What is sustainable fashion? What does green fashion bring to the environment protection? How can we as consumers play a part in it? All these questions linger in the back of your mind. However, only by being proactive, you can make a change.
You protect the environment
The goal of sustainable fashion is to minimize the negative impact on the environment by using natural resources and renewable sources of energy. When it comes to natural materials, green clothes made of organic materials come to the forefront. Not only do these fabrics have natural origin, but they are produced without the use of toxic chemicals.
For example, organic cotton, bamboo, hemp and linen are grown without the use of pesticides and herbicides, which are hazardous for any form of life on the planet. Once the growing process finishes, companies need to take into account environmentally responsible manufacturing. For a company to be called truly organic, it should not treat fabrics with bleach, synthetic dyes, disinfectant agents and other chemicals.
Finally, another measure of sustainability is maximizing the use of renewable sources of energy such wind power, biomass, sola power, etc. during textile manufacturing. In order to avoid greenwashing, the Global Organic Textile Standard was developed to examine garment sustainability.
You protect other people
Another aspect of sustainable fashion is fair trade. Fair trade is a social movement which promotes the safe working environment. Workers’ rights include the elimination of forced labour, the possibility of forming associations and unions and the elimination of any kind of discrimination and abuse.
Fair trade respect the right of the child by not supporting child trafficking and exploitative child labour. Bangladesh is the second largest garment manufacturer in the world. However, poor and dangerous working conditions resulted in a tragedy at the Rana Plaza factory outside Dhaka in 2013, when more than 1100 people were killed after the building of the factory collapsed. It is worth thinking about fair trade when you go to a conventional store next time.
You maximize recycling
When we say recycling, there are many aspects of it connected to sustainable fashion. For example, there are companies such as H&M which have projects for textile recycling. The Garment Collecting Initiative is the H&M programme whose goal is to recycle all textile fabrics for new use. H&M stores offer discounts if you hand in unwanted or torn clothes. There is even more it. New fabrics emerge in sustainable fashion. Econyl used for the manufacture of swimwear, sportswear, lingerie and outdoor clothing is the fabric 100% recycled from abandoned fishing nets and carpets. Returnity is a 100% recyclable polyester suitable for workwear. You as consumers have the important role in sustainable fashion, too.
Do not throw away your old clothes, repurpose it. With the help of a host of DIY projects on the Internet, make your contribution to the greener world. You can also organize a public clothes swap and sell your clothes to a recycling company, but there is one thing you should not do: do not throw away your clothes so that they end up at a landfill.
You support small business
Green fashion has a major role in promoting traditional skills such as spinning yarn, using a loom and embroidery in the making of clothes. Find a store which sells hand-made clothes and jewelry. The best option is if you can find designers which make hand-made clothing from recycled or organic materials.
Do not forget the Etsy, one of the most popular websites selling hand-made products. Buy locally is another motto of green fashion. Minimize ecological footprint by minimizing the use of fossil fuels, preserving natural habitats and decreasing transportation needs. You can make all these contributions to the greener planet if you buy locally. The growing number of vintage and second-hand shops shows how much people are dedicated to the greener cause. You will definitely find something for yourself in these shops, you will spend less money, you will have a unique piece of clothing and you will be a green fashionista.
Do not shy away from buying bamboo socks, jewellery made from fruits and vegetables, going to clothes swaps and buying clothes and accessories in a second-hand store.
By protecting the environment, supporting working conditions of textile workers, recycling clothes and supporting small business, you form a part of a major social movement in sustainable fashion. We can make this planet a greener place to live.