It's time to hop on board the sustainable fashion train.
Sustainable fashion can seem like a tricky concept to wrap your head around – you might think sustainable clothing consist of itchy hemp sacks, but that isn’t the case.
In the fashion industry, more and more companies are changing their business models to reduce overall environmental impacts, but now it’s the consumers turn to go out and start buying those sustainable products.
According to Green Strategy, sustainable fashion “can be defined as clothing, shoes and accessories that are manufactured, marketed and used in the most sustainable manner possible, taking into account both environmental and socio-economic aspects.”
Sustainability in clothing starts from the very beginning and goes through all stages of the clothing being made. From design, raw material production, manufacturing, transport, storage, marketing and final sale, to use, reuse, repair, remake and recycling of the product and its components.
But this spectrum is very broad. There is no exact right or wrong way to do sustainability. Even the experts find it hard to explain and determine sustainable fashion so us regular folk shouldn’t let its complicated explanations stop us.
The fashion industry is the second highest polluter in the world behind the agriculture sector, so it’s no surprise that more brands are now moving towards reducing their carbon footprint.
One of the main reasons that people aren’t jumping on the sustainable clothing bandwagon is because of the perception that it’s extremely expensive. There are some completely sustainable brands that verge on the pricey side and it can hardly be justifiable to break the bank on a few eco pieces.
However, it can be easier and cheaper to start the change in your wardrobe. High street brands such as H&M, Marks and Spencer, & Other Stories and Adidas all partner with I:CO, an international provider for the collection, certified sorting, reuse and recycling of discarded clothing and shoes.
ASOS also has a line of denim made using a mix of recycled cotton and cotton produced in Africa which comes in five styles, from slim fit to mom jeans.
Zara came out this year with their own sustainable line called #JoinLife – the clothing is made from organic cotton, recycled wool and wood fibre. The brand have collection points in store where you can bring your old clothes for recycling.
So while there are the upmarket, expensive sustainable brands that you can get, high street stores are also striving to make their clothes more sustainable.
If you have some disposable income and would like to drop a little extra on some sustainable clothing, check out People Tree and Reformation for stylish, eco-friendly threads. STELLAR’s fashion editor, Linda Conway, also has her very own Irish sustainable clothing shop, Stiall.
Being aware of what sustainable fashion is and the little things that you can do is the first step.
Researching you favourite brands in your wardrobe to see if they use organic materials such as organic cottons is also a good start.
Another way to up your sustainability game is to start recycling clothes that you don’t wear anymore instead of just throwing them in the bin.
So, when it comes to sustainable fashion, it’s time to ask questions. There are no brands that are perfectly sustainable or no person who knows everything about the subject. The best way to approach it is with an open mind and awareness of how your clothes are being made from the very beginning.
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