Fashion is one of the major industries but it is also the main cause of pollution and overexploitation of natural resources. However, with a minimalist approach on the rise, sustainable fashion (also known as eco-fashion) is now an emerging concept that not only fulfils the needs of those looking for trendy clothing, footwear, and accessories but also ensure that the processes involved in the production of articles leave no negative impacts on social and environmental wellbeing. Several clothing brands in the United Kingdom have declared themselves as sustainable and are championing the idea of ethical clothing by adopting a sustainable supply chain. But, let’s dig deeper into why sustainable clothing is important?
1. Reduces the Environmental Cost of Fast Fashion
Fast fashion comes with a high cost for the environment. It is responsible for 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions. The waste from the fashion industry pollutes the air and water. Dumping in the oceans puts aquatic life in danger. On a serious note, the fashion industry does more bad than good for the environment. When adopting sustainable clothing, you make an eco-conscious choice for a planet where people and nature can thrive.
2. Saves Natural Resources
There is a need to change the production strategies in the fashion industry. A study done in 2015 shows that only 3% of material is being recycled while 97% of new resources are used in the cloth-making process. Sustainable clothing industries follow the concept of 5R’s (Reduce, Repair, Recycle, Repurpose and Reinvent) to make their processes efficient, less cost-intensive, and with a little requirement of virgin raw material. This helps in resource conservation and improving the brand image.
3. Choose Quality Over Quantity
Sustainable clothing brands use sustainably harvested bio-based materials such as bamboo, cork, etc. for their product line and reduce the consumption of synthetic materials. This will also help you save up your money. For example, several clothing brands in the United Kingdom promote handmade products. They use plant-dyed fibres and organic products. They follow organic agriculture techniques which do not make use of genetically modified organisms (GMO). In addition, they have banned the usage of insecticides and pesticides, respecting the environment and workers.
4. Improves Workforce Standards
Harsh chemicals used during production cause diseases among workers and sometimes result in birth defects among children who are involved in child labour for on-field work. Fast fashion has kept the prices low at the cost of low pay and conditions in developing countries. These companies do not provide a conducive working environment in factories to the labourers. By switching to ethical clothing, you will be sure that the money you are spending won’t make any life suffer. So while you are out shopping, opt for sustainable and ethical clothing brands that treat their workforce respectfully and provide them with the required support.
5. Eliminates Animals Sufferings
It is a common misconception that the leather industry only uses the by-product of the meat industry. The industry kills about 430 million animals in one year. Sustainable clothing brands keep the wellbeing of animals at a high priority and ensure that animal cruelty is not involved in any of their processes. Sustainable fashion brands have adopted alternatives such as making fabric from the leaves of pineapple, recreating bags from recycled seat belts, and producing plant-based compostable sneakers.
6. Reduces Water Consumption
Water is required in higher quantities than any other resource in the fashion industry as it is used at all stages; cotton cultivation, fabric preparation, processing, dyeing, and final product making.
Around 2700 litres of water is used in the production of cotton that is used in making one t-shirt. Conventional cotton production requires more water than organic cotton. Sadly, only 1% of cotton is produced from organic methods worldwide. Other sustainable fabrics like linen, recycled cotton and hemp use little water during production.
By choosing clothes made out of organic cotton or sustainable production methods, you not only minimise water and carbon footprint but also help leave a livable planet for future generations.
Introducing sustainable fashion and educating people regarding ethical clothing is important for the sake of the planet’s sustainability. Consumers always have a choice to opt for what they feel attracted to and what is accessible to them. But, it is the responsibility of the brands that they produce and promote quality products that do not pose harm to nature and humans. If provided with the right options, the customers will be more inclined towards selecting a sustainable option. Choose the planet over profit!