We all know why being sustainable is important, but why has it been difficult for some brands and customers to have this eco-friendly approach in fashion? Sustainable in fashion industry means to adopt practices at each stage of garment production and distribution that do not harm the environment in any manner. With the use of organic fabrics such as cotton, hemp, jute, silk, etc., natural dyes, biodegradable and recyclable raw materials rather than chemicals, plastics and other environmentally harmful products, the garment can be tagged as sustainable.
So, when we know that these clothes that are made from organic fabrics that do not cause any harm to the planet and are also categorized as green clothes, then why is it difficult for most of the fashion brands to manufacture and distribute these eco-friendly clothes?
The main reason for many fashion brands to follow unsustainable practices is that most of the customers want trendy clothes at cheaper prices. Many shoppers want clothes in trend at a low cost so that they can discard them after wearing them for few times, then switch on to new trendier clothes again at lower price. The amount of money required to purchase organic textiles and raw materials is much higher than the purchase of synthetic fabrics and plastics. Hence, the cost of the product becomes higher and is displayed with even higher price tag.
Therefore, the sustainable outfits do not come with low price; they are quite costlier due to the organic materials used in them. As they come with a good price tag, customers do not want to discard them when the trend changes nor do they want to wear them because this trend no longer exists. So, most of the customers cannot afford to purchase these costlier clothes with every new trend as the trends change every coming week. This is the one of the primary reasons why many brands tend to stick to the non-sustainable way of manufacturing clothes as it provides stylish fashionable clothes at affordable price to the customers.
This quick change of trends is called fast fashion. Fast fashion leads to wastage of natural resources and energy as the new collection of fast fashion brands comes every week. This leads to unnecessary continuous consumption and wants which is not beneficial for environment.
Sustainable Fashion Brands.
Many brands are in support of practicing sustainable activities in the production of garments. These fashion brands use raw materials that are organic and recyclable in their manufacturing process. The brands who have come forward in this are Levi’s, Puma, Gucci, Stella McCartney, Calvin Klein etc. Indian brands such as Liva, Insom, B Label and many more are completely eco-friendly fashion brands.
However, brands such as H&M are not completely hundred percent sustainable but in some percentage they are. H&M uses around 50 percent of sustainably sourced material in the production and is also in a mission to make these green clothes available at reasonable price.
How we can be Sustainable as consumers?
We all know that garments made with eco-friendly practices are sustainable. But, as consumers what can we do to maintain sustainability? Here comes the list for all the customers who want to go green with fashion.
- Shop from Sustainable Brands- Buy your outfits from sustainable brands and labels. This would be the first step towards sustainability as a shopper. As the environmentally friendly outfits usually come with good price, keep good care of them to be used for longer period.
- Repair or Redesign- When your outfit is torn out or you are bored of its design then don’t discard it, rather get it repaired or redesigned. In this way you will be to use more and more of it.
- Don’t throw but pass on the outfit- When you really want to get away from an outfit in your wardrobe then don’t dump it in trash. Just donate it to a needy one or pass it on to a second hand shop. Until the outfit is wearable and is in good condition, you can also offer it to your siblings, friends or anyone who would be eager to have it.
- Give your torn out clothes for recycling- If your clothes are torn out in a way that they can neither be repaired nor redesigned nor in a position to be given away to someone, then pass them on to a collection point so that they can be recycled. In this way your completely worn-out outfits can be used in production of new garments or in some other textile materials.
- Can Buy Second Hand Outfits- To lower down the production of new clothes, you as a customer can also consider having some clothes on rent, sometimes exchanging or borrowing garments from siblings, friends and relatives for different occasions. You can also buy high quality second hand or vintage clothes. This will not only put a halt to excessive production of garments but also it will be pocket friendly in some ways.
- Buy only when it is required- Because of fast fashion that brings new collection in ever coming week, customers want to have all the new trends in their wardrobe. Also, because of social media likes, they don’t want to repeat the outfit and this is why people are crazy about shopping and posting their pictures in a new outfit with new trend. Today the trend should be sustainable to save the planet, to save nature and too save the healthy life. So, it required to put a stop on unnecessary shopping and to buy when you actually need an outfit
What can Brands be sustainable?
After understanding that what customers can do to promote green fashion, let’s see what brands can do for the same. Here comes the list of some ways that fashion brands can follow to e called sustainable fashion brands.
- Be Organic- Brands can use fabrics and raw materials that are sourced organically from nature instead of harmful chemicals. Also they should use natural dyes can be used for dying fabrics, biodegradable and recyclable materials in the production of the garments. From designing to manufacturing to transportation and distribution of the clothes, sustainable fashion brands should follow eco-friendly measures.
- High Quality and Timeless Designs- Fashion Brands in order to be sustainable should opt for designs that are timeless and evergreen, that do not have any effect of whatsoever the trend is going on they are wearable in all occasions. High quality will ensure the durability of the garment.
- Promote Slow Fashion- As discussed above, fast fashion leads to more and more production and wastage of items. Every new week we see new garments in the stores of fast fashion brands, which is not that necessary. This also leads to exploitation of labour. If we look at traditional way of slow fashion, in which only two collections are launched in the entire year that is spring and autumn collection, leads to no wastage and no needless production and consumption.
Now we understand deeply about the benefits and ways to follow sustainability in fashion. It will be fruitful for all of us if we start following the practices to save our environment from now. We should fulfill our needs but not at the cost of our environment and future generations. The complications will come while implementing the sustainable routine, but with every challenge comes the solution. If many people are following it then why can’t we all? Big fashion brands should come forward with green fashion approach as they are the leaders and have the power, money, resources, worldwide reach and can come up with alternatives to implement the sustainable practices. This will inspire other brands too and slowly all brands and customers will think of eco-friendly clothing.