Sustainability in the Fashion Industry
“Sustainable fashion means finding a balance when designing, manufacturing, and consuming clothes. It means avoiding the depletion of natural resources, but also the exploitation of individuals and communities.”
Sustainability fashion has become a trend meaning you need to purchase clothing items that last longer (slow fashion), recycle or repurpose items once you no longer want and be biodegradable once they are disposed. You should buy clothing that you will love wearing a long time; not be so trendy that you only want to wear it a few months. Most clothing styles are fashionable for several years, if not numerous years. Fads are fashions that come and go quickly and therefore, they are not sustainable.
Washing, instead of dry cleaning, is more environmentally friendly and it is recommended that you only wash a garment when it is dirty. Most clothing can be worn several times before it needs cleaning. The garment fabric needs to be durable enough to last through many washings. You may spend more for each clothing item, but your total clothing cost will be less because you buy less and keep longer.
Do not throw garments in the trash unless it is totally unusable. Second-hand resale or donating is important. Most garments we want to retire are still in good enough shape for someone else to enjoy wearing. As you eliminate things from your closet, decide if it should be resellable, donated or trashed.
Repurposing fabric is great also. For example, take a bedsheet and make a garment out of it. Or redesign a garment or part of a garment such as taking the top off a dress and making a skirt. Patchwork fabrics together for an interesting print. There are endless ways to repurpose fabric.
Fiber content of the fabric is very important for sustainability. Organic natural fibers such as cotton, linen, silk, and wool will decompose over time. But petroleum-based fibers such as polyester and plastics will last forever. Some yarn companies are using recycled yarn instead of virgin yarn, such as recycled polyester.
Lastly, sustainability refers to the social aspect of workers earning a living wage. Too many garments made in countries where the wages are not enough for a living wage. I suggest that you avoid those garments and buy more expensive items made by workers receiving a fair wage.
There is lots to think about and many aspects of sustainability. I highly recommend you evaluate each clothing item (clothes, accessories and shoes) for sustainability before you buy it.