The fashion industry has a reputation of producing trendy seasonal clothing using synthetic fabrics to keep costs low and most will end up in landfill after only been worn a few times as it is not made to last. This practice, now known as Fast Fashion has a negative impact on both the environment and human rights. The ideas of slow fashion and sustainable fashion encourage people to consider the impact of their clothing choices on the planet.
In May 2023 a disturbing photo was published by SkyFi on Twitter. A massive accumulation of discarded fast fashion clothing in Chile's Atacama Desert has become visible to satellites, reminding us of the consequences of supporting the fast fashion industry. The clothes, produced in countries like Bangladesh and China and intended for retail stores worldwide, are sent to Chile when they remain unsold. An estimated 39,000 tons of these garments end up in landfills in the Atacama Desert, as they are not biodegradable and often contain harmful chemicals. The growing mound of clothes attracts scavengers seeking items to wear or sell. This disturbing image highlights the urgent need for a shift towards sustainable fashion practices.
What is Considered Sustainable Fashion?
Sustainable fashion means producing, distributing, and using clothes in an environmentally friendly way. It involves using recycled or organic materials, reducing waste and pollution, and ensuring fair work practices. Slow fashion is the opposite of fast fashion, as it promotes buying quality garments made from natural fibres that last longer and reduce the need to buy new clothes. Slow Fashion can also include sharing clothes with friends or renting clothing for one-off events.
How Can Fashion be Sustainable?
There are lots ways in which fashion can become more sustainable. Some brands are recycling plastic bottles or old clothing to make fibres which are woven into new clothing. This reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and helps to conserve natural resources.
Another way is by using organic materials such as organic cotton, linen, hemp or bamboo, which are grown without the use of harmful pesticides and chemicals. Not only are these materials better for the planet, but they are also softer and more breathable. Natural fibres are also biodegradable, which means they won't sit in landfills for hundreds of years.
By choosing to support brands that are making an effort to be more sustainable, consumers can help to bring change to the fashion industry. Some of our favourite sustainable fashion brands include Braintree Hemp and Kingston Grange Bamboo.
The Kingston Grange collection features both men's and women's clothing which is not only comfortable but also environmentally friendly. Bamboo is a highly sustainable material that requires little water and no pesticides or fertilisers to grow. Plus, bamboo is naturally anti-bacterial, making the shirts odour-resistant and easy to care for.
Levi's are weaving sustainability into everything they do, recycling and reusing water, sourcing their cotton sustainably, and using factories with worker well-being programs. Their Buy Better|Wear Longer campaign encourages consumers to buy quality Levi's jeans and care for them correctly so that they last longer. In their product descriptions they promote sustainable care of their products: wash less, wash cold, line dry, donate or recycle.
Reer Endz are committed to walking a little lighter on our planet and are taking the steps to a more sustainable future, ensuring their men's undies are eco-friendly, making them Better for you & Better for our Planet. Although it's harder to source and costs more, they choose GOTS-certified Organic Cotton for their
underwear. Organic cotton is grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers. This means that it doesn't harm the environment, soil, or any living organisms, including farmers growing it. It also reduces water consumption, as it needs less irrigation than conventionally grown cotton.
Brands working to make a difference
Whether their efforts are big or small, brands can implement practices which contribute to a more sustainable future. We love our Australian made brands and are pleased to highlight the positive steps made by them which will hopefully inspire others in the fashion industry to follow suit.
Lafitte has taken a small but meaningful step by rethinking their packaging. By eliminating the use of tape or stickers on their socks, Lafitte reduces unnecessary waste and contributes to a greener future.
Humphrey Law has embraced solar power as a significant change. With half of their factory's electricity generated from solar energy, every second sock they produce is powered by the sun.
Clothing Made from Recycled Materials
Clothing made from recycled materials is an exciting development in sustainable fashion.
95% of the Zoggs swimwear range is made from recycled plastic bottles and they are using packaging bags made from recycled material together with swing tags made from recycled card. They are also saving water consumption by moving to digital printing methods.
TORE recycled socks is one of our newer brands who produce 100% recycled socks made from recycled plastic bottles and t-shirts. Every single element used in the production, packaging and distribution of TORE socks is made up of recycled materials.
A 3 pair pack of TORE socks saves on average 1,050 litres of water, in comparison to traditional cotton socks. Each 3 pair pack of TORE socks is made using on average 2.4 plastic water bottles and 0.6 t-shirts diverting them from landfills and our oceans.
By using recycled materials, we can reduce waste and conserve natural resources, while still producing stylish and high-quality clothing. It's a win-win for both the environment and our wardrobes.
Taking care of clothes is important
Washing your clothes less often can save water and energy. Always choose cold water and hang your clothes to dry instead of using the dryer. This will also help your clothes last longer.
Clothes that have rips or tears may be able to be repaired. You can also upcycle old clothes into something new. Before you throw out your clothes, get creative and see what you can come up with!
Why does Sustainable Fashion matter
Sustainable fashion matters because the fashion industry is one of the most damaging industries for the environment because of its use of natural resources such as water and energy, the production of pollution and waste and the chemicals used in production.
Here are five tips for reducing your fashion environmental impact:
1. Buy Less - Carefully consider each clothing purchase. Buy high-quality, timeless garments made from natural fibres or recycled materials that can be worn again and again.
2. Support sustainable brands - Choose brands who use eco-friendly materials and production methods, reducing their impact on the environment.
3. Buy better quality - Your clothes will last longer and you will need to buy less .
4. Don't throw out old clothes - Repurposing old clothes through repair, redesign, or donation reduces waste.
5. Care for your clothes - Proper care, such as washing in cold water and only when necessary, can help clothes last longer and reduce water and energy usage.
By making small changes in our shopping habits, we can make a big difference in the fashion industry's impact on the planet. Let's choose sustainable clothing and support brands that prioritise the environment and fair labour. Every little bit helps!