It’s not surprising that we always need clothes. In fact, it’s an important part of any human. When I started blogging, I loved to tell people what they absolutely have to wear to look great. It was a random blogging task where I had to talk about sustainable fashion. And it was the exact moment I started to think about the real environmental costs of fashion.
Sadly we don’t realize that fashion or clothing industry is the second highest source of pollution in the world – yes, it follows the oil industry. From deforesting to over farming and excessive use of chemicals, fashion is damaging our planet.
Why You Should Care About Fashion
How many dresses, shoes, shirts, handbags, tracksuits, and blazers do you have in your closet? Do you wear all of them? How regularly do you ‘deep clean’ your closet and give away items you no longer need?
To get an idea of your closet worth, multiply the value of the items you have in front of you by 2 billion (a rough estimate of the number of people who earn more than $10 each day). You will inevitably end up with a hefty price tag.
As stated earlier, if you look at the manufacturing processes employed in the clothing industry closely, you’ll find that it is the world’s second largest polluting business after oil refineries. Of course, other industries contribute to environmental pollution, but what’s shocking is that we are not concerned about the environmental impact of ‘fashion.’
Concerns about the ecological cost of apparel have been in the news lately. Modern designers are now adopting advanced methods of marketing to promote their professional ethics along with aesthetics – “Green is the new black.”
A Change Of Pace towards Promoting Sustainable Style
Back in 1989, London fashion designer ‘Katharine Hamnett’ who is famous for her ethical business philosophy, stepped out of the spotlight in an attempt to create awareness about ‘low environmental impact’ clothing items, but nobody gave it a second thought.
Looking at the public response, she stated that “People buy clothes only because they are delighted for themselves. They don’t care about any of the environmental issues causing by the clothing industry. They simply need the clothes anyway.”
Katharine made political history in 1984 at Downing Street with her t-shirt. Hamnett was disappointed with the lack of support for her environment saving ideas back then, however, in 2017, the London Activist is not alone in the cause to promote sustainable fashion.
Who Should We Blame?
“The True Cost,” a 2015 documentary film that highlights the disaster in a Bangladesh clothing factory in which an estimated 1,129 workers were killed has turned into a major ordeal. From the exploitation of employees to deplorable factory conditions, there are a number of human elements at stake.
Fashion has unfortunately created a culture of greed. Fashion brands only focus on their profits so much that even the basic human rights seem to be ignored. However, not all brands and consumers are doing a bad thing.
There are buyers these days that are well aware of their social responsibility. People who think about the environmental impact of fashion prefer not to walk around wearing garments produced by unethical manufacturing processes.
Famous Designers and Fashion Groups Join in the Cause
Presently brands like Stella McCartney (veggie lover) and Patagonia (dedicated to sustainable manufacture) are thriving. In the same way, Vivienne Westwood’s urge to “buy better, and buy less” has all of a sudden created a new spark.
Two of the world’s biggest extravagant fashion groups LVMH and Kering have outlined root-and-branch internal activities that would help reduce the environmental impact of fashion and at the same time control manufacturing waste.
Kering’s CEO, François-Henri Pinault has made a strong commitment to the environment preservation.
Earlier this year in January, during an interview with New York Times he stated that in the next decade, we could be wearing leather produced using animal stem cells or mushrooms. Further, he claimed that with the modern technology and innovation, we can scale up the sustainable manufacturing processes and look forward to a greener and growing fashion industry. We, however, have to ensure that the next generation will do it – with innovation, of course.
Re-Wear, Reuse and Recycle
The major issue with becoming completely environmentally friendly is that people don’t understand what it means.
Previously, H&M’s effort to create environment-friendly sustainable apparel was assumed to be needless. The company, however, follows the mantra “Re-wear, Reuse and Recycle.”
That’s right. H&M accepts used clothes at its retail stores which are later sorted. The clothes which can be re-worn and are in good condition are sold to second-hand shops where they are given a new life. Remaining items that may not be in good shape are used for rags. The remaining fabric is used to make new products by recycling.
Italian designer named Federico Curradi recently launched his environmental friendly collection in Milan in which the material was provided by unimpeachable sustainable suppliers.
Do Your Part
The fact that sustainable fashion or going green has become a need of the time, it isn’t that simple.
A general concept in our society is that fashion is about consuming unnecessary things. It’s quite easy to put all the ‘environmental responsibility’ on the shoulders of manufacturers, but we cannot set ourselves free this way. Yes, we have to be accountable for our consumption.
To be truly green, we need to follow Westwood’s “buy better, and buy less” philosophy and stick to it as long as we can. Last, as the increasing number of local and international brands are looking to promote sustainable fashion practices in the clothing industry. You can play a bigger role in preserving the environment by purchasing only recyclable clothes and accessories.
Judy Robinson is an enthusiastic blogger and passionate reader. She loves to share quality trending content with her friends and followers. Her forte is Fashion, Fitness, and lifestyle, keeping a keen eye on latest trends in those industries. Currently, she is associated with Sophie and Trey, an online boutique based in Lake Mary, Florida. For more updates follow her on Twitter @judyrobinson