Sustainable fashion with its carbon footprints accounting for more than 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions the fashion sector is wreaking havoc on the environment. The focus must transition from spreading knowledge about sustainable fashion practices to actively participate in the transformation. Fortunately, significant changes in the fashion industry are taking place, with more ethical enterprises and consumers demanding sustainable clothing labels.
Fast fashion is so lucrative because the items look great, are reasonably priced, and the clothing is always changing. From finding sustainable textiles to paying workers fairly, the industry's economic predictions are susceptible to change. The only workable answer is a gradual transition from fast to sustainable fashion that has minimal financial impact. A carbon-neutral fashion sector founded on equity, social justice, animal welfare, and ecological integrity is what is meant by the term "sustainable fashion," which is inclusive of all goods, processes, activities, and actors working toward this goal. More than just addressing fashion textiles or items are at issue with sustainable fashion.
The use of biodegradable materials and non-toxic fabric dyes with minimal to no negative environmental impacts is encouraged by sustainable or slow fashion. Because of this, these fabrics can eventually be recycled and returned to the environment when you've finished wearing them. If the cloth is recycled into the natural environment as opposed to landfills, less trash is produced. As a result, you must buy environmentally friendly or sustainable apparel from brands that are aware of their carbon footprints.
The consumer's contribution to protecting the environment and safeguarding the planet for future generations is sustainable fashion. A wider range of clothing options at cheaper prices could sound pretty alluring. However, they may go unreported even when they significantly harm the environment. Businesses are mass producing the clothes we want to wear with discounts practically every month. There is a problem with plenty. We must take into account the water use, pollutants, and environmental impact of fast fashion, to which we all contribute by using it and promoting it.
Sustainability, craftsmanship and a nomadic disposition are the three pillars Founded by Pallavi Singh from India, the brand aims to bridge cultural diversity with collections inspired by travel. For the label, the idea isn’t simply to create beautiful clothes but to give back to the artisans (10% of their profits go directly to the weavers apart from the salaries). Completely handmade, the label uses organic fibres, reusable packaging and sustainable manufacturing practices that help reduce water and environmental pollution. As we align ourselves to their clean practices, it’s the beautiful colours, refined silhouettes and hand-embellished pieces that has us marveling. The label ARCVSH employs traditional Indian hand looms in ways that appeal to discerning buyers. To minimize large-scale industrial wastage and dependency on synthetic fabrics, the designer eventually switched to natural fabrics like organic cotton, silk, wool, and line. This has resulted in the lesser use of pesticides and chemicals on the soil, and also reduced the number of natural resources consumed.
Try to reuse as much as you can, recycle, and donate items to charities rather than putting them in the trash. By purchasing what we need rather than what we want, we must consume less. Companies will be forced to make the right choices as a result of this change in customer purchasing behavior. The shift has begun, but it is gradual. There are numerous large manufacturers creating appealing ranges of ecological clothes.
It may be a cliché, but the mantra “buy less and buy better” is key when you consider that a staggering 100 billion garments are being produced globally every year. Before making a purchase, sustainability consultancy Eco-Age’s chief strategy is that you ask yourself three all-important questions: “What are you buying and why? What do you really need? Will you wear it at least 30 times?”
Invest in Sustainable Fashion Brands
Buying better can also mean supporting designers who are promoting sustainable practices, including the likes of our very own parent designer Pallavi Singh , who all use up cycled textiles in their designs. Narrowing your search for specific items can also help, whether that’s seeking out brands producing Active Wear more sustainably (such as our summer collection dresses (including Florence ) or next gen wear.(including Karma and Carnival).
Shop Second Hand and Vintage
With second hand and vintage now consider buying pre-loved items when looking to add to your wardrobe. Not only will you extend the life of these garments and reduce the environmental impact of your wardrobe as a result, you can also find one-of-a-kind pieces that no one else will own.
Instead of buying a new dress for that wedding or BBQ this summer, it’s now easier than ever to rent something to wear instead. According to one study, an astonishing 50 million garments are bought and worn just once every summer in India alone – a dirty habit we need to quickly ditch, given that the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is burned and land filled every second.
