While sustainable fashion is already in style, not all consumers know what the term actually means. Perhaps, you’re already doing the most to be sustainable – check out an easy guide below.
Understanding Sustainable Fashion
Sustainable fashion doesn’t always mean upcycled. It doesn’t mean thrifted either. Moreover, your T-shirt doesn’t have to be made from hemp to be sustainable! In 2022, big brands and fashion houses are working on their eco-friendliness – long dresses covered in sequins, as well as diamond necklaces, will become recyclable and environmentally friendly very soon. Yet, repurposing waste and deadstock fabrics doesn’t mean instant success in the ecological battle. In fact, it’s how consumers wear them. “The most important question around sustainability is: How long will that product be worn and used? One of the most sustainable things you can do is buy something that will last a lifetime,” said Alden Wicker, a journalist who covers the environmental impact of the fashion industry.
That’s why fast fashion seems the most wasteful. When expensive fashion pieces are made by professional craftsmen, they will last longer and automatically will become more sustainable than the mass market. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to them – sometimes, sustainable fashion is an investment and a struggle. Thamarr Guerrier from the blog Musings of a Curvy Lady knows how hard it is to find a matching piece when you’re a bigger woman of color. Both sustainable and fast fashion limited their designs for Guerrier. Good deeds don’t always end well, either. Maxey Greene, a plus-size influencer, came face to face with greenwashing when she collaborated with H&M in 2020. Both she and the company received backlash for the eco-friendly line in question.
So, how does one invest in sustainable fashion? First and foremost, take a look at what you’ve already got and try to use up as many clothes as you can. The second step is “conscious consumption.” This term refers to thoughtfully purchasing pieces of clothes that will last a long time. Just remember that they don’t have to be expensive! Natural fibers make up most of the sustainable fashion. They include silk, cotton, linen, wool, polyester, viscose, as well as hemp – they will last the longest time on the consumer’s body and in their closet. Silk in particular is one of the longest-lasting fibers by usage time. Wool takes up the second place in line. Even when they come to an end, these fibers are easy and safe to recycle.
Now, let’s look at fabrics. Satin, rayon, fleece, and organza are the nicest to the touch. As long as they are produced mindfully, with certifications for ethical and sustainable production processes included, feel free to grab the piece you picked. Also, think before buying: will it fit into the wardrobe? When in doubt of the choice, choose small local businesses or secondhand shops. After buying a piece, treat it with love and respect – don’t use the dryer and read the labels to ensure you’re caring for the piece.
When washed, most clothes shed synthetic fibers into the water. To prevent that, purchase some filter bags like Guppyfriend and put them over the clothes before washing.