current way of life has been built around survival, we see everything as a commodity to be sold. Everyone is born from mother earth, we are all an intrinsic part of it. By destroying the earth, we are destroying ourselves. By polluting the environment we are endangering our own lives, and in the end, we all lose.
It all begins with where we are and what we have. We do not necessarily need to be in possession of garments made from eco friendly fabrics. The clothing apparel we own may not have gone through sustainable manufacturing but that does not mean we should just continue with the fleeting trend. There is always a little more we can do to minimize the negative impact on our habitats. It is correct to say that sustainable fashion can and will save the world.