In the fashion industry, it’s expected that people will buy the newest trendy piece of clothing and then not wear it again once the season is over. Stores, ads and pop culture tell the general public that they need those new shoes or the latest handbag. And then, in another month, they’ll tell them that they need the newer shoes and the next handbag.
This type of marketing and thinking is great for the fashion industry, but it’s bad news for everyone else. People end up spending way too much money on their closet, encouraging the killing of animals for a fashion statement and looking the other way in regards to the environmental impact.
As an alternative, we could turn to sustainable fashion as a way to reverse this thinking and help the planet, people, animals and ourselves.
The Planet Benefits
The t-shirt you have on that’s made of 100% cotton might feel comfy, but the cotton that was used to make it is hurting the planet every single day. Most of the cotton used globally comes from irrigated land, which can use more than 20,000 liters of water to make 1kg of cotton. That’s how much it takes to make just one t-shirt and one pair of jeans. That’s a lot of water for not a lot of clothing.
Producing cotton also takes quite a bit of pesticide and chemicals, which you then bring into your home and onto your body when you choose to purchase a cotton-based article of clothing. In addition, to get each piece of clothing to be the right color, a lot of toxic dyes are used. Next time you go to buy a 100% cotton fabric, think about choosing an organic fiber or sustainable fabric instead.
People and Animals Benefit
When buying clothes, look for clothes labeled under the Fair Trade Act. This will ensure that the product was made by people working in safe conditions earning a fair wage. The fashion industry often hides its harsh working conditions and practices, so choosing clothes that are marked Fair Trade means you’re supporting safe and fair working conditions for people around the world.
Leather, wool, and silk all come from animals — that’s no secret. Yet, these products are still a big trend in the fashion industry. For vegans or vegetarians, the choice to stop animal cruelty should also apply to what you wear. Choosing clothes that didn’t take an animal to make will help your closet become a morally clean place.
Sustainable fashion doesn’t just mean helping the environment — it also helps you! Choosing clothes made with more durable fabrics means they’ll last longer. What you wear one season, you can also wear the next year and the next. Switching your thinking from buying the trendiest products every season to buying fewer products that will be functional for your wardrobe all the time will not only save you money but will also save energy and resources used to make clothing.
Going for the less popular clothing will also give your closet a personal and unique feel. Check out local stores and boutiques to find clothes that were made locally. You’ll have cute items in your wardrobe that nobody else has, instead of the run-of-the-mill fashion statements that everyone is wearing. Plus, you’ll be helping small businesses instead of large chains. You could even get crafty and make your own clothes!
Choosing sustainable fashion is a personal choice, but it affects more than just you. Sustainable fashion helps the planet, the people who make the clothes, the animals who are often used to make clothes and your own wallet and wardrobe. Changing up your wardrobe is also fun! Use sustainable fashion as a way to make a statement, make a difference and revamp your style.