Sustainable Fashion Clothing – How will it Save our world?

What is Sustainable Clothing? How can we improve environmental sustainability with sustainable clothing?

Introduction

Dame Vivienne Westwood said, “(Fashion) is life-enhancing, and it’s worth doing it well.” In a world where more and more people are concerned with the state and health of environmental sustainability, this quote seems more relevant from many different perspectives.

Sustainable fashion, or slow fashion, is the movement where fashion stylists, manufacturers, and users strive to foster changes in the industry. This change is geared toward better and bigger ecological integrity and also social justice. The rises of popular sustainable clothing brands are strong evidence of the Sustainable Clothing Movement.

What is Sustainable Fashion is Important?

When talking about sustainable fashion, advocates are not only talking about materials or textiles. Sustainable fashion covers everything and anything about the fashion industry that is sustainable. This process involves the full life cycle of a fashion product from designing, sourcing, or production, etc.

Fashion is not just about glamorous runways or boutique, high-end brands. Anything and everything that we need to wear is considered fashionable. This means millions of all types of clothing apparels being churned out by factories every day.

Compared to fast fashion i.e. apparel that is cheap and made for short-term wear, sustainable fashion concerns itself with more significant impacts the fashion industry makes.

Sustainable fashion strives toward doing things differently so it can create values and provide better wealth for society and the economy. Advocates of sustainable fashion prioritize the environment, society, and ethical improvement in their work processes and agendas.

Sustainable Fashion Goals, Efforts, Ideas


Saving natural resources

Up to 97% of the materials used to make clothes are from new resources such as oil for synthetic fibers, fertilizers for cotton plants, etc. Sustainable fashion works towards using recycled resources to reduce the need for new resources.

Saving animal lives

Clothes made from leather or fur kill up to 430 million animals each year. Sustainable fashion uses alternative materials such as old seatbelts, plastics, or even trash from the ocean, to produce similar quality of materials.

Using less water

Water is one of the main resources in the fashion industry. It takes up to 713 gallons of water to make a single t-shirt. Manufacturing processes in sustainable fashion uses less water through the use of hemp and other recycled fibers.

Safer and fairer working conditions

The working environments in many major clothes manufacturing countries such as China and Bangladesh are atrocious. Brands that are eco-ethical prioritize safe and fair environments for the workers in these factories by providing the workers with humane working environments, healthcare, and above-average pay.

Ending child labor in the garment industry

According to UNICEF, there are currently more than 170 million children involved in some form of garment work in the fashion industry. Some of these children are too young to work or they work in dangerous and hazardous work conditions.

This situation resembles modern-day slavery. Brands with ethical processes will provide transparent information about its work processes, factory, and working conditions.

Why sustainable Clothing and Fashion?

There’s an inside joke in China that if you want to know what’s the “it” color of the season is, all you have to do is take a look at the color of the rivers. This joke is both telling and highly alarming. The colors of our clothes are killing the environment.

Apparel in fast fashion goes through intense and harsh chemical processes where it’s common to use more than 8,000 types of chemicals are used to bleach and dye garments. These chemicals have serious side effects on the workers such as causing birth-defects or even deaths.

Sustainable fashion uses alternative bleaching and dyeing methods such as supercritical carbon dioxide or scCO2. This process uses 100% of the dye and able to reduce up to 60% of energy. Not only that, but it’s also safe for the workers who come in contact with the dye.

Choosing to change the work processes in the fashion industry is not just about using sustainable resources. It’s the overall choice of making the eco-ethical change by minimizing our carbon footprints, reducing consumption and waste, and many more.

These choices go a long way in helping to conserve and protect the environment, people, and animals.

How does Sustainable Clothing help climate change and the environment?

The fashion industry is responsible for almost one-fifth of water pollution from industrial processes. Most wastewater used in making clothes are dumped into streams and rivers, polluting freshwater supply with carcinogenic chemicals, dyes, and heavy metals.

Sustainable fashion can significantly reduce consumption and waste. Eco-ethical brands prioritize long-lasting materials, so there will be less need to use new resources as well as it can help in reducing waste.

Other than that, sustainable fashion encourages users to create their own look and style. Fast fashion is about latest the trends that may not suit our personality. Through sustainable fashion that’s supposed to last longer, users can curate their own look and use it for many years.

When there is less need to use new resources and many of what we use can last longer, brands and manufacturers don’t need to produce as many items as before. When production from new resources reduces, we give a chance to the environment to heal and regenerate. This can help bring back biodiversity and conserve the environment.

Types of sustainable fashion

There are several major forms of sustainable fashion. These forms aren’t just for brands to transform their model to reduce environmental impacts or improve social and working conditions. Fashion enthusiasts and users can also do their part by adopting these types of sustainable fashion.

Compared to fast fashion, sustainable fashion chooses “slower” and more reasonable ways in fashion. Some sustainable fashion types are:

Custom-made and on-demand fashion

Anything from made-to-order, tailored, or bespoke clothing. Not only this helps users to get something they personally like, but it also helps small business tailors and dressmakers.

Ethical and fair

Choosing apparel made in an ethical and fair environment can be a great way to help improve the welfare of the workers as well as to support ethical brands.

Upcycle and redesign

Many sustainable fashion brands encourage their consumers to redesign, repurpose, or upcycle clothing. This helps in reducing the need to use new resources.

Secondhand and vintage

While latest trends still have their fans, many people are now embracing vintage looks from secondhand items or hand-me-downs. This can reduce consumption and waste

Trends in sustainable fashion

There isn’t any definite trend in sustainable fashion, per se. This is because sustainable fashion isn’t about trends as much as it’s about lifestyle changes. As long as you’re doing the things to help and support sustainable fashion, you’re in trend!

However, there are several things you can do if you want to support sustainable fashion.

One of the most effortless sustainable ways is to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Another would be avoiding any fast fashion trends and fads. Making conscious choices when it comes to your garment purchase is also another way to be in trend with sustainable fashion. Consciously buying garments with sustainable materials or with minimal byproducts are also great ways to support sustainable fashion.

Conclusion

It’s encouraging to know that many brands are making the choice to move toward sustainable fashion. Not only that, many new fashion brands start with sustainable fashion, so users have more choices to show their support.

Fashion needs to be sustainable in every part of its life cycle so that the environment and society do not become the victims of our “trends”.

Interested in Getting Sustainable Fashion

We have selected a list of leading sustainable clothing brands



How Sustainable Clothing help climate change?

  • Saving natural resources
  • Saving animal lives
  • Using less water
  • Safer and fairer working conditions
  • Ending child labor in the garment industry
  • more on Diversity Social Sustainability Blog

What are the different ways to create sustainable fashion clothing?

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About the author

Jess Man

Jessica is the Editor-in-Chief and Senior Diversity Advisor at Diversity Social. Jessica has over 10 years of working with and advising employers to be more diverse and create an inclusive working environment.
Jessica's experience spans private and non-profit sectors in multiple industries.
Jessica's expertise experience is beyond Diversity & Inclusion, she is also a certified professional IT recruiter in Data & Analytics, Database administration, Artificial Intelligence area.