Many fashion conscientious entrepreneurs have worked tirelessly to find a sustainable solution for the industry's carbon footprint. And sadly, some big brands do not take the efforts necessary to help reduce the waste they put into the ecosystem. Luckily, more and more local designers are doing their part to go green.
To some people, sustainable solutions may not seem like a big deal, but we only get one Earth. We aren't in a dress reversal here, folks. If we hurt Mother Earth too much, she's going to call it quits. So, designers and labels need to pitch in and help.
Below are the reasons why the fashion industry should be taking sustainable fashion more seriously. There’s no question it is essential.
What is Sustainable Fashion?
First things first. It is vital to know precisely what sustainable fashion is. Sustainable fashion can best be described as a fashion movement towards better ecological integrity and social justice. It deals with issues in the environmental, financial, social, and cultural systems that span the globe.
People all over the world are starting to become much more aware of where their clothes come from. But, it is still not an issue that is talked about enough.
For sustainable fashion to become widespread, people everywhere need to learn what is wrong with the current fashion industry's unethical ways of doing things.
Examples of Unethical Practices
Sustainable fashion activists are pushing for better treatment in the clothing production process. It’s a mix of working situations, the payment of workers, and the toll the industry takes on the environment.
The first issue that these activists are trying to put an end to is fast fashion. Fast fashion involves retailers taking ideas from larger brands and current trends to create a style as quickly as possible. The problem is large brands often employ unethical work practices for the people making their clothing.
Workers typically have to work long hours without breaks, and they get paid minimal wages. Many name brands use fast fashion, and slave labor to mass produce their products for a low price. Then, they sell it at a much higher price. Some brands that have been exposed for using these practices include Nike, Louis Vuitton, and Gap.
Another large issue that sustainable fashion is trying to tackle is ecological integrity. Companies misuse large amounts of clothing each year, which leads to excessive pollution and landfill waste.
How Much Damage do These Unethical Practices Cause?
Photo by [Ohio Ocean Foundation]
You may be wondering how far these issues are going, and how much harm these unethical practices are causing. One garbage truck filled with textiles is dumped in landfills or burned each second. That means that in the time it took for you to read that sentence, about seven garbage trucks full of textiles and clothing went to waste.
To add to that, less than 30% of clothing goes to donation centers. However, the world is filled with landfills stocked with clothes that could be second-hand worn. Clothing also takes decades to degrade, which emits excessive toxic gases into the atmosphere.
The fashion industry is responsible for 20% of the world's water waste and 10% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Clothing is made with more toxic chemicals than most people are aware of. The potency means workers that spend hours on top of hours every day making these clothes for low prices often end up with different sicknesses and cancers due to high exposure to toxins.
How to Reduce Your Fashion Footprint?
Photo by [ kroc ]
It is okay if you feel a little guilty right now for throwing away that old sweatshirt last week. You just need to know what methods are better for the environment moving forward. It all starts when you are shopping. If you are about to buy an article of clothing, think to yourself about how many times you will wear it.
There are exceptions, like prom and wedding dresses. An everyday clothing item should be worn way more than once. If you can't see yourself wearing it often, do not buy it.
Once you reach the point that you do not like the clothing piece anymore, there are different things to with it. Don't merely throw it in the garbage and let nature do the rest. If the piece of clothing is still in good condition, you can sell it on online retailers or donate it to a local Goodwill or thrift store.
Contributing to a nonprofit also gives you a tax deduction, so you get to save some money while saving the Earth. If you have a crafty side, you can upcycle your old clothing. Sometimes all a piece of clothing needs is a touch of something a little more modern to make it attractive to you again, and you get to wear a unique piece of clothing made specially by you.
Why Should You Buy Sustainable Fashion?
At this point, you are likely convinced that sustainable fashion makes sense. However, if you are not entirely convinced of it yet, there are a few perks to sustainable fashion that do not have anything to do with unethical fashion practices.
To start, sustainable clothing has a much higher level of quality in its fabric. Sustainable clothing is made to last so it can continuously be recycled or upcycled into something new, so you will automatically notice the quality in your ethical fashion purchases are far superior to anything else you have owned.
Sustainable fashion also tends to be more breathable, leaving you with more comfort than you have experienced in your other clothes. You also get to feel proud of yourself for doing a favor for the environment and will be able to live without the guilt that your entire outfit was made by someone that got paid 10 cents to make it in a hot and sweaty factory for 18 hours a day.