Traditional fashion has been known to leave a significant carbon footprint. In fact, according to statistics published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the fashion industry is the second-largest consumer of water, generating 20% of the world’s wastewater. It also accounts for 8-10% of global carbon emissions – more than international flights and maritime shipping combined. At this rate, the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions will exceed 50% by 2030.
Despite these alarming, widely published statistics and detrimental environmental impacts, the fashion industry continues to grow. The inclination towards fast fashion which supports mass production, frequent consumption and a short lifespan of usage, is one reason. Consumers are keen on buying pieces in line with seasonal trends that get discarded in just a few months. This is certainly not sustainable.
In light of these growing environmental concerns, there is an urgent need to radically transform consumption and production systems. And while fashion will always be here to stay, there is great need for a change towards sustainable fashion.
What is sustainable fashion?
Sustainable fashion is a two-fold concept. First, it is about designing, sourcing, and producing clothes in environmentally and socio-economically sustainable ways. Second, it involves sustainable patterns of consumption. Thus, the implications of sustainable fashion extend from the cotton fields, right up to the wardrobe. It is imperative that consumers shift their attitude and behaviour towards the clothes they buy, towards sustainability.
There is a rising awareness of our responsibility towards the environment and society. Because of this, an increasing number of companies are reimagining their business models to improve their supply chains in an effort to reduce environmental impacts, provide better social conditions for artisans, etc. Evolving technology and research are also assisting in making the fashion industry more sustainable. For instance, Materials extracted from plastic in the oceans are being used to make shoes and apparel.
Features of sustainable fashion
- High quality and timeless design
- Eco-friendliness, from production to consumption
- Made-to-order bespoke clothing
- The capacity to be used over a long period of time
- Desirability – consumers are attracted to great design, fabrics and colours. That is their first consideration. Only after this follows environmental concerns. Which is why sustainable clothing should also be desirable, in order to be chosen for purchase.
What can consumers do?
The change should begin with consumers, as everything else hinges on their demand. They must be aware of what they purchase.
As a consumer, here are a few steps to take:
- Before buying, ask if the clothes were made sustainably
- Buy only what you need
- Choose quality over quantity
- Combine your pieces creatively, adding the right fashion accessories for more styles with less
- Donate to charity what you no longer use or fit into
Sustainability will prevail in the fashion industry when all elements surrounding it will be met. This includes clothes being manufactured in eco-friendly ways, organic cultivation of raw materials, fair wages for workers, provision of their basic human rights, and the following of safety measures in the workplace.
What is slow fashion?
As mentioned earlier, the fashion industry has not been kind to the environment. As a solution to this negative environmental cost, fashion industries must move in the direction of slow fashion.
Slow fashion is a movement that strives to improve sustainability by encouraging both retailers and consumers to have an ethical approach towards fashion. It focuses on more sustainable practices, including the usage of better-quality materials for longer use and using eco-friendly inks for print, and a slowing-down of manufacturing. Slow fashion items promise durable, functional, stylish and sustainable clothing for mindful consumers.
Slow fashion is a personal choice. It is a natural lifestyle preference that includes choosing clothes that transcend time and trend. It is conscious and mindful of the environment. It is holistic and considers the entire product lifecycle. It is, in fact, the ethical choice.
These fashion pieces will cost more, but will pay for themselves through lasting longer. Remember, slow fashion can help you look good, feel good and do good!
Here’s how you can opt for slow fashion:
- Start with buying less, and shopping less frequently
- You might want to consider second-hand or vintage clothing
- Avoid fast fashion brands
- Choose your fabrics wisely. Silk, linen, hemp, organic cotton and wool are the most environment friendly
- Avoid greenwashing – read up to get your facts straight
- Look for fashion transparency
- Consider smaller businesses or local brands
- Pick quality clothes with a longer lifespan
- Choose timeless designs that are not affected by seasonal trends
- Do not unnecessarily dispose
Slow fashion is the future. And we need to think ahead of the curve and work towards understanding how to transition towards it through collaboration and creativity between designers and manufacturers, stakeholders and end users.
Zady CEO and Co-Founder Maxine Bédat, highlights the role played by consumers in making sustainable fashion choices: “The clothing we choose to wear everyday has an enormous impact on the planet and its people. Our clothing can either continue to be a major part of the problem, or it can be an enormous part of getting our planet on track. The choice is ultimately ours.”
At Capsule by Juliette, we create limited collections of timeless pieces inspired by nature and women. We champion slow fashion through natural fabrics and employ local, traditional techniques. We are mindful of wastage and are controlling our stocks and using all purchased fabrics. We strive to offer our customers the best value for their money, and dress them in styles that are unique and appealing to them. If you would like to know more about the sustainable practices we use, do get in touch with us.
You can also visit our website to discover our timeless French fashions for women.