What is sustainability?
Sustainability is defined by Webster dictionary as “of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.”
Essentially, sustainability is a way to make sure that generations after us have the same access to natural resources as we do.
So, what is sustainable fashion?
Sustainable fashion is so much more than just using sustainable materials to make clothing. It involves sustainable processes, both environmental and socioeconomic factors, being implemented in every stage of the manufacturing process. From design to final sale to recycling of the product, every process it goes through can be performed in a manner that preserves resources. That is what we are aiming for when we exercise sustainable fashion.
The fashion industry is the second largest industry in the world. The amount of materials consumed and waste produced from the industry has the potential to be tremendous, but not if fashion labels are mindful of the processes their products go through.
There are numerous ways for companies to participate in sustainable fashion. These include manufacturing with environmentally friendly textiles, such as organic cotton, and creating durable, long-lasting clothing that can be used for many years. Some companies also partner with I:Connect, which is a solutions provider for reusing and recycling clothing to create a closed loop recycling structure (meaning that no materials are being wasted or thrown out).
Some companies that parter with I:CO are Adidas, H&M, and Puma. At I:CO partner stores, you can bring in your used clothing to recycle and you will receive some sort of voucher toward a future purchase.
H&M is the perfect example of a clothing brand that is dedicated to sustainable fashion. Not only are they an I:CO partner that continually provides incentives for shoppers to recycle their clothes, they have an entire green clothing line. They use sustainable materials and they place strict guidelines on their manufacturers to meet certain social and environmental regulations. Not only are their clothes super, they work really hard to protect the earth.
What’s the point?
Here’s a statistic from I:CO to put some perspective to this:
The production of a T-shirt consumes between 10,000 and 30,000 liters of water and means additional CO2 emissions of 3.6 kg. With a recycling process, only 5 to 10 percent of these quantities are used or produced!
If we continue to abuse the resources that are naturally available to us, future generations will have none of these resources at their fingertips. Think about the necessity of clean water, clean air, biodegradable materials, etc.
The point is you can look great and be mindful of the earth at the same time!