At first glance, the innocent fashion industry is one of the main polluters of the environment. Clothing production is responsible for 10% of all CO2 emissions per year. It ranks 2nd in the world in the use of freshwater, while responsible for 20% of all industrial water pollution.
In addition, the fashion industry harms not only the environment but also sustainable development in general. The production of clothing often involves low-paid, almost slave labor, including the work of women and children.
Therefore, more and more people involved in the fashion industry talk about the need for change. One of them is Yana Chervinska is a Ukrainian fashion designer and the founder of the Sustainable Fashion Pad platform. She is one of those who promote the idea of sustainable fashion. Let’s check what she said for Rubryka.
What kind of sustainable fashion is it?
In short, sustainable fashion is an attempt to find an alternative to the historically established fashion industry. It produces several problems that run counter to the UN’s criteria for sustainable development. This is textile waste, water pollution in dyeing fabrics, and fertilizers used to cultivate cotton and flax. In addition, the criterion of sustainability is in the socio-economic aspect of fashion: very often clothing manufacturers do not pay due attention to the remuneration of their employees and the creation of decent working conditions.
She says that after the tragedy of 2013, the Fashion Revolution movement started in the world at the Rana Plaza plant in Bangladesh. At that time, 1,187 people, including many children and women, died in the collapse of an illegally completed house. They all worked in garment factories that sewed clothes for well-known mass-market brands. Fashion Revolution activists have raised the issue of protecting the rights of such workers around the world. After all, often the price of cheap things is due to the fact that it includes poorly paid work of people from poor countries, mostly women.
“Tthe brand must pay adequate salaries to its employees, and responsible, conscious fashion – it’s just about that,” says Chervinska.
Manufacturers are not solely responsible for the negative impact of fashion on sustainable development. She says that everyone “votes with a wallet” or for mass-market brands, which often cause significant damage to nature, or consciously chooses sustainable alternatives. To date, many brands have eco-friendly lines or have switched to a completely clean product. Here are some examples:
- The H&M Conscious line is made from recycled textiles assembled all over the world;
- Collaboration of Adidas and Run for the Oceans, which makes sneakers from plastic caught in the sea;
- Join Life line from Zara;
- Stable products of the Pangaia brand.
The cost of such lines is not higher than any other products of the same brands, so anyone who buys things from them can afford an ecological alternative.
Consumption and how to deal with it
According to Yana, it is very important to tell people that buying quality things is not only right but also profitable. More expensive but high-quality clothing can last longer and end up being more profitable than a mass-market product made using slave labor and harming the environment.
Another problem is overconsumption. Humankind today produces 400% more clothes than 20 years ago – despite the world’s population having not grown even 1.5 times during this period. In the United States, the average person throws out 22.5 kg of textile waste each year.
Another fundamental problem is the low awareness of what can be done with spoiled or unnecessary things. The best option is to give your things a second life by giving them to your relatives-acquaintances or handing them over to those who recycle and resell old clothes.
She says that each of us can take a few simple steps to make our wardrobe more environmentally friendly.
Browse your wardrobe. In order not to buy things out of a desire to buy something or under the influence of feelings, you need to understand what you already have
and what not to buy more. It is best to buy 1-2 things that will last for many years and at the same time are combined with clothes that you already have.
Discover reselling platforms. Many platforms on Instagram or Facebook help you sell things you don’t need or find things that no one else likes.
Buying from friends. Many little thought leaders, bloggers, or just your acquaintances can sell things they no longer like or like. If you are impressed by this person, you may be happy to wear his item, buying it at a low price.
Also, most of the things we throw away because of poor condition can actually be saved. The three main reasons why things end up in the landfill are shaggy, stains and holes. Here is what Jana advises to do in the following cases:
The machine for pellets. Shaggy is normal for natural wool or silk. The pellet shaver literally saves such things and gives them a second breath.
Stains can be removed. Most stains disappear after 2-3 washes, if you fight for them. If the stain is not removed even by dry cleaning, in some mystical way life hacks from the Internet work. Some combinations of ammonia, glycerin and laundry soap often work better than dry cleaning professionals.
Holes can be plugged. Appliques, embroidery, beads and stripes help not only to hide the hole, but also to make the thing more original and attractive than it was before.
As Yana says, doing the same with your things is right and cool. “It’s not a shame either, and vice versa – you should be proud that you continue to live your things.”
You may get to know more about how luxury brands are getting greener here.