As part of Fashion Revolution Week I’d like to write at least one post for every other day of the week that addresses the issue of sustainability in the fashion industry.
My first post entitled ‘Is sustainability a trend?’ begins below. Enjoy!
One afternoon in France at the Hyéres fashion festival sustainability think tank, somebody amongst the audience asked, ‘Is sustainability a trend?’.
The answer was a clear ‘no’. Trends aren’t timeless; sustainability is. The two are mutually exclusive. Sustainability in fashion means producing fashion in such a way that doesn’t harm current nor future generations throughout the garment’s lifecycle.
In addition to being bashed for poor labour ethics, it’s becoming more prevalent to the general public that the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world after animal agriculture, with images of landfills filled with sky-high piles of discarded (largely polyester a.k.a. plastic) clothing filling the media sphere. Key players in the industry largely responsible for this mess have been taking note, however, and ‘sustainability’ and ‘innovation’ are definitely trendy buzz words, often thrown around as a means of greenwashing.
As consumers with access to the world-wide-web of information, it behooves us to understand what we’re being sold before being swooped off our feet by the wave of a trend. Clothes made of recycled polyester? (Buzz alert). Was there a larger carbon footprint incurred to recycle the polyester instead of using natural fibres to make virgin fabric? What is sustainable clothing in a nutshell?
Sustainable clothing is often timeless in that it never goes out of the user’s style, and is responsibly made of ingredients that don’t harm the user’s body. The garment may rest in wardrobe for a few seasons, but always comes back to use. After wearing the said timeless piece 100 times you may need to repair it—but the fact that you still want to repair it after 100 wears makes it a timeless piece for you.
If you can’t quite put a finger on what your personal style is— if it feels & looks good, you know who made it, what it’s made of, know you or someone else will wear it more than 30 times, and that even if it ends up in a landfill it will easily decompose in less than a year without leaking any hazardous materials into ecosystems, or if its easily recyclable into something else useful and doesn’t shed micro plastics into our water and food systems: I congratulate you for finding some great clothing!
La Société du Spectacle by Guy Debord