Sustainable Fashion: The Conscious Choice of Embracing Alternatives
Embracing sustainability is now trendy. The fashion industry and its stakeholders are increasingly concerned with environmental ethics and sustainable development. But what is sustainable fashion? And what leads an always-growing number of fashion designers to choose the “green path” for their brands?
Many would argue that protecting our planet and its resources is becoming a compelling necessity. When speaking about environmental pollution and textile waste, the world of fast-fashion is certainly not exempt from criticism. Approaching ethically to textile production and building an eco-conscious business has now become a priority for both famous and, especially, new-born fashion brands, which constantly work for improving their supply chains; from the choice of fabrics, to samples’ design, garments’ manufacture and their distribution.
Defined as an emergent design philosophy and ethical movement, sustainable fashion (or eco-fashion) is conceived as a form of slow fashion, which staunchly opposes to the fast- one. If fast-fashion promotes the continuous stream of new products onto the market and invites to a compulsive consume of cheap and low-quality clothes, sustainable fashion promotes the local production of longer-lasting and quality-made garments with the restoration of the traditional season collection system. Due to its constantly-evolving nature, sustainable fashion always aims at improving itself in order to minimize any undesirable effects that fashion industry has both on the environment and on all those people working on the field.
From an environmental perspective, eco-fashion firstly focuses on a careful use of natural resources (e.g. water, soil, ecosystems); a selection of renewable energy sources (e.g. wind, solar), and a maximization of products’ reuse and recycling. In this regard, eco-fashion designers usually conduct mindful and attentive analysis of the environmental impact of the fabrics that they mean to use during the stage of material sourcing and design. Raw and organic materials are chosen over synthetic fabrics; no toxic dyer is allowed. By promoting sustainable strategies of design, manufacture, transport and market textile, sustainable-fashion designers seek to actively engage consumers, thus enabling them to complete the product’s life circle by buying, using, reusing and recycling their items.
On a more socio-economic perspective, sustainable fashion places particular attention on fair trade and labour rights violation. By aligning with good and ethical codes of conduct, eco-fashion works to prevent the exploitation of factory workers — both adults and, especially, children who are still hugely involved in the process of exploitation enacted by fast-fashion production. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), indeed, the esteemed number of children involved in child labour worldwide is said to be about 260 million; of them, almost the 58% is engaged in the textile and manufacture sector. Manufacturing and marketing products ethically imply collaborations with fair-trade certified producer organisations, which support the socio-economic development of small communities — in some cases, and completely prohibit forced labour and child labour.
Through sustainable fashion, the fashion industry is moving into a new era made of conscious self-improvement and change. More and more eco-fashion designers are now choosing to build their brand identity on this new set of values based on the respect for people and environment. New possibilities and spaces for dialogue and cooperation are, thus, open for all those who decide to embrace alternatives and “wear” solidarity and eco-conscious values.
Green Strategy, What Is Sustainable Fashion?:
ILO, Child Labour:
The Guardian, Child Labour in the Fashion Supply Chain:
Good on you, Ethical Fashion Certifications and Standards: What Do the Labels Mean? https://goodonyou.eco/ethical-fashion-certifications-explained/