By Susan Ticse
I always heard from my grandmothers that clothes significantly impacted their lives; both started hand-weaving sweaters and scarves using natural peruvian fibers to financially support their families. Both of them knitted my scarves and sweaters. Since then, my wardrobe is priceless: it is part of my heritage and an expression of my personality. For me, fashion is making people look their best and sustainable fashion is making people be their best.
In this article, I will highlight the critical elements of sustainable fashion which include eco-fashion, eco-innovation, and ethical fashion. Furthermore, I will provide recommendations to support the slow fashion movement and how you can become a more ethical shopper.
As a brief introduction, "The clothing and textile industry is estimated to produce around 1.7 million tons of CO2 each year contributing heavily toward global warming. Excessive volumes of water are required to grow the necessary raw materials and the use of pesticides and other toxic chemicals such as fabric dyes, are damaging soil, biodiversity, and the water resources for local communities. While around 80 billion new garments are produced globally each year, currently 80% of all clothing produced ends up in incinerators and landfill sites."1
The question is: What will be the urgent actions to mitigate the aforesaid environmental and community issues?... A Sustainable Fashion future.
Nowadays, fashion brands are seriously taking the environment into account by looking for eco-fashion materials using natural/recycled fibers through eco-innovation textiles processes. Slow fashion is a movement focused on improving sustainability and encouraging both retailers and consumers to take a more ethical approach to fashion. As the clothing industry accelerates, carbon footprint and ocean contamination increase. Ethical clothes are produced by ethical fashion treatment, which means that fashion leaders pay their workers fairly and follow occupational health standards.
These companies are conscious of how the garments will affect the community and environment. Besides, clothing trends are slowing down production by increasing the longevity of your garments for mindful consumers. Those care about a high quality, thus buying less, redesigning old clothes, or renting new garments. Sustainable fashion aligns itself with three goals in the United Nations sustainability Initiatives: No Poverty, Responsible Consumption, and Climate.
Support ethical brands
High-quality clothing uses natural fibers by avoiding chemical pollution and aids water preservation, below some brands and retailers producing these garments.
Altamira is a sustainable apparel company offering high-quality clothes by using the luxury material baby alpaca and made by women artisans from the peruvian mountains.
Maison De Mode is a luxury ethical fashion retailer that goes beyond brick and mortar stores. It has a powerful online boutique where it sells sustainable and eco-friendly independent designer brands supporting fair trade and environmental engagement.
Value your clothes
Clothes allow you to express your personal style and share your culture. Thus, be mindful of deciding what you really value. I would rather buy stories, not pieces of clothes.
Detox your closet
Go through your wardrobe and ask yourself, how many times you wore that garment in the last year. If it is less than three times, it is time to give it away to friends or charities. This process is called "the purge'' and consists of educating yourself to clean out at least once per year. To make it relaxing, I encourage you to do it with your mom or your favorite person.
Shopping for high-quality clothes can be very expensive. By renting clothes, you promote water preservation, decrease landfill waste, and lower your carbon footprint.
RentTheRunway is a platform that provides access to a membership, which includes trying on all outfits of your favorite fashion brand with a small monthly fee. Thus, you can save your money and buy high-quality garments on special occasions instead of getting low-quality clothes. That is going to last short term and is profoundly impacting the world.
In conclusion, the fashion industry is always shifting; it is its nature to change. Because of that, it is incredibly energy-consuming, polluting, and wasteful. Consumers don't understand the consequences of choosing one garment over another, which material used, how the dyeing process was, who made it or in which labor conditions. This article is a call of conscience and encourages the slow fashion movement. I invite you to shop less, choose well, and make your garments last.
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