The term “sustainability” in fashion has continued to gain traction over the years, mainly to help address the problem of global warming. The statistics are staggering–the fashion industry accounts for four to 10% of global warming each year. So let's dive into what affordable “sustainable clothing” really means, and how we can achieve it.
Sustainable fashion refers to a method of creating and consuming clothing in a way that's friendly to both the environment and factory workers–this is achieved through reducing carbon dioxide emissions, waste, pollution, along with ensuring optimal working conditions in factories, and compensating workers fairly.
In light of these multiple factors that comprise sustainable fashion, very few fashion brands have implemented all of these aspects, making it tricky to find affordable sustainable fashion. It's therefore essential for all players in the fashion industry to begin considering how to implement sustainable fashion best practices in their businesses. Moreover, stakeholders and consumers should understand their role in promoting sustainability and pressure fashion companies to jump on the bandwagon.
Here are a few ways to boost your fashion sustainability:
Buy Less and Better
It’s often said that buying cheap is expensive–this cannot be truer when it comes to buying clothes. When purchasing clothing, it's essential to ask yourself if you really need it, and how long it will last. Another critical question is whether you will wear the clothes for years to come–if not, you may want to rethink your decision.
Invest in Sustainable Fashion Brands
How do you narrow down your choices with so many established sustainable fashion brands available? The secret lies in choosing brands that use best practices to create their sustainable fashion. Be sure to do your research, and consider looking for sustainable brands that have specialties, like swimwear or outerwear.
Buy Secondhand and Vintage
There has been a spike in secondhand and vintage clothing consumption, thanks to various fashion websites that regularly list beautiful but cheap clothes on a budget. Secondhand clothes, in particular, promote sustainability by reducing waste and extending the life of the clothing–so you'll not only be protecting the environment, but you'll end up owning some unique pieces.
Renting clothes isn't a new phenomenon–it's especially popular among celebrities attending events with various photo-ops. So if you believe you'll wear certain clothing items only once–like to a wedding, for example–you should consider renting instead of buying.
Learn About Who Makes Your Clothes
One of the things the pandemic has highlighted is the disparities within the working conditions of factory workers–sustainability in clothing isn't just about the clothes themselves, but also about protecting the welfare of company employees.
Workers must be compensated adequately and have the right personal protection equipment, along with an overall-healthy work environment. As a consumer, you can promote sustainable fashion by purchasing from brands that disclose this type of information to the public.
Take Care of Your Clothes
Taking care of your clothes is one of the most effective ways of reducing pollution. Lower the number of times you wash your clothes, which can help in eliminating water waste and carbon emissions. In addition, you should consider repairing damaged clothes and shoes when possible, instead of tossing them in the trash.
Sustainability is making waves across the clothing industry, and while it’s a great option to purchase from sustainable brands, there are so many other ways you can boost your positive impact on the environment through the choices you make regarding your clothing.