sustainable fashion: an overview of the most important information and labels

Sustainable fashion is a movement towards changing the fashion products and fashion system towards a greener and safer environment. The whole fashion industry work towards reducing the pollutants created while manufacturing the products.

Moreover, the term environmentally -friendly products are now commonly used by consumers. As they have now realized that its necessary to become socially responsible and reduce the pollution created by the manufacturing of consumer goods.

From the niche market to the mass market, sustainable fashion plays an increasingly important role and is the future of the fashion industry. You can find out which brands are sustainable and how you can make your shopping behavior more sustainable.

What is Sustainable Fashion?

Sustainable fashion, also called fair fashion, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion or eco-fashion – refers to clothing and accessories, the production of which does neither harm people nor the environment.

Following are the attributes of sustainable fashion:

  • The materials come from organic farming/animal husbandry.
  • No use of toxic chemicals.
  • Low resource consumption (e.g. energy and water).
  • Fair working conditions (reasonable working hours, fair wages, occupational safety, no child labor, social security).

Why You Should Buy Sustainable Fashion?

With increasing awareness of environmental protection and social responsibility, one should feel responsible for their buying behavior. You should try to buy clothes which are long-lasting and made from organic materials which are safe for the environment.

However, if you feel tempted to buy cheap clothes then remember that they are disposed just after three to five times of use and create tons of garbage and also lead to a constant cycle of overproduction. You can play your part by buying sustainably produced clothes, for example, if you want to buy activewear in Australia then buy from a retailer who is eco-friendly and believes in producing their products sustainably.

From Where to Buy the Sustainable Fashion?

There are now many fashion labels that produce in a fair and environmentally friendly manner, value timeless cuts and perfect workmanship and, in addition to traditional craftsmanship, also use the latest technologies for the production of their clothing, shoes, and accessories.

How to Choose Organic, Ethical, Eco-responsible Clothing?

The production of clothing is very polluting and raises ethical questions. The fashion world is evolving and it is becoming possible to build an eco-responsible, pretty and practical wardrobe.

Here are some tips on buying and using sustainable fashion:

1.    Why is it important to choose the right clothes?

The manufacturing of clothes has an impact on health and the environment:

  • The greenhouse gas emissions of the sector reach between 1.2 billion tones (eq CO 2) and 4 billion tones.
  • The production of fibers (including the cultivation of conventional cotton), their design and their processing consume enormous quantities of water, pesticides, chemicals, and petroleum.
  • The social impact is a well-known problem with the failure of the workers.
  • If we choose synthetic fabrics, we reject microplastics in the water when we wash them.
  • The health of the consumer can be affected when the clothes contain carcinogenic or endocrine-disrupting compounds.

2.    Look for Eco-friendly Labels on the Clothes

These eco-friendly labels facilitate the choice for the consumer. They are found on every clothing. Each label certifies compliance with a specific specification. This may include criteria relating to the environment, respect for workers and/or the limitation of harmful substances.

It is better to use the right materials for your clothing. For example, buy clothes made out of organic cotton and try to re-use as much as possible to avoid wastage.

3.    Using Organic Cotton

A great classic, cotton is flexible, pleasant and easy to care for. But its culture is very controversial. We prefer its equivalent to organic farming. Respectful of life and natural cycles, this agriculture prohibits the use of chemical fertilizers, GMOs and pesticides.

Organic cotton is more and more widespread. Previously it was only available initially in a few specialist and designer shops, now it is widely available in the market.

But is it enough to buy an organic cotton t-shirt to dress in an eco-responsible way? What to think of organic cotton t-shirts that you buy for three times nothing in supermarkets? Certainly, that a garment is in organic cotton, it is sacred progress. However, organic certification applies to the cultivation of cotton and sometimes to certain other aspects such as fiber treatments, dyes, energy consumption. But do children work in the cotton fields? Do the seamstresses receive a minimum wage allowing them to feed and house their families? Certifying cotton says nothing about the social conditions of production.

We can also wonder about the amount of organic fiber. Does a T-shirt promoted in organic cotton contain a large majority of organic? Or has the manufacturer added a small percentage of organic fiber to conventional cotton? According to WWF, some brands offer clothing with only 5% organic cotton, the rest of the fibers being conventional. This is why we must remain vigilant and inform ourselves.

Other natural fibers: linen, hemp, wool, vegetable leather, etc.

Hemp and flax have several advantages:

  • their crops consume much less water than cotton;
  • they lend themselves well to organic farming;
  • they provide resistant and fluid clothing.

Other vegetables and renewable fibers such as ramie (close to nettle), vegetable leather (for example based on pineapple fibers) are starting to make their way into the fashion world.

4.    Artificial Fibers But From Renewable Sources

From the chemical transformation of natural material, these fibers sometimes pose questions. Although from renewable sources, they are very transformed to manufacture at a lower cost.

5.    Recycled Fibers

We choose these fibers with a circular economy in mind because recycling allows us to reuse natural or synthetic materials instead of throwing them away. For example, scraps of fabrics from classic productions, old clothes restored to fibers before being processed, plastic bottles that provide recycled polyester or fleece.

6.    Opt for Clothes Free of Harmful Products

It’s difficult to know in detail everything that goes into the composition and production of a garment. What type of dye, what detergent, what method of production?

In 2012, Greenpeace presented alarming results on the pollution caused by the textile industry. Since then, 80 brands including 29 fashion brands have taken up the Detox challenge which imposes:

  • A list of hazardous chemicals banned in the supply chain.
  • Ambitious targets for wastewater management.
  • Break the taboos on the confidentiality of subcontractors.

7.    Prefer Local Clothes

This proximity between the place of manufacture and sale has many advantages: the distances are short (except possible production of fibers) and thus allow an economy of transport, the wages are higher and the legislation on the rights of the workers more ethical.

8.    Avoid Frequent Buying of  New Clothes

Buying second-hand clothes are another way of reducing wastage and be socially responsible. Online thrift stores, discounted retail shops, and second-hand clothing stores are a good option to buy clothes on a budget. This will not only reduce unnecessary consumer spending but also the lending ratio will also decrease. Since lending creates debt. It’s better to be debt-free and spend what you earn.

Conclusion

To extend the life of a garment and amortize its cost (financial and environmental), we can, of course, re-sell the used items at a cheaper price for people who can’t afford to buy clothes for their large families. The choice is yours. For a better and healthy environment, it’s best to choose wisely and opt for sustainable fashion.