As of recent years the word ‘sustainable’ has grown huge momentum and has been thrown all over the place as the latest buzz word, from being used as a marketing tool to drive sales, to describing farming practices and fashion and retail manufacturing and distribution processes, to name a few. But do we know what it truly means?
In this blog post we shall be diving a little deeper into the word ‘sustainability’ and what it truly means, sustainability in the fashion world, more specifically fast fashion and slow/sustainable fashion and why sustainability is important.
Currently there is no universally agreed upon definition of sustainability, however there are various different viewpoints on this concept and how it can be achieved.
With the present state of our planet sustainability couldn’t be more significant. When one doesn’t truly understand the meaning of sustainability and what it incorporates it is easy to be misguided. Sustainability is more than going vegan to help save the animals, showering once a day to save water, minimising waste by only purchasing what you need, etc. Its about considering both sides of the spectrum, such as recognising that even if you do turn away from fast fashion there is still millions of women and men who rely on this cruel and unlawful industry for an income. Conscious consumerism is hugely important but we also need to take into account the global implications our choices and decisions may have.
According to the World Summit on Social Development there are three pillars to sustainability, namely; economic development, social development and environmental protection. In similar terms and easier way to remember; people, planet and profit. Processes and actions need to be taken by people to avoid the depletion of natural resources and compromising future generations ability to meet their own needs by making sure these three pillars coexist. We need to take into account all three pillars by thinking of sustainability as multidimensional.
The clothing industry is one of the major polluting industries in the world. Worldwide consumers are buying more and more clothes and the growing market for cheap items and new styles is taking a toll on the environment. Fast fashion is the biggest contributor to this whereby clothing is quickly and cheaply made in order to keep up with fashion trends. Fast fashion brands can be characterised by cheap labour with long hours and low pay, unsafe working conditions and operating in countries with lawless environmental regulations.
What can you do to challenge the fashion industry to become more environmentally conscious? What actions can you take to help tackle this global issue?
Sustainable Fashion | Slow Fashion
Sustainable/slow fashion is the opposite of fast fashion. It is also known as ‘eco’, ‘green’, ‘ethical’ or ‘fair trade’ clothing. It aims to minimise the overall environmental damage caused with strict environmental laws, encourages quality production, ethical working conditions, fair pay and adding real value to a product. Sustainable fashion can also aim to minimise waste and implement a closed loop product journey and fostering a 360 degree process.
Sustainable fashion aims to inspire people to buy less stuff by buying better stuff. There is no beauty in a product if it hurts the environment. We believe that one’s wardrobe should be an investment, and that less is more when it comes to your closet. For us, this means buying fewer but better pieces, made to last, by brands you want to support.
The Importance of Sustainability
Many consumers are concerned with and unsatisfied with the long-term damage on the environment and economic stability caused by corporations focusing on short-term profits, and depleting natural resources while polluting the planet at rapid rates. Today, sustainability is often spoken of with regard to climate change, which threatens life as we know it as is being largely caused by industrial practices. It is one of the reasons the majority of companies today incorporate CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) strategies into their business, such as engaging in charitable and volunteer efforts within the local community.
Sustainability is important for a very simple, straightforward reason – we cannot maintain our quality of life as human beings, the diversity of life on Earth, or Earth’s ecosystems unless we embrace it. In order to have a planet we are able to survive on we need clean air, natural resources and a non-toxic environment.
We will run out of fossil fuels. Thousands if not millions of animal species will become extinct. We will run out of wood. All water sources will be polluted and toxic. We will damage the atmosphere beyond repair… If we don’t change. The root of that change lies in an understanding and striving for sustainability—in our own homes, in our decisions and actions, in our communities, in our ecosystems, and around the world.