The Futures of Sustainable Fashion
How We Can All Play Our Part – Fashion and Sustainability
When it comes to the fast fashion industry many leading retailers are announcing a move to a more sustainable future, but still see a great deal of unsustainable practices despite this. For example, cotton farming tantamount to exploitation in many improvised countries is still going and the use of plastics in packaging and non-recyclable materials still prevalent for many retailers. Whilst, we do see some improvements from many of the household fast fashion retailers such as: Zara, H & M and Uniqlo it’s often a fine line between profits and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) with the former often winning.
The good news
Change is happening. This year has seen a clear upswing in the trend to more sustainable fashion. With UNDP Goodwill ambassadors, Michelle Yeoh, very vocal about the impact our clothing is having on the environment. This message is very prominent in the Made in Forests documentary, if you haven’t seen yet it’s well worth checking out here.
Another positive change we’re seeing is the trend towards upcycling. Upcycling is essentially repurposing old clothing into something new and often better both from a utility and environmental perspective. This often aligns very well with household budgeting, why go out and waste your money on clothes that have had an environmental impact when you can actually save money on repurposing old, broken or discarded clothing.
As well as this movement, which is growing stronger by the day, we’re seeing heavy hitters and key events such as Stella McCartney and Milan Fashion week embrace ‘green fashion’ and encourage other brands and designers to follow suite.
Initiatives are also springing up in a number of countries through technological innovation and support from local governmental organisations such as clothing banks, apps for trading second hand clothing and online marketplaces for selling upcycled fashion. This is also helping towards a growing consciousness of sustainable fashion.
This by far is having the biggest impact this year with many influencers on Social Media getting behind this campaign. Whilst a lot of the attention has been focused on plastics in the ocean and ways we can combat this, we should also be applying this to the fashion industry. Seen excess plastic packaging in a store, or bought something online only to find that it’s covered in layers of plastic? The answer is simple, boycott that retailer or supplier. Sooner or later they’re bound to take notice and start bucking their ideas up.
Finally, if you’re looking for brands that are fully embracing ‘green fashion’ our recommendations are the following:
- Veja: a French footwear brand that uses fair trade conditions and small producers in Brazil and France for ethical and organic footwear
- People Tree: One of the first in sustainable fashion brands and hopefully here to stay
- Ninety Percent: for everyday casual wear, this brand donates up to 90% of its profits towards charitable causes
Guest post by Dom Taylor, owner of Shaka Surf Store a sustainable eco surf brand stocking everything from handmade Brazilian bikinis to bamboo/wooden sunglasses.