Back in the day, clothes consisted of whatever could be pieced together in nature. Now, we have fashion that ranges from simple everyday wear to extravagant couture that could only be worn on a runway. No matter what’s being made, though, it all requires materials. These materials are grown, harvested, weaved, sewn, dyed, and so much more in order to create the pieces we walk around in. As we become more conscious of our environmental impact, we’ve started to realize that the world of fashion has just as many harmful practices as other industries. This has led to a rise in what is called sustainable fashion. Here’s what that means.
1. Sustainable can refer to the materials used.
Part of being “sustainable” means using materials that are easily renewable. Most clothes these days are made from polyester, a non-biodegradable material that goes through a manufacturing process that’s heavy on pollution. Cotton is also used frequently, and many aspects of the agricultural production are not environmentally friendly. Sustainable fashion uses materials that don’t come with these harmful aspects such as hemp, linen, wool, and other natural fibers.
2. It also incorporates better manufacturing methods.
Mass produced fashion contributes like crazy to pollution levels. Toxic chemicals are used as dyes, waste products result from the process, and the amount of energy used is huge. Sustainable fashion aims to create more efficient manufacturing processes and eliminate the use of dyes that have harsh chemicals. This can be achieved partly by moving away from mass production.
3. Sustainable fashion and ethical fashion relate to one another.
Another aspect of sustainable fashion relates less to the environment and more to human rights. Many people are aware of the ethical considerations involved in the manufacturing of clothing. Unsafe work conditions, low wages, and other factors make “ethical fashion” an important consideration. Sustainable fashion is often incorporated into ethical fashion in order to produce an end result that is better for the Earth and humans alike.