2018: The year of sustainable fashion

2018: The year of sustainable fashion

Why you need to take sustainable fashion seriously

“Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar,” Bradley Miller beautifully explains the importance of life at all levels and not just in human form. It may have taken time, but we are finally on the threshold of newfound awareness with regards to our ecological system.

People are beginning to lean towards green brands that put a conscious effort towards reducing carbon footprint. And so, fashion has turned over a new leaf in 2018 through its mindfulness about “sustainability”.

This “Earth Week” let us look at fashion’s impact on the environment and how sustainable fashion contributes to a greener world.

 

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Did Sustainable Fashion Just Get Real? Finding Out the How and Whys.

Our planet has resources that are only going to last for a limited time. It is important for us to undergo a genuine shift in our fashion perspectives to include fabrics and pieces which embrace nature instead of having a detrimental effect on the environment. An increase in the use of natural dyes instead of toxic colouring agents, and the replacement of non-recyclable materials with fabrics that can be repurposed and recycled will help our generation and future generations live in a planet that celebrates life in all forms.

Not sure how to choose a brand which values sustainability?

There are several aspects of environment friendliness that brands are beginning to embrace. Sustainability however does not happen overnight. It takes time and it requires brands and shoppers to be more aware of the environmental impacts of fashion. Let us look at ways in which brands are beginning to go green.

 

Making a Difference through their Choice of Materials

Organic farming and the humane rearing of animals is one of the most fundamental ways of preserving and promoting biodiversity. Organically grown cotton is free of synthetic agricultural chemicals which harm micro-organisms in the environment and have a damaging effect on the soil. Similarly organic wool is obtained from sheep that have been kept under ideal conditions and are not exposed to unwanted chemicals.

Needless to say, these methods are more cost intensive because they do not believe in artificially accelerating the process of growth in the plants and animals. While you may end up paying a relatively higher price for pieces made from environment friendly materials like organic cotton, organic wool, linen, bamboo fibre, recycled polyester and vegetable dyes; the choice you make will harbour positivity in the light of sticking to a moral code of shopping.

Tip: Do it right by going through the fine print on labels before making your purchase.

 

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Reducing their Carbon-Footprint during Production

One of the key goals of sustainability is to keep ecosystems in place. Working conditions and fair living wages have been a concern for many workers in the garment production industry. Inhumane working conditions impact their lives while also negatively impacting their future. I would advise you to choose design labels that believe in ethical production practices and that decide to be aware of working conditions of their employees under contractors and sub-contractors. Vigilance by the brands can truly bring about a positive change.

Another process that greatly deserves attention is the reserve migration system wherein designers tie up with non-profit organizations and craft clusters to create employment for craftsmen by bringing work to them instead of relocating them to cities where they find it hard to survive given the high cost of living. By doing this, not only can artisans continue living in their own region, but the fashion world is also provided with authentic handcrafted products while keeping traditional crafts alive.

Tip: Do it right by indulging in a conversation with the store manager to find out about the production process of the garments.

 

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Designing Pieces Which Can be Upcycled and Recycled

When you discard clothes as soon as they go out of trend in favour of new ones ~ seasonal fads; you are contributing negatively to the environment and increasing world pollution since the discarded clothes end up in landfills. The burgeoning impact of fast fashion requires our attention and this is one reason why sustainability has become the keyword that graces the lips of designers and fashion houses.

By investing in upcylcled and recycled clothes, you are making room for a positive change in your fashion sensibilities. Upcycling breathes new life into clothing ~ rework a favourite garment, conceal minor repair on jeans with exquisite embroidery or funky patchwork, or handcraft dining table mats using scraps of couture clothing… The possibilities are endless.

Tip: Do it right by looking for upcycling workshops or by having your designer find ways to recreate an old piece {for e.g. a vintage saree} in a new design.

 

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Implementing Timelessness in Fashion

There are trends that last a couple of months and those that last years. Classic pieces always make a comeback or they just don’t fade out of the fashion scene at all. By making fashion sustainable, designers are making an effort to focus on creating lasting trends.

