Sustainable Fashion: Introduction
Today I wanted to talk about something that I love, yet have never really shared on here.
As some of you may know, I studied at London College of Fashion, and throughout my masters degree (which I am finishing at the end of the year yay) I have been focusing quite a lot on sustainability. For those of you who have never heard the term, sustainability means finding solutions for the present while keeping the future generations in mind and making sure that they will be able to live a good life. This is very basically summarized but I hope it still makes sense! Three main aspects are often cited when it comes to sustainability: environmental, social, and economical.
Now, fashion being not only the second most polluting industry in the world, but also a very ethically questionnable one when it comes to the social aspect of the production chain, you can see why sustainable fashion is becoming quite crucial and why it is important to be educated about it. I am by no means an expert and I wanted to keep this article rather short and easy to grasp, but please do let me know if you’d like me to go into more details in the future of if there is a specific aspect of sustainability you’d like me to address on here. I’ll also leave a few references at the end of the article so that you can do your own research.
Here are a few simple ways to be more sustainable when it comes to fashion and your own shopping habits. Please also note that I am in no way perfect (far from that, and I am well aware that through my job as a content creator I often encourage overconsumption) and absolutely not trying to be condescending about this – I’m rather sharing a few thoughts and raising awareness around the issue.
I also believe that it is unrealistic to think that anyone would be able to go 100% sustainable overnight – the idea is just to learn about this, and keep it in mind whenever we’re shopping so that over time our wardrobes and our lives can become more ethical.
Buy less, buy better
One of the main issues of our time when it comes to fashion, is fast or high street fashion. The prices in fast fashion are constantly lowered, which gradually makes us perceive our clothes as disposable. If you paid 5 bucks for a top, you’re much more likely to throw it away after a few wears than if you paid, say, 50 bucks for it. Not to mention the fact that the quality is usually worse the cheaper the item is (although this is not an absolute truth) Big names of the fast fashion sector (think Primark) are always trying to lower their prices, putting more pressure on the people who produce the clothes while simultaneously pushing us to consume always more. Fast fashion has become so cheap we don’t think about what we purchase, we just buy and buy and buy and accumulate all of these garments that we don’t love that much in our wardrobes, only to throw them away during our next clear out. I’m not going to get into too much detail about this today, but even if you give your discarded clothes to charity, more often than not you are contributing to a global problem rather than helping people in need.
So instead of buying dozens of poorly made, cheap clothes every year, you can try to buy less, better quality items. Make sure everything you purchase is something you really love and will be wearing for years. Try to buy from ethical brands, or brands that you love and identify with. Picture the new garment with a few things you already own to make sure you will be able to style it in a few different ways that suits you.
You can also research capsule wardrobes if you are interested in this, I’m personally not there yet but I think the approach is quite interesting! I think this article is a good starting point if this is something you are curious about :)
Thankfully, there are more and more designers who are aware of the issues the industry is facing, and who make sure they are not part of the problem. A few of my favourite sustainable / ethical brands are:
- Christy Dawn
- Stella McCartney
- Acne Studios
- Matt & Nat
- Two Thirds
- Numéro Sept
My friend Maddie, who runs the blog Daria Daria also shared an extensive list of sustainable brands – you can find it here.
Upcycle / vintage / second hand
Finally, the easiest and most accessible way to be more sustainable with your wardrobe is vintage, or second hand clothing. While sustainable brands are doing an amazing job at pushing the fashion industry in the right direction, good quality materials and an ethical production chain are costly and as a result, their products are often on the pricier side of the market.
I am very aware that this is not accessible for everyone, and I know that many people feel like they do not have the budget to wear sustainable clothes. The first thing to keep in mind is that if you stop buying fast fashion and buy less items overall over the course of a few months, you can therefore have a larger budget to buy one or maybe two quality pieces that will also last longer. That being said, a more affordable solution is to shop from second hand or vintage stores. This is the most efficient way to reduce your impact on the planet, as you will be re-using already existing garments rather than purchasing newly produced ones, and the cost can be very low. The only downside is that it can take quite a lot of time to hunt for that perfect piece that you will cherish for years.
I hope that this was a good introduction guys! Thank you for reading and please do not hesitate to message me should you have any questions or comments ♥
To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out The World? by Lucy Siegle
The Sustainable Fashion Handbook by Sandy Black
The True Cost (documentary available on Netflix)
Centre for Sustainable Fashion
How to Start A Capsule Wardrobe – The Anna Edit
Link List – DariaDaria.com