Hi Guys! Today we have a guest post by the ever so lovely Teresa from Outlandish Blog where she writes about sustainable fashion and extraordinary travel. If you’d like to read what I wrote about Carbon Offsetting on her blog, then you can find it here!
It’s a fab post so I won’t keep you any longer, enjoy!
Why You Should Shop Sustainably
Sustainable fashion was a term on everybody’s lips in 2019. Even if it’s not exactly a new phenomena, for many brands, the new way of consuming fashion was foreign territory.
But it’s a new decade now and with both, Amazon AND Australia on fire, there’s no denying that our current way of consuming needs to change. The core of the problem is the capitalist system that we all live under and while changing takes decades, we can all still make a difference today.
I know what you’re thinking: “I’m just one out of 7 billion, what difference could I make?” And I feel ya! But I’d encourage you to take a wider look around. When a bigger and bigger portion of that 7 billion (especially the richest portion of that 7 billion, us!) take action, it has an effect which resonates.
From there we can nicely move on to the point of this post: The fashion industry is one of the TOP 2 most polluting industries on the planet, right behind the oil industry. Here are some numbers for you:
- The UK has the highest consumption of new fast fashion clothing per year: 26,7kg per person.
- 235 million items of clothing sent to landfill last year alone.
- 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon emissions produced by global fashion industry per year.
- The main fabric (65%) used in clothing today is polyester, which is a synthetically manufactured fabric (made out of oil).
These are huge numbers and are rather scary. However, they can be brought down quicklyif we learn to shop and see fashion differently.
“But sustainable fashion is more expensive and I don’t know any brands” I hear you say. Well, the brand problem is easily fixed by just having a wee search on Google. The price point won’t be an issue when you learn to see it from a 2020 perspective, not the one that the fast fashion brands want you to see. There is also second-hand shopping. This is a great way to find new treasures at lower prices and elongate the life of a product!
4 Reasons Why Sustainable Fashion Is So Important
Production is both ethical and ecological
Sustainable fashion brands often produce locally and utilize artisan handcrafts. This, of course, means that production is much slower but if you think about it, we’ll never be able to shop absolutely everything we’re offered today. Think about H&M; you must know that 70% of all the stuff in the store will end up in the skip.
Even if production isn’t local, sustainable brands take pride in being transparent about their employees and how they’re treated. A sustainable brand that doesn’t provide its workers safety, holidays and a sufficient salary is not a sustainable brand. Thus, we can forget about H&M’s “conscious collection”.
The core of any sustainable fashion brand is to minimize the amount of waste and to make all operations as eco-friendly as possible. This can mean producing energy to factories with renewables, providing employees with bicycles instead of petrol money and using all of the fabric available, for example by making jewellery or other small products.
Higher quality and timeless design
In the past there were 2 fashion seasons per year. Today that number is 52. This is indefensible and shows nothing but greed.
Sustainable fashion brands try to tackle this enormous waste problem by creating clothes and accessories that are always ‘on trend’. Classic shapes and colour schemes that are easy to dress up or down and mix and match. There’s also a lot of brainstorming going on in the industry around how to do fashion shows sustainably.
Another thing is quality ,which fast fashion has nothing to do with. If you invest in a sustainable garment then it will last. And even if there are breakages, many sustainable brands offer fixing services so that you don’t need to add that garment to the 235 million items tossed each year.
Repair, redesign and reuse
Which brings us nicely to the point that makes sustainable fashion the thing of today and the future (because fast fashion can’t be future in any shape or form). Repairing, redesigning and reusing clothes.
For example, if the handbag that you bought from a sustainable brand breaks, you can send it back to them and they either repair it. You’ll get it back as new, or they reuse the material to make a whole new bag.
One of the big reasons behind fast fashion’s popularity is this weird culture of not wearing the same item multiple times. But what if instead of tossing the product after an average of 7 wears, you just restyle it? With belts, scarves, shoes, jewellery or even something as simple as make-up or hairstyle, you can give a new lease of life to an outfit.
Fast Fashion isn’t cheap
You may think that you’re saving a lot buying super cheap clothes but I’m sure you’re aware of the saying: “What goes around, comes around“. You’ll pay the price for fast fashion eventually…In fact, we’re paying it right now.
At the end of the day, what is the cost of a human life? Is it really £5? Surely none of us are that cold-hearted? But that’s what fast fashion is and for us to be able to get £5 T-shirts, someone somewhere has to suffer.
According to Fairtrade, 1 in 6 people on the planet work in the clothing industry with a wage of $2 a day. 80% of them are women. So, there’s an even more serious question here: can you be a feminist if you support this exploiting industry by buying fast fashion? But that’s a discussion for another time.
At the moment we tend to think of fashion as something relatively insignificant. Shopping is just a way of lifting one’s spirit after a crap day at work. But it’s not insignificant, is it? With entire countries burning and crazy weather becoming the new normal, the effect of this sort of thinking is quite palpable.
What fashion should be, instead of easy and fast, is empowering and fulfilling. When you invest in a sustainably produced product, it’s like investing in a luxury piece. It is luxury. Because it was made to last, just like those £2K handbags.
We are all worth investing in, and that’s how we should look at fashion. It’s been studied that our feeling of fulfillment increases when we make mindful and sustainable purchases. And if feeling good overall isn’t reason enough to think twice next time you’re about to enter H&M, I don’t know what is.