Everybody today is throwing out the word ‘sustainable’ about everything. But, do we actually comprehend what it means? And what does it mean when we look at sustainable fashion?
Allow me to introduce you to the three main terms used in sustainable fashion, which are all important:
Ethical Fashion – this term is used to describe the human rights in the production of the fabrics and garments.
Examples of this could be; is their equipment safe? Do they get paid fairly? Do they work with harmfull chemicals? Are they insured properly? Do they have an active role in promoting a good development in the local communities? And so on..
Sustainable Fashion – here we are talking about the enviornmental impact of the production.
Do they handle chemicals properly, in order to not polute the surrounding groundwater? How much water is used for production? What about microplastic from the artificially made fabrics?
Slow Fashion – this concerns the production of the actual garment, and is the opposite of fast fashion, which is fashion, produced quickly, cheap and in big quantities, and the brands doing this, often constantly release new collections – in oppose to slow fashion-houses who might just release two collections a year. Often pieces are handmade and of better quality than in fast fashion-houses.
There are also four stages to consider when thinking of fabrics:
1. The origin of the raw material – fx the growing of cotton, where lots of water and pesticides are used – which affects both the local communities, the farmer, flora and fauna.
2. Textile production – fx how many chemicals are used to make plastic feel as soft as real fur?
3. Dyeing, printing, washing and finishing – the designing and making of the garments.
4. Use and reuse – this concerns how it upholds its condition while being used – maybe it releases microplastics while being washed? And how is it able to be recycled properly so it doesn’t end up in the landfill? Is it biodegradable?
So sustainable fashion isn’t just how it affects the surrounding nature. It is all connected to the health of local communities and politics – and politicians should take a much bigger role in preventing western rich companies moving production to the east, where the rules for workconditions are very weak.
This can all be much to consider while shopping – but if it can take a small place in your subconsciousness it is already a big step!