Sustainable Fashion. Eco-friendly fashion.
Sustainable Fashion. Eco-friendly fashion.
Slow Fashion: Slow Fashion focuses on sustainable processes, environmental responsibility and fair treatment of resources in fashion articles production.
The term "eco-friendly" has been widely manipulated by the world of advertising and companies linked to mass consumption. The use of these trends to get closer to consumer preferences, especially in the first world, has resulted in many brands using them in a deceptive way to capitalize on consumer tastes. Eco-friendly products can be found today in all kinds of markets, from shaving foam to bottled water, eco-friendly packaging and low impact advertising campaigns. However, the term eco-friendly goes a little further. According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of eco-friendly refers to "not harmful to the environment" and this refers to the product in its entire cycle. This means taking into account the way in which users consume it and discard it, from the design process to manufacturing, consumption and the final return of the product to the recyclable process. Naturally, many of the articles we know do not meet the minimum profiles of an eco-friendly product, and yet they are presented to us as authentic "Environmentally Friendly" products.
What is Sustainable Fashion
The fashion world has experienced a slowdown due to global changes. This slowdown impacts consumer habits, the mobility of people and the closure of markets where the main brands are made, such as India, Pakistan or China. It is estimated that less than 32% of all garments contain synthetic fibers that will take more than 500 years to degrade or that will end up being cremated. More than 10,000 liters of water are needed for the manufacture of a kilo of cotton, the amount of water that an average human being would drink in 10 years. So, the fashion world generates 20% of wastewater on a global scale.
Sustainable fashion is a trend that tries to educate consumers about the environmental impact of the fashion industry. The second industry, after oil, with the most impact on the destruction of ecosystems.
The Sustainable Fashion revolution is already underway. Companies like H&M, Adidas, Jack & Jones, Puma and North Face have already started to change their production practices and strategies. They further try to influence consumption patterns and consumer habits with more timeless designs, unisex garments, and pesticides-free organic cotton fibers. They even promote reuse and exchange of clothes to help slow down the rampant creation of new garments and the destruction of entire ecosystems.
The useless habit of recycling
The first references to the habit of recycling as a common practice come from Plato in the 4th century BC, when resources were scarce and difficult to get. Recent archaeological studies reveal that the ancients were highly prone to recycling in response to the difficulty of acquiring the products at that time. Over time recycling spread from natural materials to man-made materials, such as polymers and petroleum derivatives, which take much longer to degrade. We live on a blue planet that does not expand, and that provides us with the necessary resources to stay alive. This means that we are interconnected to the rest of the ecosystems, so it is useless to recycle if we do not know that we are recycling or what is the true impact of our actions.
Consuming a bottle of water takes on average around 6 minutes. It takes the ecosystem around 450 years to degrade that bottle. This is an obviously disadvantageous exchange for the environment, which ends up accumulating all the toxic waste in artificial islands washed away by currents. The main drawback is that people who legislate on these types of environmental problems do not live long enough to see the real impact of their decisions. This can change! Now YOU can take actions that have medium- and long-term measurable results. Simply, you can change your consumption practices so that the habit of recycling is not a pointless action but part of a real change.
Fashion always played a double game for society: the need to cover ourselves and the need to express ourselves. Nowadays a third and more toxic function has been incorporated into the consumption game, the need to buy as a hobby as a compulsive way to release stress. According to a 2017 WRAP report on “Valuing Our Clothes: the cost of UK fashion” [July 11, 2017]. The cost value of clothes purchased and never used in closets amounted to $ 37.7 billion in the United Kingdom that year alone. In addition, fashion houses revealed they usually burned their unsold products so as not to harm the brand. This carries the usual environmental damage, compounded with the fact that clothing is more expensive to dispose of than to produce and buy it. An example very similar to that of the water bottle.
Truly eco-friendly initiatives.
The new "green initiatives" include eco-friendly products, eco-friendly packaging, longer consumption cycles and the use of information technologies. A more practical, focused approach, rather than "symbolic" solutions, is needed to bring about change in the fashion world. For example, the “Follow Our Fiber” program [#asiapacificrayon] offers the possibility of tracking the entire process of the value chain using Blockchain technology. Tracking the finished products to the origins in the plantation wherever it is located.
Linking the fibers using marking codes can link the consumer directly to the producer of the garment and the life cycle of the fiber. These are real initiatives provided with a practical sense and applicable in the medium and short term.
Sustainable Fashion Brands.
Initiatives based on technology and environmental education have proven to be efficient in the process of reducing our environmental impact. Companies such as Virala, H&M Group, VOT Eyewear, RGE and Fortum have invested in programs to convert industrial waste such as textile fibers and plastics into materials that are reinserted into the production, distribution and consumption chain again. This is the first step towards true Slow Fashion and towards ecological fashion. Proof that through education, technology and an objective and feasible commitment, we can reverse years of indiscriminate depredation.