Sustainability has become a media buzzword over the past few years, and with good reason. People are realizing that it’s important to manage the world’s resources more effectively. High fashion is not often associated with prudence or sustainability. Instead, designers have long cultivated a decadent image. In the 1980s and 1990s, designers like Isaac Mizrahi famously pushed the envelope and lined garments with expensive products like mink fur. Today, fashion is taking a different tack and embracing sustainability.
Issues like climate change have forced fashionistas to confront their spending habits. The trend in fast fashion has meant the production of lots of goods that are worn for only a season or so before being discarded. While the constant production is good for business, the emissions from the mills that make the fabrics and factories where the clothes are pieced together are bad news for the environment. A good way to combat this is to buy investment pieces that will last for several seasons. Replacing buttons or adding trim at home can be a great way to update clothes instead of discarding them. Thrift-store finds can also be upcycled.
Another issue when it comes to sustainability is the use of natural resources in clothing and fabric production. Cotton requires lots of water to be grown, often in parts of the developing world where that resource is precious. These products then often have to be shipped long distances to countries like the US and UK where the end-user purchases them. Making an effort to source locally-produced fabrics and clothing can make a dent in this problem. Purchasing jeans made from recycled denim is also a step in the right direction.
Finally, the issue of human rights in the production of clothing is a serious one. Because the US addressed this issue in the early 1900s, it can be easy to forget that not everyone in the developing world has the same protections. Workers in mills and factories overseas often endure unsafe conditions and discrimination on the job. Women, in particular, are impacted by this. Luckily, the fashion community has become more introspective and interested in these issues. By partnering with organizations like the New Standard Institute, fashion writers, magazines and designers are taking a stand for sustainability.
Comments are closed.