Avoid Green Washing
As consumers become ever more aware of their environmental footprint, green washing – brands using vague, misleading or false claims to suggest its more Eco-friendly than it actually is – is becoming increasingly prevalent. Look beyond buzzwords such as “sustainable”, “Eco-friendly”, “conscious” and “responsible” to see if brands have detailed policies to back up their claims.
Know Your Materials
Understanding the impact of materials is crucial when it comes to making more sustainable purchases. A good rule of thumb is to avoid virgin synthetics, such as polyester – which makes up 55% Clothes globally – as these are derived from fossil fuels and take years to break down. Not all natural materials are made the same: organic cotton, for example, uses significantly less water than conventional cotton and doesn’t use harmful pesticides.
Look for certifications from the Global Organic Textile Standard (for cotton and wool), Leather Working Group (for leather) and Forest Stewardship Council (for viscose) to ensure the materials used to make your clothes have a lower impact on our planet. Recycled materials also have a lower impact than virgin materials, but it’s worth considering whether those textiles can be recycled again once you’re finished with them.
Be Conscious about Vegan Fashion
While animal-derived materials, such as leather and wool, come with environmental and ethical concerns, vegan alternatives – which are often made from synthetics such as PVC – can also be harmful for our planet. Even plant-based alternatives usually contain a degree of synthetics, although these are likely to improve over time.
Ask Who Made Your Clothes
With the pandemic highlighting the extreme difficulties faced by garment workers around the world, it’s essential that the people who make our clothes are paid a fair wage and have safe working conditions. We have our own tailors, seaming the finest garments. Seek out brands who openly disclose information about their factories and their policies around wages and working conditions.
Watch Out for Harmful Chemicals
Hidden chemicals that are used to treat our clothes are a serious concern, polluting local waterways and posing a risk to garment workers. Keep an eye out for the Made in Green certifications, which set out requirements for chemical usage during the manufacturing process.
Reduce Your Water Footprint
Given that the production of textiles uses an astonishing 93 billion cubic meters of water annually – the equivalent to 37 million Olympic swimming pools – we should all be more conscious about the water footprint of our clothes. As mentioned previously, organic cotton uses significantly less water than conventional cotton, while the use of low-water dyes also reduces water consumption.
Take Care of Your Clothes
Extending the life of your clothes is key when it comes to lowering the environmental footprint of your garments, and ensuring they don’t end up clogging landfill sites after just one or two wears. Ensure your clothes last as long as possible by not over washing them (which will also lower your CO2 emissions and water consumption), as well as repairing them instead of throwing them out.
Avoid Micro Plastic Pollution
As it’s difficult to avoid synthetics altogether (nylon and elastic are still required in active wear and underwear to get that all-important stretch), washing clothes can release thousands of micro plastics into our waterways and oceans, causing harm to marine life that ingest the tiny particles. Luckily, there’s a simple solution: investing in a micro plastics filter such as a Guppy Friend Washing Bag, in which you can put your synthetic garments or a Cora Ball that you put in with your laundry.
Ensure Your Clothes Have a Second Life
When clearing out your closet, being conscious about how you dispose of your clothes will help stop them from ending up in landfill. Re-selling your clothes or organizing a clothes swap is the best way to ensure they’ll have a second life, as well as donating to charities and organizations that are looking for used clothing. For worn-out pieces that can no longer be repaired or reused, look for recycling schemes specifically for those items, where possible.
Circularity is Important
There has been a lot of talk about creating a circular fashion industry of late – a system where all garments can be reused, recycled, or returned to the earth (if biodegradable or composable). While the industry is a long way off becoming fully circular, thinking about whether your clothes can re-enter the system in any of these ways is crucial when it comes to sustainability.
There are 3 pillars to sustainability: economic viability, environmental protection, and social equity.
Or Simply– People, Profit, Planet.
All three of these elements are intricately connected and dependent on each other. You cannot have sustainability without all three.
What’s the point of protecting the planet and building environmentally-friendly businesses if the people whose home is on this planet are still being exploited?
We need to do the important work of protecting the planet and the people, but it’s also not viable if there isn’t an economic future in how we do it. And while you can economically empower people through business, it won’t work if it’s at the cost of the environment and resources needed to have a healthy existence.