What is Fashion Sustainability?

From glamorous runways to Black Friday madness at your local discount store, fashion, has become an integral part of our lives. Whether you consider yourself to be a fashionista or not, clothing, shoes, and accessories are intertwined into our personalities, our activities, and our emotions. That is a hefty order of responsibility for a compilation of yarn, buttons, and thread. There are over 7 billion people on the planet and arguably most of them, nudists aside, require a wardrobe.

Our clothing has quite a journey before it makes it’s way into our closets and that journey includes manufacturing processes that can be very harmful to our planet. The fashion industry is the second largest polluting industry in the world next to oil. Our rivers and oceans have suffered from toxic chemical pollution, grasslands have vanished, and with textile waste on the rise from 7% to 30% in the last five years, developed nations will soon have to create new ways to dispose of our fast fashion as landfills are simply at capacity.

You might be thinking, “Well, that’s a bummer, but I’m not in control of the harsh chemicals or the excessive water usage so there isn’t anything I can do.” You actually can do something as the creation of fast fashion was largely due to consumers desire to have a new outfit every day, to indulge in a little retail therapy, or to fill our time as we spend an afternoon strolling through the mall. Don’t get me wrong…I am a huge fan of retail therapy, but I am now aware that the planet should not have to suffer so I can have a fifth LBD. I don’t want my closet to cause any harm to anyone or anything. As consumers, we have the buying power, literally. That equals power to make a change, and if we can collectively endorse slow fashion then the industry will have no choice but to listen.

Supporting sustainable fashion means educating yourself on brands, reading labels, and really thinking about what you purchase and how often. So, the next time you are doing a little online shopping, or decide to indulge in a little retail therapy, I encourage you to think about visiting your local thrift store instead or research brands that use recycled materials or organic cotton that supports farming without the use of toxic pesticides and herbicides to reduce your carbon footprint on our planet.