We need sustainable fashion to be the future of fashion. Changes need to occur from designer’s choices, clothes production, and supply chain to how consumers make their clothing purchases. Consumers think about sustainability across everything from resource management to product packaging, which speaks to the ever-broadening nature of the term “sustainability.”
73% of global consumers say they would change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.
What we’ll cover in this article:
- What is sustainable fashion?
- Why sustainable fashion is important
- Where to buy sustainable fashion
- How you can be more sustainable
What is Sustainable Fashion?
Sustainable fashion is a process to foster change to fashion products and the fashion system towards greater ecological integrity and social justice. It isn’t just the clothes; there are flaws in the entire ecosystem surrounding the fashion industry.
Why Sustainable Fashion is Important
Climate change is occurring faster than scientists had anticipated. We could reduce carbon emissions by 2030 by fifty percent from the fashion industry with these changes:
Sixty percent of the additional emission reduction could be achieved in upstream operations, through initiatives such as energy-efficiency improvements and a transition to renewable energy, with support from brands and retailers.
Eight percent of emissions could be saved through operational improvements by fashion brands.
Twenty-one percent through changes in consumer behavior.
Read the full McKinsey report Fashion on Climate here.
Fast fashion is a relatively new term used by fashion retailers to express that designs move from catwalk quickly to capture current fashion trends. The counter-movement, slow fashion, focuses on classic styles and sustainable practices. Celebrating reusing garments and reworking older garments fuels the slow fashion movement, which is sustainable.
Where is Sustainable Fashion Headed for the Future
Vogue says, “Implementing sustainability in the fashion industry requires brands and consumers to navigate a complex web of challenges. As the industry’s understanding matures, its solutions become even more creative.”
One creative move at New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2021 was Christian Siriano’s thrift shopping on second-hand online retailer ThredUp for some of his own pieces from past collections which he reworked and showed in his current collection.
“Siriano included two thrifted pieces he previously designed and found on the site thredUP, including a black fringe coat he made about seven years ago. He was pleasantly surprised it held up, both aesthetically and through its well-worn years. The other look was a plunging silk crepe dress in fuchsia washed many times.
“It looked worn but new. Hopefully, it will show people we can do this in fashion,” Siriano said of the growing reuse movement.”
Christian Siriano partnered with thredUP creating the universal logo for thrifting, in the shape of a coat hanger with an arrow.
“With nods to clothing and recycling iconography, we created a logo that stands for the power of thrift. The design is an infinite loop, representing circular fashion and a future where clothing is reused again and again.” – Christian Siriano, Fashion Designer
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How You Can Be More Sustainable
Ask yourself, “Do I need this?” before making new clothing purchases.
Each person can replace mindless shopping and making poor decisions with conscious consumerism. Conscious consumerism is when a commitment drives buying practices to make purchasing decisions that positively impact social, economic, and environmental impact.
Thirty Wears for the Planet
Wear things over and over. There’s a movement to choose garments that will be worn thirty times. It’s the opposite of what is currently occurring with fast fashion and garments deemed “old” after three wears. Just three!
Shop responsibly and ask yourself before buying:
- Where will I wear this?
- How many times will I wear this?
- Do I already have something in my wardrobe like this?
- Splurge on sustainable pieces that you’ll have for many years.
Tips to slow down your wardrobe:
• Donate clothing you’re no longer wearing.
• Raid your mom or grandma’s closet for beautiful pieces that you can give a new life.
• Repair your clothes.
• Ask your dry cleaner about repair services.
• Find a seamstress to tailor and repair your garments.
• Regularly have your garments cleaned by a professional – wet cleaning is safe and sustainable while being gentle on garments for longer life.
• Wear vintage clothing and shop second-hand
Ready to clean out your closet? Don’t throw your clothes away. Try Thredup’s Clean Out program to resell your past favorites.
Where to Buy Sustainable Fashion
- Eileen Fisher
- Stella McCartney
- Thredup – Buy and sell online consignment and thrift store.
- Poshmark: Buy and sell clothes and accessories.
- H&M now has a sustainable line.
- Wolven Threads for activewear
- Girlfriend Collective – they use plastic bottles to make athleisure.
- Don’t forget local consignment and thrift stores.
We can all make better choices in the future for sustainable fashion and embrace conscious consumerism. If we all make small changes, they will add up in a big way.