It is refreshing to know that we are finally there: The need for sustainability can’t be argued against. Social and environmental sustainability are as important, if not more, than financial or economic growth and there are few industries in which this is more relevant than in the fashion industry.
Context (Briefly, please..)
Way more is being produced than is actually needed (especially considering most fashion is trend oriented and seasonal)
This results in an overflow of product to a saturated market, makes prices go down and encourages people to buy more than they need and replace their wardrobe more often. Also, in a lot of cases quality has been compromised, so the need to replace more frequently is there whether you like it or not. The problem is: where do your old clothes go? Donating to charity and giving a second use as rags I’d imagine, then cross your fingers that if/when deemed unsuitable for re-sale as pre-loved, it will be recycled. The reality is, most clothes end up in landfill or traveling the world to the most amazing places, where they enter the second hand market and are very well received. Sadly, the local textile and clothing industries are impacted to the point of wipe out. So in the end, just a few very large companies end up dressing the whole world.
Production has been focusing on profitability (which is achieved by reducing costs)
This led to most fashion brands producing in factories based far far away, where work is carried out in conditions that are not being monitored efficiently. Most often than not, this results in unfair wages being paid, unsafe working conditions in the factories and environmental pollution around them. The production chain is normally secretive which makes it hard to hold large fashion brands accountable for their workforce labour conditions and the environmental impact of their production processes.
The good news is..
Around the world a great deal has been happening for quite a long time to address huge global issues, like poverty relief, human rights protection and the safeguarding of fragile natural environments. And, even though it can feel like nothing ever changes and very little is achieved, some really neat initiatives have been developed along the way. Some are still in their early stages but some are already global and making big companies change their ways (think of organic product certification, Fair Trade certification and sustainably sourced certification). Now, more than ever before, sustainable fashion is achievable, and we have many examples to share with you, from ethically sourced and sustainably produced clothing, to brands working with local cooperatives to create alternative income for locals in the Himalayas and South America -more on the sustainable fashion initiatives and sustainable clothing brands on following posts-
Now let’s CHANGE THE WORLD!!
We believe we can do this by truly owning our choices and the impact they have on the world, both the positive and negative ones. No need to feel guilty, just mindful.
Here’s what we mean:
Let’s own our footprint: We have an impact on the world around us, that’s just nature. But we live our lives in a most extraordinary way, nothing like it would've been if we had remained part of nature -instead of becoming the species that ruled the world and made it bend to it's needs and wants-. Let’s enjoy this amazing life but recognize the impact we have on the world, and try to make it easier for it to cope with billions of us living on it. It is time to acknowledge the waste we produce and be part of the solution. Logic dictates we need to generate less waste. Maybe buy clothes that last longer? Maybe favour natural materials because in the end they will decompose easily? Or maybe make sure the fabric is being recycled, and where? It is definitely still a good option to donate, we should repair, up-cycle, re-use, and maybe, dare I say it.. buy less?
Let’s own our choices: You have the bucks and that is your power. If you only bought things that you really truly love; that you stand behind and would gladly recommend to your friends; you would be changing the world with each purchase! (ok, somethings, like toilet paper, you may not love, but you get the gist).
It seems far-fetched but is not. Everyone selling something in the world would be happy to have YOU look at their product, and would give so much (and has, in fact, in paid promotion and advertising) to have you spend your hard earned cash on their product. If they were paying attention - which they should be- and noticed that we are all spending more and more in consciously produced, sustainably sourced, ethical and transparent products, they would do something about it, because they want your cash. I believe, after a long, meandered pilgrimage, after trying many tricks to avoid change, in the end, even the largest companies in the world will either be transformed or perish. Yes I have been called naive, but I do believe this is true, it will just take time.
In the meantime.. we could explore and support initiatives making change happen
There are many enterprises going up against the current and bringing you sustainable alternatives from clothing, fashion accessories and make-up, to toothpaste and cars. Advances in technology are making the green, sustainable choices less scarce and less expensive. We just need to learn about them and hopefully their product specs will be up to our high standards and we’ll happily decide to switch, proud in the knowledge that doing so made a positive impact, socially or environmentally, or both!
Who knows, maybe one day we’ll find a cool, naive independent retailer trying to bring them to us! (yes, I’m being cheeky here, wink)
You made it this far! That means you are amazing :)
Thank you for reading! And, if you did, for sharing! Sharing is caring..