In recent years we have become addicted to shopping more than we need to and switching our wardrobe to make way for runway trends. With clothes being available at surprisingly low costs, we are inadvertently given the power to buy more and to discard what we already own without thinking twice over the amount spent on them. However, these inexpensive pieces usually come at the price of garment workers working in inhumane conditions, getting paid very low wages, and materials being sourced illegally or going through inorganic manufacturing processes.

By making trends take second place while environmental awareness becomes priority, designers are able to centre their attention on the creation of timeless pieces which do not adhere to the limitations of one fashion season.

Tip: Do it right by choosing clothes that will enjoy a more enduring stay in your wardrobe.

 

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End note: 2018 is the year of sustainable fashion. The tables have turned and fashion this year loves the planet more than it leans towards creating trends. Designers are already beginning to transform their existing business models for ones that have a healthy impact on the planet and its people. As a buyer, ethical shopping necessitates the need for principles that guide you to choose environment friendly pieces which may reduce your overall buying power to fewer pieces but still warrant quality, and help you relish in the thought that you have played a part in saving our planet.

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* I love bringing together a bunch of conflicting items and weaving my own sense of one-ness to them. *

30 Comments

  • The way we talk about fashion ought to incorporate how to put together garments we may already own ~ in a diverse manner, instead of making new purchases.

    • Yes, Jessica! Fashion isn’t about simply filling your wardrobe with as many goodies as you can get. It is tied in with adopting a cognizant strategy to fashion.

  • Tanya, I love you for posting this! Embracing ethical fashion and altering the way I shop has relieved me of a burden!!

    • Eileen, taking the time to thoroughly consider and centre purchases on better quality feels great, doesn’t it! 🙂

  • Fashion isn’t just about burning through money but about being mindful of your world and the changes in the mood and spirit. xx

    • Yes 🙂 In my assessment, Susan, it’s critical to slow down and change one’s propensities. Slow fashion is and should be about the story behind your clothing…

  • I think ethical fashion is about acknowledging the story behind each garment as well as appreciating the joy each painstakingly chosen piece brings! 🙂

    • I absolutely agree, Alie. It’s time we owned our clothes with pride, rather than our clothes owning us with guilt and insecurity.

  • The sustainable fashion movement is also about cherishing and taking care of the clothes and accessories you already own…

  • Tanya, thank you so much for the good insights and tips on sustainable fashion!! This post is such an extraordinary clarification on what slow fashion means…

    • I find myself more serious about conscious fashion now than ever before, Joe. And through this blog post, I welcome others to do the same.

  • Mainstream fashion truly does come with a great deal of drawbacks for our planet in addition to its occupants. Thank you for the great tips and how-to’s with regards to a sustainable lifestyle and specifically fashion!

  • The more I learn about sustainability and the natural balance of ecosystems – the more I’m convinced that one simple step is all it takes to ease the demand on earth and fight off destructive effects!

  • I completely agree, Tanya! Other than investing efforts to reduce our carbon print, sustainable fashion really empowers us to understand and appreciate the work which goes into creating the garments.

    • Fashion shouldn’t be easy or disposable, Elise. My clothes… I’ll have them for life, and I’ll know exactly who made them.

    • Yes, Richa 🙂 Every one of us can remain consistent to our desire, while encompassing a slower and more conscious approach to style. xx

  • I’m attracted to ethical fashion in light of the fact that there are no negatives – it’s better for our planet, for the general population, and most definitely for the economy!

    • Yes! When I choose timeless, ethically-made garments… marketing tactics loses its power over me and I am happier as a result, Hannah. 🙂

  • Choosing sustainability essentially implies that we assume liability for the decisions we make around our consumption of clothing!

    • …and while considering our personal life circumstances ~ in this way settling on the most moral decision we can at any given time, Iris.

  • Our objective ought to be to build a wardrobe of great quality pieces. We can still flaunt our individuality with fantastic accessories, and a sincere smile.

    • Well said, Drew! I’m in favour of Ethical Fashion because I am more inclined toward quality over quantity and classics over fads.

  • The threads which unite the sustainable fashion community are symbolic of conscious culture as a whole; it goes beyond fashion ~ it’s a lifestyle… it’s a revolution!!

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