In an ever-growing fashion industry where fast fashion is increasing its pace, sustainability is the need of the hour. We have heard or used the term sustainable fashion at some point, but what does it mean?
The fashion industry is the second-largest polluter in the world and accounts for over 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, keeping this in mind there is an active need to spread awareness about green fashion practices amongst people. Sustainable fashion in simple words is adopting processes like designing, manufacturing, and distributing that are environmentally friendly.
Fashion has detrimental effects on our planet as it uses up a large chunk of non-renewable resources and massive amounts of water and energy.
Do you know? A pair of jeans takes a whopping 1800 gallons of water to be produced and a t-shirt takes 400 gallons.
WHY FASHION IS NOT SUSTAINABLE IN TODAY’S DAY AND AGE?
Fast fashion is a dominant vicious cycle where clothes are being produced using cheap quality material at a very fast rate for them to be sold at low prices. Many consumers wear an outfit a few times and dispose of them leading to more waste in the landfills and more toxins in the environment. Many designers come up with new collections every few weeks which leads to unnecessary consumption.
Source: Jakarta Vegan Guide
HOW CAN ADAPT TO SUSTAINABLE FASHION?
There are numerous ways in which we can switch to having an eco-conscious and sustainable wardrobe.
Thrifting is a sustainable alternative for consumers to shop which eliminates dumping of unused and unsold clothes. Thrifting is shopping for pre-owned or second-hand goods and accessories from a thrift store. Thrift stores offer many advantages like wide variety, durability which encourage a customer to shop from these stores instead of making retail therapy their drug. If you want to make a sustainable choice for the environment and also shop for amazing pieces of clothing for average rates, thrifting is a great option.
E-commerce websites and social media have also become marketplaces for these stores to sell their products and gain a wide consumer base. Many thrift stores reach customers through social media like Instagram and Facebook and announce their collections and prices of different products on their page. As opposed to fast fashion, online thrift stores are offering an array of products at affordable prices to their customers, this is becoming a growing trend in India.
The pandemic also changed the way people shopped and has imposed restrictions on going to stores and physically shopping, due to this there has been a massive rise in thrift stores. The rising harmful social, economic, and environmental impacts of fashion have led us to follow a path of sustainable fashion.
Renting clothes which are needed for a particular time or occasion instead of buying new clothes is another alternative to reduce fashion waste. This allows customers to wear branded outfits from high fashion brands and save on the cost of buying new outfits. Moreover, social media has placed an increased pressure to not wear the same outfit twice, this mentality has extensively increased the waste in landfills.
An average consumer throws away 70 pounds (31.75 kilograms) of clothing per year.
Most of the clothing items are made of fabrics, fibers, and materials that are not biodegradable and contain harmful chemicals and dyes, and take years and years to decompose, especially fabrics like polyester, acrylic, rayon, and nylon. Transporting the clothing from the producer to consumer is a long chain and contributes to increasing carbon footprint.
Approximately a truck of garbage of clothes is sent to landfills and burnt every second.
The first step is to embrace slow fashion and buying ‘quality over quantity is an important aspect, select clothing which is essential, matches your purpose and is made of sustainable material, and is durable. Firstly, wearing the outfits purchased until it is used properly is essential. Using clothing correctly that is taking proper care and following the washing instructions carefully helps increase the product's life span. Once you want to dispose of the clothes, do not throw them away rather donate them for good causes there are many options for reselling like online thrift stores, e-commerce websites, and market places or a consignment store can also sell them for you.
Source: Mama Lusco blogspot
Upcycling is another unique way to reuse your clothing. Upcycling is mainly using old pieces of clothing and fabric remnants of garments to make new items. It is a way of transforming old outfits into new trendy outfits using different techniques and methods. Many DIY clothing projects give us ideas and ways to create fashionable and creative clothing of greater value from any used materials, fabrics, and garments. It gives a new look and life to the existing clothing. Upcycling is a creative process and takes time and effort, but it has a huge positive impact on the environment as it takes less energy than recycling clothing.
Any piece of clothing can be upcycled to a more versatile product.
Any garment that cannot be reused or upcycled then can be recycled. Once you have decided that you cannot use a garment due to any reason, What do you do with it?
Once the garments are no longer in usable condition or are stained unwearable or cannot be donated or reused, recycling comes into play.
The foremost thing is to find a store or a recycling facility near your area where you can drop off your clothes for recycling.
What happens in recycling?
Clothing recycling is a part of textile recycling. The first step is sorting the clothes into the ones that are in good condition or can be reused and the ones that cannot be reused, they are mainly sorted into REUSE, RAGS, AND FIBRES. The experts in recycling agencies then sort out various materials and segregate the different grades of materials. Then the clothing is reduced to fibrous material, cleaned, spun, re-dyed, and used for other production purposes like mattresses and cleaning cloths. Every material is recycled differently (like polyester is recycled differently than cotton) and as the textile industry is growing, new challenges are posted every day and new ways are explored to maximize the value of recycling.
BUY RECYCLED CLOTHING:
Purchasing recycled clothing is another great option. Many stores like HM offer recycled clothing that is made of recycled cotton, polyester, and other materials. Nowadays every clothing item is available which is made from recycled items, be it sportswear, footwear, and basics.
To conclude, Fashion is a fast-moving industry and due to the increasing population and fast fashion the clothing produced is massive and there is huge waste going to landfills and harming our Mother Earth. As a responsible customer, each choice you make matters, so switch to slow and sustainable fashion which is beneficial to both the environment and the individual. Look for greener and more sustainable materials in clothing. Make a good investment in affordable, sustainable clothing brands.