The term “sustainable fashion” concentrate on the environmental aspect of garment production. Consumers today are taking a closer look at the food they consume and the chemicals they put into their bodies, they are also shifting their purchasing decisions to create a cleaner environment through the clothes they wear.
Sustainable fashion takes into account the entire supply chain and life cycle of a garment, from where and how it is made to when it ends up in our landfills. It is important for consumers to think about how their purchase affects the environment, the lifecycle of their garment, and how to invest in clothes that last longer.
One of the biggest culprits in the fashion industry is “fast fashion,” or clothes made cheaply to meet demands for the hot new styles. However, fast fashion is putting our future planet at risk, because it depletes the Earth’s natural resources at exponential rates, exploits workers around the world, and results in an overwhelming amount of waste.
Fashion can be made more sustainable in numerous ways—from using organic materials, using biodegradable dyes, to engineering patterns that create zero waste. Natural materials such as hemp, linen, cotton, silk, wool, leather, and cellulose fibres (i.e., synthetically made fibres originating from plant sources, including viscose, rayon, lyocell, etc.) are generally preferable over virgin, petroleum-derived synthetics like polyester, acrylic, and nylon. This is because natural fibres are biodegradable and can compost cleanly back into the soil. Using pre-existing materials to create new clothing and thrifting is always a great choice because it does not require the extraction of new resources from the Earth but rather makes the most use of materials that may otherwise go to waste.
It’s easy to forget the impact of purchase or the power you have as a consumer. There are small steps we can take each day to pave the path toward a more sustainable fashion future.