On the Earth Day of 2022, floom has decided to do our best and spread awareness on how you can look good whilst protecting our planet and our people! The fashion industry is one of the most challenging industries to be sustainable because of the amount of natural resources needed to produce clothes and the questionable labour treatment to keep production costs down. With the development of technology, it's now easier than ever to overconsume and add to the toxic cycle. But fear not, because floom is here to give you a few pointers on how to look fab 24/7 sustainably!
If you know me personally, I've probably brought sustainable fashion up a million times by now - I've dedicated my undergrad dissertation at King's College London to sustainable fashion consumption and greenwashing (and absolutely aced it. Shameless boast, I know, but I deserve it!) And I've also been interested in sustainable fashion since I was 15 or so when I found out about thrifting. However, I also understand that sustainable movements change by the day, so this master post will be updated regularly with new information. Feel free to shoot us a DM at our Insta or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know if you have any ideas or info too!
What is sustainable fashion?
'Sustainable, 'ethical', 'green', 'eco-friendly', 'fair trade', 'organic'... These keywords have almost become buzzwords we see everywhere in the world of commerce nowadays. But do we really know what sustainable fashion means?
Sustainable fashion is defined as fashion items that are designed, produced, and consumed in ways that are environmentally friendly, ethically, and economically feasible. Although sustainable fashion has often been synonymised as 'green fashion' or 'ethical fashion', these three aspects must exist altogether as the pillars of sustainability.
Stay tuned for a separate blog post explaining all the keywords to do with sustainable fashion!
Why sustainable fashion?
Sustainable fashion is the way forward because the fashion industry alone accounts for 10% of global carbon emission (UNECE, 2018). Cotton production alone accounts for 7% of the entire economy in some low-income countries, but the working conditions and wages in some factories and plants are shockingly questionable (e.g. the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013) (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2022).
Overconsumption is another major problem - fast fashion means much cheaper clothes that are produced at a much shorter turnaround time, which meant more affordable and diverse fashion items. But as a result, 40M tonnes of garments end up in the landfill or get incinerated (McKinsey & Company and BOF, 2022).
So, to protect workers and our planet from climate change and resource depletion, educating ourselves and engaging in sustainable fashion is the way to go.
Why is sustainable fashion so expensive?
A lot of consumers would love to help, but are put off or excluded from sustainable fashion because it's simply too unfeasible to pay a hefty price for clothing. The reasons behind tends to be because of:
Small-scale production - Fast fashion companies prefer bulk-buying and bulk-producing at massive factories because this helps keep costs down. Sustainable brands tend to produce in smaller quantities or even opt for made-to-order approaches.
Premium quality fabric - Sustainable brands prefer ethically-made natural fabrics (e.g. silk and cotton) over artificial fabrics (e.g. polyester). However, natural fabrics take longer and more effort to produce.
Fairer wages - Unlike fast fashion brands, sustainable brands pay a fair living wage and are usually lot more transparent with how they treat their workers.
Discourage overconsumption - Sustainable brands tend to hope that their customers would cherish their products instead of overconsume. This means advising and helping their customers to take better care of their products. (e.g. Patagonia offers clothing repair services to their customers!)
But fear not, for we are here to help you engage in the sustainable fashion movement by utilising your existing resources. Visit our blogpost on how to make sustainable fashion more sustainable!
Resources & information
Sustainability in Fashion - Business of Fashion
Circular Economy for Fashion - Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Fashion and the UN SDGs - UN