Words by Georgie Blank
The impact the fashion industry is having on the environment is deplorable. A few of the devastating facts include: 85% of all textiles being wasted each year, textile dyeing being the second largest polluter of water and fashion production being responsible for producing 10% of the world’s carbon emissions.
The unfortunate reality of this horrific impact on the fashion industry has led to an influx of people wanting to buy sustainability and ethically made clothing. Obviously, being a conscious consumer is a positive thing, because when one is more aware and knowledgeable, we can act wiser and in this case shop better.
Naturally when something becomes popular and the demand is greater, it is no surprise that brands want to capitalise on what consumers are looking for in a product. I have personally noticed a plethora of brands announcing that they are releasing sustainability and ethically made clothing lines. However, while that it is great, brands are trying to be more environmentally friendly. Sustainability can’t be looked in the same light as fashion trends that will eventuality fade away, similar to how ‘the ugly sneaker trend was left behind in 2018”.
I am fearful that sustainable fashion is being used as a hot marketing trend, when in reality; it is something that needs to be forever accomplished. The same way that size inclusive clothing should not be used as a trend, it just needs to be the expected standard. I hope that brands will implore more sustainable practice and will see beyond the trend in all aspects for the sack of our planet.
To be perfectly frank, the most sustainable thing fashion brands can do is just make less clothing. The way fast fashion operates is to release 52 micro seasons one per each week of the year, opposed to the standard two seasons of spring/summer and autumn/ winter. This practice is designed to make consumers feel out of “trend” and thus, buy more clothing. Furthermore, sustainability is something that needs to be embedded throughout the entire brand practice from the material used to make the garment, to the way the item is package.
I know that being able to take an interest in sustainable fashion is an incredibility privileged position to be in. There are so many people now more than ever, especially during this pandemic, who is just trying to put clothes on their back.
I do not profess to be the perfect consumer (please don’t cancel me on twitter). However, I don’t think anyone reading this can claim to be either. A few ways I am personally trying to better myself, is endeavouring to reshape the way I purchase clothes. I remind myself that clothing is an investment and should not be thought of as something I will dispose of in a few months, I also don’t feel obligated to buy trends clothing, which may sound like an odd thing to say, coming from someone who studies Fashion Business. I believe a person’s fashion sense should be whatever makes them feel confident.
If one is able to invest in purely sustainable brands, one should. There are so many amazing brands that take champion sustainability and ethically made clothing. Examples of such brands are Outland Denim and Icebreaker.
The final thing we can all consider, no matter what our socioeconomic status is, is use our voices. The power of the voice enables change. I hope that some of the strategies I am utilising myself, can maybe help you all as well!
I don’t profess to have it all figured out, however, we can try and improve ourselves, as can the brands we purchase.