What is sustainable fashion, how can one really adopt this philosophy. The boons of second hand fashion, slow fashion, ethical fashion, local production and recycled materials.
But first let’s have our reality checked; The Fashion industry indeed has a devastating impact on our environment. We may not see the whole picture behind when we go out to shop for a New look, but we are adversely affected by the impact it has on our environment. In fact the fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world, only after the oil industry. As the industry grows day by day, the negative footprint it has on our environment grows as well.
However, building awareness and the willingness to change might be the first step towards building a solution and changing the course for a sustainable future.
In layman language, Sustainable fashion simply means that this generation of clothing, shoes and all other fashion accessories should nor effect the future generation of the same.
Ethics + Aesthetics = Sustainable Fashion
ADVERSE IMPACT OF THE ONGOING FASHION TRENDS GLOBALLY
Water Pollution: In almost all clothing manufacturing countries around the Globe, the Toxic Untreated water wastes from textile factories are dumped directly into the rivers.
The constituents of these water wastes are usually all toxic substances such as lead, mercury, arsenic etc. which are immensely harmful for all aquatic life in the rivers and for the people surviving on the banks of these rivers. Not only this, as these contaminated water reaches the sea, it finds an easier way to spread across the globe.
Another major root of water contamination is the use of unnatural fertilizers and pesticides in cotton farming.
Water consumption: It’s true that our fashion industry is a major player when it comes to water consumption. The complete process, from farming of cotton to the finishing process of all our garments consumes huge quantities of water. The process of dyeing itself takes up to 200 tons of fresh water per ton of dyed fabrics. Approximately up to 20,000 liters of water is required to produce only a Kg of cotton.
Fashion Waste: Let’s be honest with ourselves, how many time we order a pair of garment and use it more than once. More than half of our wardrobe collection lies untouched in the wardrobe itself and finally when it becomes too old to wear, it ends up in a landfill. To add up to this problem, when a synthetic garment (polyester, nylon etc) ends up in a landfill, it takes hundreds of years to decompose.
Microfibers Mayhem: Microfibers are synthetic fibers that are even finer/thinner than a strand of silk, about one fifth of a human hair. Every time we spin our washing machine to shine our synthetic garments (polyester, nylon etc), thousands of individual microfibers are released into the water, which make their way into natural water sources and finally into the open ocean. These microfibers are then ingested by smaller aquatic organisms, which are then eaten by small fishes, which are then eaten by big fishes, which are then eaten by us. Ultimately it is us who feed on these microfibers since they end up in our own food chain which has a slow but serious impact on our health.
Cheap synthetic fibers also emit gases like N2O, which is 300 times more damaging than CO2.
HOW TO DEAL WITH ALL THESE PROBLEMS? HOW CAN WE SUSTAIN FASHION?
- Every time you order a pair of clothing online, always prefer eco friendly fibers and natural fibers. Always enquire about the source of the clothing.
- Buy less but buy Better Quality and use it.
- Do not run after cheap priced garment. They are sold cheap cause they are manufactured the cheap way.
- Choose fibers friendly to the soil, if you have the habit of throwing it away after a few uses. In fact, first try mending damaged clothes and don’t just throw it away, if possible donate it to someone who is in need and the last resort is to recycle it. Do not let it end up in a landfill.
- Prefer clothing that are manufactured the traditional ways rather than industrial ways. Since the traditional ways of manufacturing clothing fabrics has less or zero energy consumption, thus leaving no negative footprints.
- Clothing swap. Swap the attires that does not fit you anymore or you just don’t like the style anymore with someone who is ready to do the same and is willing to try out your preferred style.
- Always choose Sustainable brands like YOGICposhak, Vanivrtti etc.