Written by: mikaeul_23
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the words “pollution” and “environmental damage”? Normally, people associate these words with factories and manufacturing companies that produce industrial waste and toxic fumes that contaminate the environment. However, most of them do not realize that other types of businesses indirectly damage our beloved planet as well. For example, the food industry causes damage to the environment due to the use of natural resources and pesticides to grow fruits and vegetables. Believe me when I say that many aspects of your everyday life contribute to climate change without you knowing it.
Believe it or not, your clothes and the way you shop for them also affects our planet, but few people grasp the importance behind it. Even more, the fashion industry truly goes unnoticed when we talk about sustainability and eco-friendly practices. Because of this, let’s educate you on the importance of fashion and sustainability and how to embrace it in your everyday life.
Fashion Sustainability: Is it Truly a Myth?
According to studies, the fashion industry is responsible for approximately 10% of all carbon emissions and produces about 20% of wastewater.
Not only that, the use of dyes and chemicals, the packaging process, and its transportation all over the world. Also, influence how much the environment suffers when fabricating your favorite shirt or jeans.
Nonetheless, many fashion brands are trying to promote eco-friendly lifestyles by embracing environmental awareness. Some of them are reducing their carbon footprint by recycling denim and other fibers to create new styles of clothing. Others are researching alternative approaches to dye their clothes or manufacture biodegradable garments.
For example, bio-couture is becoming the new craze as the concept of utilizing sustainable natural resources, like wood, to create fashion is appealing to the new generations.
Thus, the sustainability of fashion industry is possible, but problematic at the same time. Unfortunately, the consumer is the biggest challenge behind an eco-friendly clothing brand. For instance, everyone knows someone who buys compulsively three pairs of shoes or five shirts just because they were on sale and will probably only wear it once or twice. This binge shopping leads businesses to increase production, which ultimately leads to the depletion of natural resources and industrial waste.
It is hard for people to understand that the way they shop or buy clothes has a negative effect on the environment. Therefore, although the fashion industry does its part to promote environmental awareness, the consumer may be the root of the problem. Fashion sustainability will never become a reality if people do not buy responsibly and with sense.
Fast Fashion: Another Obstacle for Sustainability?
It is said that the average person purchases about 70 pieces of clothing every year, but only wears them seven times before throwing them away. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Fast Fashion” culture is the cause of this type of lifestyle. In simple terms, fast fashion refers to the purchase of trendy clothing at low and affordable prices. Which creates the “buy and throw away” cycle.
A fashion brand may release a summer collection today. But you are able to buy cheaper knock-offs at a local retailer a few days later. This enables people to buy clothing within their expenses and still stay up-to-date with the latest fashion trends. However, this endangers the possibility of fashion and sustainability.
Mass production increases the use of water and other natural resources to create garments. Factories and companies produce more waste and toxins that pollute the environment and affect landscapes and wildlife. Although businesses can find innovative ways to reduce carbon emissions, like using organic hemp and Tencel, to create their clothes, we must also transition to eco-friendly shopping habits to protect the Earth.
For example. buying vintage clothes or eco-friendly brands at your local retailers are some initial approaches against fast fashion. Additionally, donating your clothes to organizations and recycling them can also improve the way waste is produced. For this reason, fast fashion can become a stumbling block on the road to fashion sustainability if not addressed properly.
The Best-Known Sustainable Fashion Brands
House of Sunny
House of Sunny is a London-based fashion brand that utilizes recycled materials and water-saving technology to create their clothing. Additionally, they only release new collections twice a year, which further reduces the fast-fashion culture. This brand is also known for using repeated prints and styles to limit waste production.
Lucy & Yak
It is a fast-rising independent clothing brand that promotes environmental awareness in every aspect of its garments. Lucy & Yak uses organic fibers to manufacture their clothing, which makes them biodegradable and environmentally-friendly. In addition, they have a social impact as their production factory is located in India and provides healthy work environments.
Before, Levi’s had no regard for how much water was used to dye their clothes. It would probably use more than two-thousand gallons of water to manufacture one pair of jeans, but that is in the past now. Levi’s released a Water-less collection, which requires about 98% less water to create it. Nowadays, this brand is implementing new ways to promote fashion sustainability.
Many people view ABLE as the epitome of ethical fashion. They create various clothing and accessories, such as jewelry, shoes, and bags, with eco-friendly materials and recycling methods. Even more, they provide high-quality messages about fair wages and safe environments for women, including more job opportunities.
Introducing the World of Sustainable Luxury
It may hard to believe, but the newer generations are playing a vital role in the birth of the concept known as “sustainable luxury”. Many fashion brands try to promote environmental awareness by describing their products as eco-friendly, vegan, or cruelty-free. However, sustainable luxury goes deeper than this.
Millennials and Generation Z consumers are more conscious of the consequences that come with deforestation and pollution and want brands to embody their values and ethics. According to a study done by Nielsen, more than 80% of Millenial clients prefer to spend their money on brands that show transparency in their brands and products.
Although eco-friendly clothing captures the attention of the newer generations, brands have to implement approaches that showcase how their manufacturing process reduces carbon emissions or protects the environment from further damage. Their clients find a brand more appealing if they know how it promotes sustainability, environmental awareness, and is part of this new eco-friendly movement.
In the end, sustainable luxury alludes to practices and values that are applied when creating an eco-friendly product.
Sustainable Fashion: A New Career Path?
Nowadays, people are more concerned about creating a better place for their children and family rather than earning a lot of money. In regards to fashion, this industry is receiving a wake-up call to creating eco-friendly garments if they want to keep their customers or keep them happy. Because of this, a career in sustainable fashion may be for you if you want to blend your love for the world and fashion.
Fashion Sustainability Jobs
For example, a sustainable sourcing manager is virtually needed in any fashion brand that incorporates bio-couture. You have the responsibility of investigating and searching for new ingredients that can be used to create clothes but have a low environmental impact. Additionally, these ingredients must also have ethical approaches to obtaining them to reduce unhealthy work environments and appropriate wages.
Another great option is a position in product sustainability. This role focuses on identifying new products that would appeal to consumers that incorporate eco-friendly habits without compromising their values.
Other job options include fashion designer, corporate social responsibility manager, sustainability manager, and trend analysis. Overall, you must be innovative, creative, and have excellent communication and research skills to pursue a career in sustainable fashion.
Sustainability vs. The Future of Fashion Jobs
Fashion sustainability jobs are no longer an option, but a necessity. The world is not a stationary place and it changes gradually over time. This also includes economy, trends, technology, and fashion.
Remember that fashion is still an important powerhouse in a country’s economy. As it bestows countless job opportunities and produces more than billions of dollars in revenues. Since environmental awareness and social impact is the new focal point of the newer and upcoming generations. It is important to hire professionals that understand the mind of the consumer.
They must be able to fight fast fashion and incorporate eco-friendly products that efficiently deliver their brand’s message while protecting the Earth from pollution and further deterioration. For this reason, fashion sustainability jobs are here to stay and for a long time.
The sustainability of the fashion industry might seem improbable right now, but it is not impossible. Since the dawn of time, humans have always found innovative ways to create new ideas and concepts. Fashion is all about new styles, trends, abstract forms, and shapes to appeal to the eye of the consumer.
Thus, you can apply this same practice to transition to eco-friendly habits when buying a new pair of jeans or a shirt. You can also embrace the power of sustainable luxury and support brands that have the same mindset as you. Either way, you must understand that the Earth is in jeopardy and you must do everything in your power to protect it!