By its very nature, fashion is not an industry that you would immediately associate with being truly sustainable. The fact that the entire fashion world revolves around and depends on the ins and outs of the latest trends forces consumers to continually buy new products and throw the other ones out. I think it's fair to say that as the world’s population has begun to become more ethically minded and environmentally conscious as a whole, there has been an increase in interest in the few and far between figures in the fashion world that are making an effort to do something about its issues of non-sustainability. Here are just a few reasons why you MUST champion sustainable fashion.
What Is Sustainable Fashion?
First of all, let’s get a good understanding of what sustainable fashion actually is. The concept of sustainability is something that refers to the effects that the production of the clothing items has on the environment. Ethical fashion is concerned with elements like how the cotton being used was grown, whether any animals were hurt and exposed to cruelty in the process, and how the makers of the garments were treated in their employment. The overall aim of sustainable fashion is to create a manufacturing process that ensures a product’s lifecycle has the absolute minimum undesirable impact on the environment.
What Brands Are Championing Sustainable Fashion?
The only way that you yourself can become more involved in sustainable fashion is to be aware of the brands and companies that are actually trying to make a difference in the industry. In the past large names have made token gestures to the cause, but more and more brands are now adopting a more sustainable model for their entire manufacturing process, and to send the message that this should be the obvious future of the fashion industry, it is important to show support for the those who are making impactful changes.
• Stella McCartney
Leading the charge in this regard is Stella McCartney. The British fashion designer’s label has been dedicated to creating sustainable collections since its original launch in 2001, and the brand’s commitment to following trends whilst simultaneously finding ways to be ethical and environmentally aware has set it apart from the rest.
Back in 2013, H&M were the very first fashion brand in the world to launch what they called a global garment collection initiative. This was a movement that allowed customers to hand in any unwanted clothing that they had in return to for vouchers to spend in store. This simple initiative helped to prevent the throwaway nature of seasonal on-trend clothing, and in addition, H&M also release an annual Conscious Exclusive collection of high quality, environmentally friendly pieces.
Zara’s parent company, Inditex, have also followed suit and invest a lot of time in encouraging their customers to drop off used and old garments so that that the brand can recycle and reuse pre-loved materials. In 2016 Zara also joined the ranks of those who have given customers a fully sustainable option in the form of their Join Life initiative, a collection of sustainably created pieces. In a bold move and noble show of ambition, Zara has pledged that by 2020, they will no longer be sending any materials from their headquarters, stores, logistics centres, and factories to landfill sites.
How Can You Champion Sustainability?
The answer to this question is incredibly simple. All you need to do is start shopping from the collections and labels that you know for a fact are supporting and working towards increased sustainability. You can satisfy your love for new trends and be environmentally conscious at the same time; you just have to commit to doing the research beforehand.
Alternatively, you can make the choice not to add to the supply and demand for freshly manufactured clothing by instead adopting a charity shop and vintage store habit. Picking up pre-loved gems is a great way to reuse materials and fashion that we already have at our disposal rather than increasing the demand for more manufacturing.