The fashion industry is driven by consumer demand and companies are picking up the pace at which they produce products. This competitive pace has led to ‘fast fashion’, going through clothes more frequently and disposing of perfectly good items to replace them with new ones. Consumers end up with closets full of new, barely worn clothes but still find a reason to buy more.
With so much over-consumption happening, sustainability is becoming a focus in the fashion industry. The more that companies take responsibility for their environmental impact and use of resources, the sooner positive changes can be made to production practices. The more consumers become conscious of their role in improving the environment, the sooner they can adopt smarter habits and demands that positively influence sustainable fashion.
What is Sustainable Fashion?
Non-sustainable fashion is made with approximately 97 percent new resources and just three percent recycled resources. The textile industry produces millions of tons of environmental pollution annually and relies on mass amounts of resources like water.
The basis of sustainable fashion is the conservation of natural resources, the low environmental impact of the materials used, reducing the overall carbon footprint, and respect for the economic and labor conditions of the workers. Brands are challenged to adopt a production method that considers both humanity and the environment and create a system that doesn’t leave a negative footprint. Consumers are challenged to think about what is bought and why, to be aware of what philosophies purchases support, and to be honest about whether the purchase is practical and will be put to use.
The Sustainable Umbrella
As a consumer, you have the ability to make socially responsible choices by paying attention to what resources and production practices go into the clothing you want to buy. The hardest thing about becoming a consumer of sustainable fashion is knowing how to find it.
Keep the environmental mantra “reduce, reuse, recycle” in mind. Reducing the amount of clothing you buy reduces the number of resources used by the fashion industry. Reduce the consumption of new resources by buying vintage or second-hand clothes.
Reuse fashion by investing in high-quality pieces that will last for more wears. You could also borrow or rent specialty clothing items that you need for one-time use. Clothes and shoes that have seen better days and don’t have life left can be recycled in textile recycling bins where they will be turned into industrial scraps and reused.
There are several approaches consumers can take toward rethinking their wardrobe:
Clothing Swap: this is a great sustainable practice because all the clothes being traded will be receiving a new life that keeps them out of landfills.
Second-Hand: getting clothes second-hand cuts out the negative environmental impact of production because the clothing already exists.
Slow Fashion: this means being happy with what you have and sticking with it. Fashionistas who like to update their style often may find slow fashion difficult. Do it right by buying quality basic pieces that fit your personal style, will last through washes and wears, and that you can see yourself wearing for a while.
Fair Fashion: consumers should learn what brands strive to uphold the values of ethical fashion by buying from brands who ensure fair wages, fair trade certifications, and good working conditions. Fair wages support eduction and improve the quality of life of workers. Those who have job security enjoy a better work-life balance.
A great place to start with learning about the practices of brands is to read company reviews. Consumers can find out if a company is accredited finding information from a former employee regarding the job’s work environment, and learn more about policies such as free returns and resizing. Agape Diamonds LLC is a great place to purchase a natural diamond or lab created diamond engagement ring. A look at Agape Reviews shows customers enjoy a great experience and wonderful customer service when shopping for jewelry that they can be ethically proud of. The diamond industry is notorious for having complicated sustainability practices, but diamond lovers can still enjoy diamonds by shopping conscientiously.
Vegan and Organic Cotton: Vegan clothing is environmentally friendly by protecting animals from cruel testing and death. Organic cotton is pesticide-free making it better for the health of the environment, wildlife, and farmers.
Together consumers can make the world a better place by consciously thinking about their buying habits and adopting sustainable fashion habits.