What is Sustainable Fashion and Why its so important in 2023?
Wearing a T-shirt is a routine. Many of us have numerous in our wardrobe. But did you know manufacturing a single t-shirt consumes around 2,700 litres of water?
Shocked? But that’s true, and there’s more coming your way!
The fashion industry is responsible for approximately 2 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions annually. And we are yet to talk about the plight of workers working in apparel manufacturing! We will do that in a short while.
Of course, these statistics seem unbelievable. But that’s how the situation is. The fashion industry has been hurting the environment to satiate the world’s hunger for fashion.
So now, should that dissuade us from following fashion? Does it mean the end of the road for the fashion industry? No!
There’s something called sustainable fashion, which is steadily gaining momentum. What is it, and how does it help the fashion industry become more responsible and eco-friendlier? Let’s delve into these aspects and answer these questions.
The Concept of Sustainable Fashion
In most cases, the word sustainable refers to the environment. But in fashion, it is a multi-dimensional phenomenon. Along with being soft on the environment, it also covers the people working in the apparel manufacturing industry and animals who lose their life for items like leather, fur, wool, etc.
Sustainable fashion and its awareness are growing worldwide. It isn’t only manufacturers but also consumers who demand clothes produced through sustainable practices. For instance, per reports, 34-36 per cent of customers in the US would pay more money for sustainable clothing. But what’s steering the significant growth of sustainable fashion globally? Let’s overview the value sustainable fashion drives.
How Does Sustainable Fashion Help?
Here are some benefits of sustainable fashion.
Reduced Waste Production
Global production of municipal solid waste is projected to surpass the 3 billion metric-ton mark by 2050! A range of factors like urbanisation, consumer shopping patterns and population outburst. Amidst these statistics, sustainable fashion brands are emerging with some hope. They endeavour to reduce waste generation by manufacturing premium apparel from durable materials. These companies attempt to copy seasonal fashion trends, thus lowering the waste produced across a broader timeframe.
Lowered Carbon Footprint
Carbon emissions are a grave concern, significantly affecting the planet’s health. As mentioned earlier, the fashion industry emits nearly 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. That’s humongous! Imagine the kind of damage every industry individually and collaboratively does to the environment through carbon emissions.
Nevertheless, sustainable clothing brings optimism to the table. It uses biodegradable components made from organic or recycled fibres. These materials are grown without pesticides or fertilisers and require fewer litres of water to blossom. Besides, they do not employ any chemical treatment, thus contributing to the fashion industry’s objectives to reduce CO2 emissions and promote sustainable fashion.
Killing Animal Sacrifice
It feels so manly wearing a leather jacket, boots, belts, etc., isn’t it? But did you know the seemingly manly leather is produced from a cowardly act of killing animals? And not just an animal or two. The number is in disgusting millions!
Every country has its own statistics on the variety of animals that each kills to produce leather. It includes sheep, deer, zebras, snakes, cats, dogs, alligators, cows, and many more to produce quality leather, for which we bargain and then flaunt proudly.
The way these animals are killed is absolutely heart-wrenching!
The only way to stop the brutal slaughtering of animals is to stop using leather. Of course, it would punch a big blow to the global leather industry. But it will help curtail the number of animals being sacrificed. Another option is to use pre-loved or used leather, wool, fur, etc., if at all you want to use it. Or else, buy it less!
Reduced Use of Water
Fashion is one of the most water-intensive industries worldwide. In 2020, the fashion industry used nearly 80 trillion litres of water everyday. Too hard to believe. But that’s the amount of water the fashion industry used in a world where water is becoming a scarcer resource.
Water suffers in the fashion industry due to many factors. One relatively less realised reason is washing polyester clothing. While washing such fabrics, a small piece of the fabric enters the wash water and makes its way to the river or sea polluting it.
The change should be driven by manufacturers. They must invest in less water-intensive manufacturing techniques. Additionally, they should find ways to reduce the amount of chemicals used in apparel production. One example is natural dyes, which have a much lower environmental impact. Of course, it will take time. But focused efforts and initiatives can make a significant difference in the long run.
Decent Worker Treatment and Fair and Timely Wages
As an end consumer, this one wouldn’t matter much to you. But a significant number of companies worldwide outsource textile manufacturing to developing nations. Most of these countries offer poor working conditions and cannot pay their workers enough. These workers slog for 13-14 hours (in some cases even more!) to meet timelines and consumer demands. Thus, sustainability also encompasses the fair treatment, rights and benefits these workers deserve. It includes providing safe working conditions, timely and fair remuneration and fixed standard working hours to avoid fatigue.
The above doesn’t intend to demean fashion or portray the industry in a bad light. Instead, it aims to highlight the significance of sustainability given the existing situation. Innovating and adopting sustainable fashion practices can help the fashion industry enhance its reputation and contribute to its growth in the long run.
At INIFD Borivali, a responsible fashion design Institute in Mumbai, India, we include sustainable fashion in our syllabus and inculcate its importance within our students.
Growth and career in the fashion industry would be more wonderful when sustainability and fashion work hand-in-hand. It is up to all of us what to accept and what not to when it comes to choosing clothes. As an aspiring fashion designer, you would have a greater responsibility to adopt sustainable manufacturing practices and contribute to the bright future of fashion. Call us at +91 99305 90722 to discover our fashion design courses. You May also like Exploring Essential Aspects of Sustainable Fashion