Fashion, or as John Oliver would call it “Personality you can buy”. It now has become an integral part of today’s society. It is not only a representative of one's personality or its local culture but it also connects us together through common global fashion trends, it is accurate to call it a basic need in our daily lifestyle, so much so, that with the progression of time the rate of evolution for fashion trends has increased greatly. For instance, t-shirts that may be considered as trendy now can become outdated in just a few months’ time. These rapid changes usually come together with ecological and social wrongdoings, what is called “fast fashion” leaves behind a trail of “old” fashion commodities that adds to environmental waste, labor costs must be cut down due to cheaper selling prices and polluting pesticides are used to meet the large production goals. These externalities have to lead to an increasing concern about the impact of fast fashion and therefore to the increasing popularity of sustainable fashion and eco-friendly circles, modern societies are already addressing the issue of fossil fuels pollution, genetically modified food or recycling waste, so why not address an aspect as important and recurrent as our clothing environmental impact?
A picture of an employee in our supplier's manufacturing plant in India.
As the name implies, sustainable fashion is a concept that encourages a positive approach to the way we dress. It not only benefits the environment but all the stakeholders involved in the process, including the consumers and manufacturers.
Sustainable fashion focuses on various factors that can help to improve the sustainability of the fashion industry. This includes environmental, social and political factors to name a few. During the manufacturing process of clothes, washing consumes a large amount of water while dumping chemicals (used in the dyeing process) in rivers which results in a great environmental hazard which doesn’t harm only marine life but also humans who consume the contaminated water.
A bag of 100% organic cotton in our supplier's manufacturing plant, India.
Similarly, like natural resources, the human variable involved in the fashion industry is also misused. Workers in developing countries or in countries with limited labor laws are often exploited. Many major brands make use of labor in those countries to save costs allowing such corporations to drastically increase their profit margins as they still charge a premium from their consumers. These are normal practices in what is commonly known as the “fast fashion” model, something which sustainable fashion aims to combat and eventually replace.
What can you do to adopt sustainable fashion?
Amount of clothes thrown by 85 people in a year. Source: planet aid.
At the core of sustainable fashion is the need for reducing. In average the world consumes 80 billion of clothing items per year, most of the times the items are necessary and are often thrown away after a few months. A good way to stop purchasing unnecessary items is the one famous youtube Nas Daily uses. His technique for reducing his purchases is to ask himself if he would be willing to carry this item up to a mountain if the answer is yes, it is very likely a necessary item for him.
Adidas shoes made from recycled plastic bottles
By recycling, we can sustain the rapidly changing fashion trends by re-using existing materials. For instance, some brands have been using plastic from water bottles to manufacture their products like shoes and t-shirts. From the consumer end, they can donate older clothes and fashion accessories to the less privileged people via charity this again minimizes the need to produce more clothes. Thrifting is a good option also, buying second-hand clothes is trendier than ever, now it's the time!
Earth positive Label found in all Wafity clothing.
3. If the need comes to consume, consume ethically
It is winter, your latest hoodie got totally wrecked and you absolutely need a new one… Once you find your dream hoodie, the first thing you should do is to investigate the different labels behind the brand. It should include Fairtrade labels, Organic materials, and manufacturing labels and even a zero-emissions label which ensures that the products were manufactured using solely renewable energy.
4. Spread awareness
Unfortunately, the urgency of the global climate situation doesn’t allow us to limit ourselves to sustainable fashion consumption, we must spread awareness and add more and more people to the ranks. When buying a product from a sustainable brand, we make a statement, a statement which says:
“ I want my clothes to be organic, I want workers to be paid a fair share for me to enjoy their craftsmanship, I want to wear exclusively natural products and any other product not respecting these terms is not welcomed in my closet”
Of course, there is a lot that sustainable fashion can achieve by spreading awareness. For instance, social media campaigns are powerful tools which can be initiated against companies that exploit labor or use pesticides in cotton fields. Companies themselves should boycott those markets that do not treat their labor well and should adjust their prices in order to accommodate the necessary changes. Ultimately, work must be done to have restricting laws against careless activities like unregulated usage of water, subsequent dumping of chemicals in the water supplies and fields. Awareness can also be spread through the products you buy. For instance, Wafity t-shirts are now known for the values they stand for, the aesthetics and logos in every product we have spreads a message of sustainability in fashion, and the urgency to make a change.
5. Aim at zero Co2 Emissions
Ideally, every purchase you make shouldn't produce any Co2 emissions. In order to achieve that, make sure that the company you are buying from has produced a product by using only renewable energy and that it is sourced locally to avoid shipping Co2 emissions. Sometimes sourcing locally is not possible for the brands, it is the case for Wafity, our partner manufacturing plants are in India, but in order to compensate the emissions produced with the international shipping, we plant trees. Indeed, we have calculated and implemented how many trees must be planted to compensate the C02 emitted for every purchase and therefore leveling our Co2 footprint to nearly zero.
At the end of the day, the responsibility falls on all of us to do our part in ensuring a healthy future by participating in eco-friendly initiatives like sustainable fashion.