Why Women’s Fashion Must Become More Sustainable
Who doesn’t love fashion and want to look their best? With the availability of quick, cheap fashion, we lose sight of the bigger picture, and that is the sustainability of fashion. The drive of the fashion industry is to constantly give us a new look that changes with each season. With that in mind, we have looked at why the women’s fashion industry should become more sustainable.
What is Fast Fashion?
Fast Fashion is a term that is frequently used to describe the quick turnaround of garments from the catwalk to the store, often to meet current trends and within seasons. Fast Fashion is that t-shirt that is currently trendy with a crazy logo or a particular style of jeans. It can also cover seasonal colors, such as a dress in this season’s chosen color. Next season, it will be out of fashion and either sent to a thrift store or put out with the garbage.
Behind the Scenes
If you go behind the scenes of the fashion industry, it can be a frantic journey, from initial designs and selection of fabrics to catwalks and fashion shows. The most well-received trends will then be sent to clothing factories, where garment workers, often in poorer countries, turn out this Fast Fashion. Many have poor human rights records and unsafe working conditions. Fashion might look glamorous, but the reality behind the scenes, which has been uncovered by many investigative journalists, often paints a different story.
The Fashion Industry Wall of Shame
- Garment workers are often overworked, underpaid and in poor working conditions.
- Vast amounts of water are needed to prepare fabrics, which is often discharged untreated into local river systems, contributing to pollution.
- Millions of barrels of oil are needed every year just for the production of polyester.
- Landfills are filled with tons of barely-worn clothing every year.
- Washing clothes releases microfibers into the water systems, which lead to our oceans.
Some fashion houses are beginning to highlight the need for more sustainable fashion and turning away from the industry’s Fast Fashion model in an attempt to appeal to their consumers and demonstrate that there is a better way. They are producing sustainable fashion from the beginning of the garment to the end. Garment producers will need to be properly paid for their skilled work and given working conditions that comply with strict health and safety regulations. Then, once garments are no longer required, processes are put in place to enable the consumer to recycle garments ethically. These recycled materials will then be put toward the manufacture of new items.
Tips on How To Maintain a Sustainable Wardrobe
There are many things we can do to support ethical fashion industry leaders who are taking a stance.
- Stop before you buy something. In other words, try not to impulse shop. Ask yourself if you really need that item or are just responding to an ad on TV or a store window display.
- Create a capsule wardrobe of classic styles that will carry you from season to season with one or two additions.
- Save up and buy quality items using high-quality fabrics. These garments will not only last you many years, but you can also be assured that they will have been ethically produced, particularly if you buy from a fashion label that gives you this assurance.
- Buy vintage or from a thrift store. Not only will you save some money, but you will probably be able to find quality garments from top fashion labels.
- Wash your clothes only when necessary and not just because you have worn them for an hour. Every time you wash fabrics, fiber residue goes into the water systems and adds to the pollution of our waterways.
The next time you go out to buy yourself something new to keep up with the latest fashion or decide to throw away a bag of clothing and replace it with new garments, take a moment to consider if you really need that item or are just responding to an impulse to buy something new. By consciously considering your wardrobe and the quality of the clothes you buy, you will not only save yourself some money but will be contributing to the life of the planet, too. Who knew being an Eco-fashionista could feel so good?!