Sustainable fashion describes products, processes, activities, and actors aiming to achieve a carbon-neutral fashion industry, built on equality, social justice, animal welfare, and ecological integrity. Sustainable fashion concerns more than addressing fashion textiles or products.
It addresses the entire process in which clothing is produced, consumed and disposed of; who, what, how, when, where and the expected useful life of the product before entering the landfill. The sustainable movement looks to combat the large carbon footprint that fast fashion has created by reducing the environmental impact of fashion such as air pollution, water pollution and overall climate change.
The goal of sustainable fashion is to create flourishing ecosystems and communities through its activity. The movement believes that clothing companies ought to place environmental, social, and ethical improvements on management’s agenda
Sustainable fashion brands typically use natural resources, such as organic cotton, rubber or bamboo, and avoid using harmful chemicals in their production process. Sustainable fashion companies often work with fair trade certified factories to ensure that their workers are paid a livable wage and work in safe conditions. By shopping for sustainable fashion, consumers can help support brands that are working to positively impact the planet.
Sustainable fashion is very impressive because of 5 basic reasons:
- Sustainable fashion creates less waste
- Sustainable Fashion Ensures Fair Wages & Proper Working Conditions
- Sustainable Fashion Reduces CO2 & Other Greenhouse Gases Emission
- Sustainable Fashion Saves Water
- Sustainable Fashion Saves Animal Lives
How To Achieve Sustainable Fashion
- What Makes A Fashion Brand Sustainable?
Imagine this: A clothing brand is considered “ethical” for ensuring proper working conditions and fair wages for garment workers. However, if the same ethical label uses plastic and other synthetic materials, it falls into the non-eco-friendly category. Moreover, if it uses animal leather, the brand becomes unethical from an animal welfare angle. So in order for a label to be considered sustainable, it is not sufficient to perform one of the mentioned activities. It must abide by as many as possible terms to ensure environmental and social sustainability.
- The Issue Of Greenwashing
In very simple terms, greenwashing happens when companies claim they are doing good for the environment (or social justice) while they are not!
According to Wikipedia – Greenwashing, also called “green sheen”, is a form of marketing spin in which marketing IS deceptively used to persuade the public that an organization’s products, aims and policies, are environmentally friendly.
Greenwashing in fashion often happens through deceptive certifications. The purpose of certifications in fashion is to build trust between buyers and retailers. However, for a company to ‘obtain’ one of these certifications, it is often sufficient to produce a single organic cotton t-shirt. In reality, sustainable fashion certificates are granted to whoever pays for them. It is a minefield where large corporations amass certificate after certificate while small family labels that cannot afford to pay for certifications are left out and made to look unethical or unsustainable.
- There are a few things you can do to ensure the garment you buy is not ‘greenwashed’.
- Check the certificate issuer – is it an independent or a commercial enterprise?
- See where the materials in your product are coming from.
- See if the brand’s philosophy resonates with yours.
- What is the brand’s view on the future of fashion?
- Check if the brand is present on dedicated marketplaces for vintage clothing and sustainable fashion.
- Finally, ask the brand questions about the materials used and see how open and prompt they are.
- If you don’t get an answer, that’s a bad sign, no matter how many sustainable certificates they have.