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.
Many people choose to wear their clothes while they are fresh off the rack. However, this is a big mistake that should be avoided at all costs. It is very important that consumers wash their clothes after purchasing them. There are a variety of reasons that customers should wash their clothing before they are planning on wearing the new items, these are among a few of the reasons.
Allergens can cause the skin to break into a rash due to the natural response of a body’s immune system. As a result of contact dermatitis, the name of the condition, customers may experience a delayed rash that will last for weeks until it disappears. The allergens in clothing, among many other possible factors, usually comes from the dyes that manufacturers use in their clothing. Dyes are dispersed when they are freshly applied to clothing items. These dyes normally subside once a clothing item has been washed.
Clothes that are in stores may have been tried on a countless number of times before the right customer came along and purchased the items. As can be imagined, stores don’t wash clothes after each customer tries on their clothing items. Therefore, new clothing tends to carry bacteria from a variety of customers. While it doesn’t happen very often, bacteria that is transferred between people can cause someone to become very sick. Detergent does more than removing stains and make clothing smell good, it kills bacteria as well because it is a cleaning agent. On the contrary, using too much detergent can produce an adverse effect by trapping bacteria on the clothing within the excess detergent.
These are only two of the many reasons that customers should wash their clothing before wearing the items. Clothing items look great when they are fresh off of the rack, but washing the items will give a more accurate picture of how the clothing will fit over a long-term time span.
The best way for consumers to kill bacteria on their clothing is by using heat during the drying process. By either placing their clothing in the dryer on a high heat setting or by hanging their laundry out to dry in the sun, customers will create an environment where bacteria can’t survive.