Fashion And Sustainability: They Go Hand In Hand
Let's explore how you are the driving force to establish a more sustainable fashion industry.
Consumers are the key to sustainability, especially in the fashion industry.
Ever wondered why and more importantly how that is?
Consumers affect any industry; a widespread change in thinking and behaviour has the ability to turn that particular industry on its head. Where demand is declining, the offer of the market will adapt to new requirements and demands of the consumers. With climate change having an enormous impact on our daily lives , it is about time we all open our eyes and start taking responsibility. All of us need to realize that fashion is also accountable to Mother Earth.
1. The Money Drain
Shoppers, yes you there, have the one and only real purchasing power! Never forget that! If you don’t buy, brands can’t sell!
A recent study by Nielsen reported that up to 66% of buyers were willing to pay quite a bit for sustainable and ethical clothes, sustainable to the environment, that is. This percentage had actually increased from 55%, as recorded in 2014, a good 11% increase in a single year. However, willingness is not the same as actually spending it. So please make sure you put your money where your mouth is!
If we all focus on buying quality rather than quantity or even better buy pre-loved or rent, natural materials rather than synthetic ones and care for our clothes better, this trend will surely continue in the coming years.
2. Get involved!
There are many organizations, campaigns and movies out there that promote supply chain transparency, social empowerment, cleaner material use and many more. Fashion Revolution is known for their "Who made my clothes?" campaign and Fashion For Good, a Dutch initiative to support innovative ideas and make fashion good are just a few examples. Get informed or better still, get involved!
Fashion For Good, currently has a campaign called #GoodFashionResolution where you can share your resolution to become more aware of for the new year. Circle Economy’s Circle Textile Program launched #beyondblahblah to indicate how you move from words to action. Join in and let the world know!
Get inspired by new and innovative materials that are being introduced to the market such as Orange Fibers, a silk-like material made from citrus waste from Sicily, Fruit Leather made from leftover fruit, or Vegea, leather made out of wine. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?
3. Promote Brands That Make Efforts
One sustainable garment can go viral; it all depends on how consumers perceive it and promote it. The greater the hit, the more it will be resold. This will propel other designers towards sustainability.
If you get your hands dirty, the amount of harm the fashion industry does to the environment is appalling! It is up to the consumers to steer the brands in the right direction.
There are plenty of smaller brands that score highly on the sustainability scale but as long as we take the easy route and buy big mainstream labels, nothing will change. I encourage you to do your research and buy preloved, natural and/or socially responsible brands. We are working hard on setting up a trusted list of sources! Sign up and we will keep you posted!
4. All That Glitters Is Not Gold
You and I, being the consumers, should know that any label stating ‘green fabric’ doesn’t actually make it green. A ‘conscious consumer’ doesn’t just accept what is shown. There are a ton of resources, including white papers, which actually show how ‘green’ the garments are.
There are many organizations out there that provide practical tips on figuring out terms like ‘eco-friendly', ‘green', ‘fair', etc. and let you choose only the right one. Check out websites such as Good On You. Also, the Higg Index created by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition offers a great means for companies to test their score and where they can improve their impact.