The fashion industry exacts a heavy toll on the environment and so the time to become informed about ethical and sustainable fashion is now.
How to get involved in ethical and sustainable fashion
Prior to getting involved in ethical and sustainable fashion, it might be a good idea to first know what it entails. Clothes are imperative items, up there with toilet paper and tooth brushes. Regrettably the fashion industry comes in at second place after petroleum for the most polluting industry. Fashion’s environmental damage is the result of fabrics, dyes, factory waste and extremely high volumes of water usage. By “sustainable fashion” the implication is to protect the earth by making more informed and environmentally conscious choices in both clothing production and purchasing. While we can’t all make clothes, we can all certainly make better choices around purchasing choices. Here are some helpful tips that can help you to make more sustainable choices when it comes to fashion.
Opt for eco-friendly brands
Reduced water usage, less materials and alternative earth-friendly textiles all contribute towards making clothing eco-friendly. Good deeds beget more good deeds and in the world of eco-friendly fashion there are big names using the proceeds of their environmental endeavours to further their causes. For instance, Amour Vert plants a tree each time someone buys one of their t-shirts while while Stella McCartney only uses cruelty-free products in the production of her fashion items. Zuri’s fashion endeavours in Kenya includes sourcing locally and paying fair wages. There are even eco-friendly clothing rental stores. This means you can invest in ethical fashion brands by renting the garments instead of buying them and in the process, lowering your carbon footprint.
Steer clear of fast fashion
Fast fashion. It looks great, is incredibly affordable and has a handful of decent outings in it. This type of trendy inexpensive clothing disguises it’s environmental impact by way of its looks. It shows you one thing while it does another. Due to the fact that these items get churned out by the millions on a daily basis, the water that gets dispensed is in the trillions of litres annually. To put it into perspective, the amount of water used annually in fast fashion is enough to fill 2 million Olympic-sized swimming pools – and that’s just for the dying process. The fast fashion industry is not going to let up any time soon, and the only way it can be slowed is if consumers start making sustainable fashion choices.
Understand the environmental impact
According to the World Resource Centre, the average amount of water consumed by one person for the duration of one year is the same amount of water used to produce one t-shirt. Cotton isn’t called the thirsty crop for nothing and it’s one of the biggest contributors to the fashion industry accounting for almost 35% of all fibres used in all clothing. Ethical fashion is making inroads though reduced water consumption and swopping out materials like cotton in exchange for recycled textiles and wool.
Cut down on your clothing waste
The key takeaway here is to buy smarter, buy less, and reduce clothing waste. Due to the extreme consumer habits surrounding the purchasing of clothing items, the general trend is to buy a lot at a time. In fact, current buying habits have led to 3.6 billion items of clothing being left unworn. Clothing waste is a very real and harmful act upon the environment. Not only does the production of clothing afflict the planet, but so does its afterlife by way of all the dyes, bleach and chemicals.