Why sustainability matters.
Thankful for the Planet.
Why sustainability matters.
As earth day approaches, we are looking into the importance of keeping our precious environment clean, in hopes that its beauty and grace will last many generations. Planet Earth is the source of life, it is our home and it's our duty to keep it as clean and healthy as we can. With that said we want to talk about the importance of sustainability in the fashion industry.
What is sustainability?
In an ecological context, Sustainability refers to what actions we can take to preserve the natural and ecological balance in the planet. In the fashion industry, sustainability refers to producing clothing and other goods from recycled material or with other production methods that are not harmful to people or the environment. This is done through an efficient use of natural resources (i.e: using lower amounts of water and energy for the production of such said consumer goods, as well as how much carbon is emitted from production itself), the renewability of fibers/turning fibers into textiles, fair working conditions and wages, transportation, and making sure that the fabrics that are used can be recycled. It is important to be aware of what we wear, and where our clothing comes from in order to prevent further damage to the environment.
Did you know...
The fabrics you choose to buy can make a huge environmental difference. For example, we are widely misled into thinking that purchasing items made with 100% cotton fabrics is a commendable and environmentally friendly action, when in fact it is actually detrimental to both people and the environment. This is due to heavy amounts of pesticides and chemicals that are used by farmers to preserve cotton farms. Traditional cotton is estimated to use 16-25% of all insecticides in the world. These same chemicals and pesticides eventually make their way into rivers and other sources of water, while also polluting our air and soil. The mass production of consumer goods is also directly linked to the use of pesticides and chemicals, due to a high demand for goods in the name of fast fashion. The same pesticides and chemicals that affect the environment affect the hardworking people who farm cotton. In 2017, a cotton farm in Maharashtra, India used an almost deadly amount of pesticides that left at least 50 of their farmers dead, while over 800 farmers from the same area were hospitalized.
The answer to the sad truth behind unsustainable cotton is organic cotton. Production of organic cotton requires much less water, and in order to be certified as an organic product the use of pesticides and chemicals is not allowed. For instance, the use of neem seeds or spray is one big change organic cotton farms have made for the good of the planet. These innovative actions make a huge difference on the environment while protecting the lives of the people who provide cotton fabrics for the fashion industry.
Organic cotton is luckily not the only sustainable fabric choice we are left with! The list also includes tencel, hemp, bamboo, linen, and recycled silk. If you would like to learn more about other sustainable fabrics, we recommend reading Know your Materials: What Each One Means for Sustainable Fashion written by Nadine Farag a sustainability writer/consultant in NYC.
Sustainable fashion was a trend that is now evolving into something much more; a way of life to secure a better future. Some brands make it their mission to move the fashion industry towards a more eco friendly future. A huge leader in sustainability and the conservation of the environment is the brand Patagonia. Since the 1990's Patagonia has continually invested time and money into the ethical production of their products to help sustain a safe and eco-friendly world. Another proactive brand is reformation. Reformation makes it their mission to design their clothes with sustainable fabrics such as rescued dead stock and re-purposed vintage clothing. They also incorporate eco-friendly technologies in their factories to save energy as well as paying their workers fair wages.
Everlane is an up-and coming brand that took off in 2010. This brand also works towards making a difference in the fashion industry. They let us, the consumers, know the production process and cost of their items. This is known as radical transparency, or the means of informing consumers of what they are buying and where it came from to show it is a sustainable and ethically made item. On their websites they include charts that show their carbon footprint, as well as their cost and profit margins for each item to assure consumers they are not being bamboozled. Go Everlane!
Brands we love that were mentioned above:
What you can do to help
- Buy secondhand. There are many treasures to be found for reasonable prices. In doing this you are also recycling garments and preventing more unwanted fabrics to be thrown away in landfills. At Deelux, we love buying in ethical and sustainable brands. However, we do think it is important to buy in items of fast fashion brands that would otherwise be thrown away.
-Patch up, sew, alter old clothes. If something has a tear or rip, don't give up on it! try to fix it up before throwing it out. If there is no hope in reviving your item, try turning it into something else! Craftiness and creativity is key. try using old fabrics (even bed sheets!) to make embroidered or knitted art projects.
-Donate or recycle clothing in lieu of throwing away. If you are looking to get a new wardrobe and have items that are simply too old or out of style that would be more difficult to sell, try donating or giving those items away before tossing them.
-Stay aware! Read up on brands, fast fashion's effects on the environment, fabrics, and climate change. As someone who loves fashion and the planet we live on, it is important to always stay informed on the key issues of the fashion industry and the tolls it takes on this beautiful and diverse planet.
Graphic Design by Bonny Jackson and Photography by Brittany Landreth