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Sustainable Fashion is Simple – Here’s Why

  • Sustainable Fashion

Sustainable fashion is a term I’ve seen appear a lot recently. But what does it mean?

In short, it’s an umbrella term for attires and products created and consumed in a way they can be sustained. It’s not just purchasing using second-hand resources, moreover there’s an entire sustainability matrix. The term addresses the high use of CO2 emissions, overproduction, the large volume of wastage, biodiversity, welfare of the workers and making sure they have a fair wage etc.

Considering all this, how many brands do you know that make sure they’re constantly improving within the sustainability matrix?

This year for me has been a summer of self-improvement both mentally and physically, including shopping more sustainably. But how can we do this?

Here are a couple of ways to make a start in your sustainability journey.

Quality over Quantity

Overproduction is a big problem but not something that is often brought into attention. Over 100 billion clothing items are produced per year, of which 30% of it goes to the landfill. That’s £140 million worth of clothes being wasted.

In order to decide which pieces of clothing to buy and which to pull away from, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are you buying?

  • Why are you buying it?

  • Do you need it? 


Another tip is to make sure you have at least 3 outfit ideas with that/those item(s) in mind.

Let’s talk ethical brands

You may have heard of popular ethical brands such as We Are We Wear, Birdsong and Reformation (to name a few) but what makes their clothing sustainable?

An ethical brand makes sure everyone within their supply chain are treated fairly with fair wages. The company looks after workers welfare and safety whilst working. They also make sure the resources they use are environmentally friendly at most and the energy used is working on reducing CO2 emissions.

Finally, the brand is ideally vegan or are working on using as few animal products as possible. So, if you’re checking for an ethical brand, make sure they impact people, animals, and the environment in a positive way.

Below is fashion influencer and international climate activist Aliza Ayaz breathing life into sustainable garments.

Victor & Rolf sustainable gown. Excited to bring forth this spirit of sustainable fashion in a bold and accessible way, Aliza is seen breathing new life into forgotten garments
Aliza Ayaz spotted wearing a Paula Knorr’s AW20 collection which used sequins from The Sustainable Sequin Company.

Make full use of second-hand resources

Now, this is my favourite way to begin my sustainability journey and trust me when I say you can find some real gems. The likes of charity shops such as Oxfam and Chestnut Tree House as well as popular apps such as Depop are perfect and easy examples.

Avoid Greenwashing

The concept of greenwashing is the practice of companies running under the false pretence of being environmentally friendly and ethical. In order to avoid this, here are a few steps:

  • Make sure to research into their company
  • Ask yourself if their campaigns are diverting you from the bigger picture
  • Are their sources certified or provable?
  • Trust your gut instinct

The Power of Speech and Action

We’ve all seen how powerful celebrity and social media influence can be for any fashion house right now. The same can be said for the impact of sustainability and climate change, causing many consumers to try to reduce their shopping in order to lessen their impact. 


“It’s frustrating that brands almost have an eternally sluggish participation in climate action. While the very high-end brands might not be reducing how much they produce and how they produce, they have definitely become more inquisitive about where their raw material comes from and how to improve. Lot more needs to be done” said Aliza Ayaz, a fashion influencer and international climate activist.


Sustainability fashion is an expression of our present so it’s important we don’t set it aside. For too many influential people in this industry, eco-fashion is still considered a niche – and rather an unfashionable – market, mainly due to the (flawed) idea that it is expensive but not luxurious enough. 


Aliza commented, “the existing fast fashion trend cannot continue forever, as it isn’t sustainable in terms of resources, raw materials or the labour involved.”

 

There are various ways to keep your wardrobe ethical and these are only a few to give you a head start on your sustainability journey.

So why wait? Use these tips to get started.

This was written by the talented writer, Aditi Mehta. Hopefully going to be able to feature more articles later in the year.

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