While I know this is a pretty heavy subject for a Friday- it’s one that continues to become more relevant with both designers and news outlets. I am honestly still learning about the subject, but I wanted to at least get the definition, statistics, and next steps in front of you. So here we go…
Sustainable Fashion (and/or Eco Fashion) is a growing trend among top designers to create a manufacturing system and product line that positively impacts the environment. One that can be supported indefinitely to decrease pollution and the negative impact fashion has on the planet.
Now some of you may be thinking “what are you talking about?” Well, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans toss 14 million tons of clothing (or 80 pounds per person, per year) into landfills or incinerators. And for reference, that number has actually doubled from what it was twenty year ago. But here's the biggest problem- the majority of those garments are actually toxic due to the chemicals, dye, bleach, etc. within them, which is why the environment is seeing a large increase in air pollution. In addition, the majority of clothing being thrown away will not biodegrade for hundreds (or thousands) of years, which is why fashion companies are working tirelessly to design smarter, and utilize recycled materials from customers.
So how can each one of us make a small impact and be more socially responsible?
Being aware/ conscious of how much we buy and throw away is a great start. I am somewhat of a clothing hoarder, but after reading as much as I have, I will definitely be more mindful of the choices I make.
Before you donate to Goodwill, see if there are any recycling specific locations. Some examples are Madewell (for denim), H&M stores, and Planet Aid bins. It’s worth a quick google search, I promise.
Shop for clothing that will last- through more classic silhouettes and higher quality. Yes, it’s definitely a bit pricier, but you keep those styles on closet rotation a lot longer.
Prioritize natural fabrics such as cotton, wool, and silk. I know that sounds easier said than done, but I recently learned that polyester, nylon, and acrylic can take up to 1000 years to decompose.
Lastly, take note of the brands leading the charge on eco-friendly products. Levi’s, Eileen Fisher, and Patagonia are just a few that have made headlines recently.
The above info is just the beginning. There are countless articles and blog posts worth reading if you have the time. I wanted to at least fill you on the subject, just to make us all a bit more conscious as we shop and donate on a regular basis.
A huge thank you to the brands and new entrepreneurs who are leading the charge for change. I am in awe of how many independent designers are focused on this issue and I hope it continues to make headlines. I look forward to keeping up with you and your latest impact on our world.