The world is slowly getting greener. Electric cars are on the uptake, solar panels are becoming the norm, and wind power has taken off (becoming 10% of UK renewable energy source). When it comes to being conscious about our clothes, there seems to be a sense of sustainability. Which leads to the question, what constitutes an item of sustainable clothing? Who is trying to recycle? Is sustainable clothing really sustainable? As many fashion businesses attempt to adopt a more environmentally conscious way of developing garments that do no harm to the environment, are we obliged to keep on doing it?
Given the world is going greener, there is no denying that fashion tech has become the voice of reason. The innovative space addresses things like 5e fashion textiles or products. The constant conversation about sustainability has allowed recycled, reused, and transparency concepts to reach know mainstream consumers. The transition from traditional methods to responsible business is usually rewarded with positive social impact. Fashion houses like Louis Vuitton have taken a significant stake in addressing the whole system of fashion. In 2013, the People Tree brand was the first brand to receive the Ethical Trade Brand. The brand worked with ethical manufacturers, and their textile products were sourced locally, naturally, recyclable materials.
“The biggest hurdle to all this is consumers relationships with fast fashion.”
Sustainable clothing is sustainable as long as the consumer changes the way their view and use the products. The garment will need to be made to be durable. The key will be to adopt the “slow fashion” approach. Garments would be tailored, couture to the consumer needs. This means workers will receive better wages (ethical produced) garments are designed and manufactured at a slower pace, so there is less waste (economic viability). The biggest hurdle to all this is consumers relationships with “fast fashion.” This aspects refer to the mass production of clothing, which is cheap, accessible and essential to note on-trend. The materials are often sourced through a global manufacturers chain and sold worldwide. Stores such as Zara, Primark, H&M etc. incorporate the essence of cheap fashion has brought about the rise of disposable fashion. The cost has been high to the environment, the economy and has defined the consumer relationships with clothing.
It would seem the future of fashion sustainability will require a wide range of systemic change, ranging from government regulation, tax incentives, social changes to push the whole clothing industry towards more sustainable practices and level of consumption. Even the most fashion-conscious person wants to be enchanted and create an emotional bond with their garment. The sustainable fashion must not only foster change to better fashion products, cleaner fashion greater ecological integrity and social justice. The movement also has to produce the sustainers.