Sustainable fashion is like a beautiful, brilliant outer shell to protect people and at the same time, they are their weapons. But the brighter the thing, the more problems it has. The problem with fashion is whether it can remain both gorgeous and environmentally friendly as well as human? What is sustainable fashion and is it a solution for the fashion industry in the future?
According to the latest update of 2019, the world population hits nearly 7.7 billion people. Resources are on the verge of extinction. A series of industries and fields have been called for causing bad impacts on the environment. Fashion, a vibrant and diverse industry with a rapid pace of change, will not escape this condemnation. The fashion industry is said to have the highest usage of fresh water and made the environment polluted the most. It takes about 2,700 liters of water to make a cotton T-shirt and 17-20% of industrial water pollution comes from dyeing and textile processing. In an article by the Huffington Post, it took nearly 151 grams of synthetic fertilizer to grow 453 grams of raw cotton, and it only took less than this amount of raw cotton to make a T-shirt. When using cotton to make clothes, many dangerous materials are used to create products such as heavy metals, flame retardants, ammonia, phthalates and formaldehyde, etc. These toxic chemicals penetrate the fabrics we use every day, threaten not only the environment but also the people. In 2016, a quarter of all clothes in the UK were moved to landfills instead of being recycled. In a better way, they are given back to others or sold in second hand clothing stores.
After all the events in the industry and the concern of designers, the “sustainable fashion trend” was born as a commitment to “makeover” for the future fashion industry, turning it into an industry that is green and environmentally friendly. However, the main problem is that there is not a single solution that solves all existing problems. “It is a question of responsibility and ethics, revolving around our perception of the nature of fashion, how to design and market them,” says British designer Christopher Raeburn. So, sustainable fashion is from when you start to choose materials, design methods, reuse materials to selectively shop, use, store and handle them.
Join ELLE Man to listen to the designers of sustainable fashion trends share their views and methods!
“Buy clothes made from a single material,” Christopher Raeburn – the Designer, Creative Director of Timberland
The biggest problem is that we are accustomed to using fabrics that are made from many different materials. For example, kate fabric is made from cotton and polyester. People may like it because of its coolness and softness. However, this fabric cannot be recycled.
We need to reconsider the production and selection of starting materials by paying attention to the selection of natural fibers or wool because they are capable of biodegradation. At the same time, designers should avoid materials labeled plastic or polyester. If we can intervene in the first stage of the entire process, we can virtually arrange the entire life cycle of the product including the management of recycling stages when a product model is out of fashion.
Save the Duck brand partnered with Christopher for the capsule collection, inspired by nature and follows the trend of sustainable fashion. Photo: MR Magazine Photo: Fashionbeans Photo: Fashionbeans
Christopher started the project with university students and young designers to start a new generation with a new perspective on fashion: sustainable fashion. According to him, it is important to communicate inspired by real designs and products, thus encouraging them to consume smarter.
“Must understand that sustainability is not the trend”, Orsola De Castro – the Co-founder of Fashion Revolution
According to Orsola, we view “sustainable fashion” as a trend because we only see it as a transient situation. “We need to make fashion smarter. This is the problem of the survival of mankind.”
Photo: Fashion Revolution
Fashion is like the breath of culture. It is also considered a non-verbal way of communication of each person. And perhaps we think that we have complete control over our style and spending style. We easily buy things we like but we probably will not use. People need to change their own thinking and way of consuming, not just a temporary response to a call.
Orsola thinks fashion is a potential industry, because it has almost all influence and relevance in everything from agriculture to the media. And we can see the first steps come from governments. The British government has conducted an investigation into the impact of the fashion industry. France enacted a law prohibiting brands from burning inventories, instead giving them to third parties. We must openly acknowledge that this is the responsibility of the government and the leading brands in this sustainable fashion issue and of the final consumers in their shopping behavior. We need to find a truly effective way, proactively change in that direction and sustain it for the rest of our lives.
