The first time I seriously explored the idea of ‘sustainable fashion’ was for a writing assignment for a new fashion brand in the UK.
Although familiar with the term, I wasn’t too fond of the idea because the few sustainable fashion brands at the time were insanely expensive and the styles didn’t appeal to me. My impression of sustainable fashion was dull-colored clothing with absurdly high price tags.
However, my research on the subject was an eye-opener in the truest sense.
As I dove into the subject as part of my writing research, my fascination for the sustainable fashion initiative grew by leaps and bounds. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that sustainability, style, and affordability can go hand-in-hand; it was just a matter of finding the right options for your preference and taste!
Needless to say, it motivated me to revisit my fashion choices for both personal and planetary purposes.
I genuinely wish more people would realize the benefits of sustainable fashion, and this post is an attempt to urge you to give it some thought.
Hear me out, and hopefully, you will also find it an exciting and promising fashion choice.
Why sustainable fashion?
We often talk about deforestation, fuel burning, and factory waste. However, we neglect the fury our fashion choices unleash on our planet.
Have you ever given serious thought to where your clothes come from? Or what happens to them when you discard them?
It deserves serious thought for more 1 million tonnes of textiles end up in landfill every year, where they take decades to disintegrate and disappear.
Fast fashion is the bane of our generation!
Just look around—YouTube is flooded with clothing haul videos, trends change by the minute, and fashion sale alerts pop up on your media feeds every hour.
These factors tempt and pressurize us to update our wardrobes and stay current.
Consequently, hundreds of discarded clothes end up in landfills, where they spend years polluting soil and water.
Sadly, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Dig deep into the origins of affordable, fashionable clothes, and you will be horrified by the tales of child labor and unfair wage practices linked to them.
By buying these clothes, you unknowingly promote a vicious cycle of exploitation in the name of fashion.
For these things to change, a collective shift in mindset is necessary.
This is exactly why sustainable fashion matters!
So, what is sustainable fashion?
Sustainable fashion is a movement aimed at producing and using apparel that does not harm the environment or communities linked to it. It is good for the planet and its people.
Realizing 100% sustainability in fashion is very ambitious and perhaps far-fetched because it is impossible to make garments with zero impact. Even organic cotton is not 100% sustainable.
But mustn’t we must start somewhere?
Fortunately, there are sustainable brands that have embraced this difficult yet noble ethos. They follow environment-friendly manufacturing methods and ethical practices to create garments with a low environmental footprint. They also focus on minimizing energy usage and using eco-friendly fabrics and dyes, and ethical labor practices.
Sustainable fashion initiatives make conscious efforts, one step at a time, to minimize their environmental and social impact. It is this thought that counts.
But what is in it for me?
When the idea of embracing sustainable fashion first presented itself, there was one nagging question in my mind—Is it worth spending a fortune on sustainable fashion choices when there are easier and more budget-friendly options?
Well, the benefits are three-fold.
Firstly, eco-friendly is also skin-friendly
Do you worry about artificial food colors and preservatives, parabens, sulfates, and other synthetic ingredients in your skin and hair care products?
Then, why aren’t you concerned about wearing clothes with synthetic dyes and fibers that are not skin-friendly?
Organic clothes made of eco-friendly fabrics feel better on the skin. They are not doused with chemical colors, softening agents, and color stabilizers that trigger allergic reactions. They use natural plant-based dyes that are skin-friendly. These fabrics allow your skin to breathe.
Secondly, sustainable clothing is cheap in the long run
Wait, didn’t I just say that sustainable clothes are costly?
True, they are more expensive than the stuff you find in mass retail stores, but they are built to last. Their superior quality justifies their price.
From a cost-per-wear perspective, buying cheap clothes every few months will eventually burn a hole in your pocket, because they seldom last more than a season.
Meanwhile, you will enjoy wearing sustainable clothes for a very long time.
Finally, sustainable clothing has a unique style statement
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Step away from the mirror once in a while, and be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else.”
Have you ever worn an outfit to an event only to find at least three more people wearing the exact same dress? Well, it is a deal-breaker for me.
Time has taught me that owning a few pieces that I truly love is better than having a lot of clothes that I am not too fond of. This realization helps me avoid impulse buying and encourages me to make informed shopping decisions.
Eco-friendly, sustainable clothing does not conform to trends. It has genuine timeless quality.
With a little effort, you can find brands that match your values and style. Use it to create your personalized and elegant style statement, and the investment will be worth it.
So, where do I start?
Embracing sustainable fashion is not too complicated.
My mantra is “buy less, but buy the best.” Every time I shop, I ask myself if I will wear an outfit at least twenty times. If not, it is not worth buying.
Another important factor is to read the label carefully. Greenwashing is a trend, with brands callously throwing around words like eco-friendly, green, and organic.
Read the label in detail to understand the ethos of a brand and their commitment to quality to evaluate if they indeed walk the talk.
I also believe in the power of shopping locally. Not only is it deeply satisfying, but it also helps me find ethical fabric sources and directly participate in the construction of a garment. It ensures I get quality handmade products that trump over mass-retail items in any circumstance.
Finally, taking good care of the clothes I own, ensuring that they last longer, and donating those I no longer use helps me minimize the impact of my previous purchases. Like I said, baby steps to reach the goal!
To wrap it up…
When you connect fashion to the people behind it and the environment, the impact of your choices can be mind-blowing.
Indigenous brands are doing a fantastic job in making sustainability feasible and fashionable. They are bent on making a difference but need your support.
Embrace this change, keep your eyes open, and start being sustainably stylish–it will be the best thing you do for yourself and the planet!