As a consumer of fashion, I could not be farther away from the process of creating a garment. All the research, design, materials, fabrics, pattern-cutting, sewing and packaging that goes on before a piece reaches my wardrobe, is unknown to me. Sustainable is a word I learned to be aware of and so should you!
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You’ve probably heard about “sustainable” fashion before. It can also be called “slow fashion” and its purpose was to design embracing the more traditional approach to garment making. Minimizing the impact on the environment and treating design with social responsibility. Of course that may sound as an unrelatable babble to you, but I can put it simpler: sustainability in fashion can be viewed as awareness, both from the producer’s point of view and the consumer’s.
There are lots of small independent fashion brands that produce and design very eco-friendly nowadays and it seems larger companies are following in behind. Huge “fast-fashion” manufacturers have started making eco-fashion choices and that’s only because we, as consumers, are making our voice heard.
H&M for example, produces a “Conscious” collection made using recycled clothes brought in by people in exchange for a discount voucher. Some say this is all just dust thrown in our eyes, just so we might ignore the company’s huge environmental impact. I’m not here to deny that, I’m just pointing out the fact that they at least strive to reduce that impact somehow, which is more than many other companies have done. According to Greenpeace, Mango was among the first companies to eliminate the use of PFCs from its production process (eliminate all hazardous chemicals from the whole lifecycle and all production procedures that are associated with the making and using of company products). They also launched a “Committed” collection this year, with carefully chosen fabrics such as organic cotton, recycled polyester, while using eco-friendly dyes.
These companies are just two examples, but you understand what the trend is here! So the question is, how can we make sure that retailers understand what we want? Well, here are some easy steps that I personally take towards making sustainable fashion choices and they are as easy as one-two-three!
I.Choose natural fabrics
No matter where I buy a garment from, I always choose it based on the materials it’s made from. Say I see a gorgeous blouse in the store. The first thing I do is flip it over and look at the label. If I see a couple of weird synthetic fibers there, I simply don’t buy it! It does not even matter how pretty it looks! Try buying clothes made from cotton, wool, mohair, silk or linen.
II.Modify and reuse
Before mass production, people would buy materials from a draper and go to their local tailor to have something made. If it wore out, they would not throw it away, like we probably do today. They would just mend it. Imagine that! Well, yes, I am suggesting the unspeakable. Thread your needle and get to work! Modify your clothes and reuse them.
III.Love your clothes
I have suggested before to not give in to sales and buy something you truly want and love, even if it is a bit more expensive. That way, you will appreciate it more and not throw it away that easily! Regarding a garment as more than just fabric that covers your nakedness can help you to create a sustainable wardrobe and each piece would have a purpose and a value.
I would be glad to hear your opinion on sustainable fashion. Are you aware? Do you make sustainable choices?