An Orsola design with material from the excess fabric. Photo: Inhabitat
“Use reusable items”, Elin Larsson – Director of Sustainable Development at Filippa K
According to her, fast or slow fashion, expensive or cheap are made in the same way, the same material and manufacturing process. However, sustainable fashion will always support the consumption of slow fashion, clothes that can be reused many times in different ways.
We can consider from the beginning choose to buy products, see if the product can be applied to many purposes, many cases? Can fabric degrade or recycle? Filippa K set up a system to get back the clothes of their brand, the kind that consumers no longer need. The main purpose is to extend the life of the product through the resale of old clothes or recycling if the item can no longer be worn.
This project is really meaningful in many ways. It is both one of the pioneering enterprises to promote sustainable fashion trends, while contributing to gradually changing the awareness and consumption habits of the people.
“Choose and preserve jeans smartly”, Adriana Galijasevic – Denim expert and sustainable developer at G-Star Raw
In today’s denim market, blended fabrics are popular because of their good elasticity. However, this mixed fabric is very difficult to recycle. Indigo is another substance that has a negative effect on the lips. That’s why G-Star Raw created the first DenimCradle to Cradle Gold Certified ™ denim and shared it with other businesses. They used indigo-free indigo technology in the fabric and built friendly dyeing edge.
Research has shown that the durability of a pair of jeans depends on the type of fabric that makes it and how each person uses it. So, make a worthy investment for a durable, friendly pants that are natural to both the environment and yourself. That would be more economical and smarter than constantly changing poor quality pants and quickly fading.
“Choose smart materials”, Bhavesh Naik – the Senior Director at Napapijri
The materials industry is developing new fabrication methods to minimize environmental impact and reduce manufacturing waste. A variety of methods are used to convert cotton heaps into carbon pools, reservoirs of carbon dioxide from the air. At the same time, newly emerging dyeing technologies help save the amount of water needed and consume less chemicals.
After all, in order to understand how the impact of fashion on the environment, we need to understand the life cycle of a product, from raw materials to how to handle them. And from there, we have found an appropriate solution for a sustainable product.
Photo: Fashion Beans
“Extend the life of your clothes,” Lulu O’Connor – Founder of Clothes Doctor
We are all surprised at the overload of our wardrobe. And perhaps, there is more than one long forgotten item still lying there. If you are bored of those types of clothes, try refreshing them. Youtube and social networks are always ready to provide ideas of “processing” into new designs. Why not try a little change instead of throwing away those clothes?
5 “recycled” fashion brands you should know
“In a time when pollution and abundance from the fashion industry are becoming as ominous as it is today, the preservation of their wardrobe becomes extremely necessary, and the re-use of it is at least one. or another year is a small change that we can all try to make.”
“Buy waste, literally its way” –Fredrik Ekström – the Director of Ecological Initiatives at Treton
According to him, fashion is one of the most polluting and unsustainable industries, but it is difficult for a brand to guarantee 100% environmentally friendly products.
Most Treton materials are not found in nature, but can be considered semi-natural. Treton seeks to turn the fishing nets left in the ocean into clothes, such as high-quality raincoats. They see waste as an input resource and also a way to save resources of the business itself.
This is also an innovative way to protect the environment from the perspective of Treton leaders.
“Ask yourself where your clothes are really made from”, Flora Davidson – the Co-founder of Supplycompass
Most of Supplycompass’s factories are located in India, one of the largest organic cotton producers. The goal of the business is to find the planting site closest to the production site. This also contributes to minimize indirect environmental impacts.
On the issue of retailers, they need to promote cooperation with the manufacturer on shipping. For example, suppliers must ship the same product twice to the same place, instead of shipping at the same time. This also indirectly affects the environment.
Flora emphasizes the cooperation between suppliers and manufacturers, while minimizing direct or indirect environmental impacts. Another view on sustainable fashion is worth considering.