As society becomes more aware of its choices, sustainability gains serious momentum across many industries. Fashion is hardly an exception. Eco-friendly fashion is a cultural movement within the clothing industry that focuses on reducing the environmental impact of manufacturing and use.
More and more people want to know where their clothes come from. They are also learning how to minimize their carbon footprint by making environmentally friendly fashion choices. Let’s take a closer look at bringing sustainable fashion into your life.
What Is Eco-Friendly Fashion?
Eco-friendly fashion is an environment-oriented approach to manufacturing and wearing clothes. The main principles of this fashion are:
- Ethical trade – transparency of the sources of materials, logistics, and manufacturing process
- Sustainable materials – use of sustainable materials and innovative fabrics made from renewable sources
- Waste reduction – manufacturing strategies aimed at minimizing fabric waste during production
- Recycling – recycling of old clothing and promoting the use of recycled materials
- Durability – producing high-quality and durable garments that can be worn for years
- Minimal resource consumption – minimizing the use of natural resources (implementing water-saving techniques, adopting renewable energy sources, using eco-friendly dyes, etc.)
Eco-friendly fashion promotes the adoption of a sustainable wardrobe. This wardrobe is a collection of garments manufactured with versatility, durability, and recycling in mind.
The Impact of Fashion on the Environment
Traditional fashion practices have a destructive effect on the environment. The industry is responsible for 8%-10% of humanity’s carbon emissions. If it continues to follow the current trajectory, the fashion industry’s share in the carbon budget could increase to 26% by 2050.
The main culprit of the significant footprint is “fast fashion,” which is becoming more and more widespread. This refers to cheap garments made from low-quality materials (60% of materials used by the industry are made from plastic) that are created to meet the latest fashion trends.
The fast fashion movement pollutes and dries up water resources. Meanwhile, 85% of all textiles go to the landfills every year. Many people don’t know that it takes 2,700 liters (71 gallons) of water to make just one t-shirt. That’s enough for one person to survive for almost 2.5 years.
The statistics demonstrate the need to make adjustments to the clothing manufacturing and wearing process. That’s why many brands are already trying to adopt at least some of the sustainability principles.
Identifying Sustainable Fashion
If you’ve decided to create a sustainable wardrobe, you need to learn how to identify sustainable fashion. When searching for eco-friendly garments, here are a few things to pay attention to:
Check what materials the garment is made of by reading the label. Natural sustainable fibers include organic cotton, recycled cotton, linen, bamboo linen, and hemp. Meanwhile, sustainable semi-synthetic fabrics are lyocell, modal, bamboo lyocell, EcoVero™, and SCOBY leather.
Check the label or go to the brand’s website to find out if the garments you are buying are certified for sustainability. While many certifications can indicate the environmental friendliness of your garment, the most well-known are Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Oeko-Tex®, Bluesign®, Fair Trade, and Regenerative Organic Alliance.
The key to the garment’s eco-friendliness is the way it was manufactured. Take the time to research the brand you prefer to find out whether they focus on sustainability. Transparent brands are always willing to share their manufacturing practices.
Building a Sustainable Wardrobe
Transitioning to an eco-friendly wardrobe doesn’t mean compromising on style or breaking the bank. By adopting a few key strategies, you can create a sustainable garment collection that reflects your style.
Quantity Over Quality
Go for well-made investment pieces that can stand the test of time. While the price tag on those garments may be higher, they will serve you much longer. If you get tired of wearing this piece, you can easily sell, donate, or recycle it.
Thrift stores, consignment shops, and online platforms provide access to high-quality second-hand items. Shopping for these garments doesn’t just reduce waste. It allows you to discover one-of-a-kind pieces that add character to your wardrobe.
Mixing and Matching
Get creative with mixing and matching. This can help you reinvent your existing pieces. Experiment with different combinations to create new outfits and styles. Layering, accessorizing, and adding statement items can breathe new life into old favorites.
Caring for Your Eco-Friendly Wardrobe
Once you build your sustainable wardrobe, you have to reinvent your approach to maintenance. Without proper care, even the highest-quality investment pieces can give out in just a few years.
- Take the time to read the care labels and follow the instructions
- Mend minor damage instead of throwing the garment out
- Properly store items when they aren’t in use
Each sustainable item requires a personalized approach. You can maximize your sustainability efforts by buying environmentally friendly detergents.
Another major step toward a sustainable wardrobe is taking advantage of eco-friendly dry cleaning. Instead of using harmful chemicals, eco-friendly dry cleaners use biodegradable solvents manufactured from natural sources.
The Role of Consumers in Promoting Sustainable Fashion
While many brands are working hard to promote eco-friendly manufacturing, a lot of companies continue following the fast fashion rules. It’s up to the consumers to support the eco-friendly fashion movement not just by building sustainable wardrobes but also by sharing these values with others.
- Contact brands directly to share your desire to buy sustainable products
- Join local sustainability groups
- Support brands that use eco-friendly manufacturing techniques
- Educate your social media followers about sustainable fashion
Since consumer demand can influence brands’ approach to manufacturing, expressing your opinion about the carbon footprint can have a positive effect.
Innovations and Trends in Sustainable Fashion
In the fashion industry, the sustainability trend is becoming stronger every year. The latest advancements in the field include digital IDs that help increase supply chain transparency, the use of AI for effective recycling, and the invention of plastic-free leather alternatives.
Brands that are actively supporting the sustainability movement today include Levi’s, Reformation, People Tree, tentree, Adidas, and Patagonia. These companies aren’t just impressively transparent about the manufacturing process. They tend to come up with sustainability initiatives that support the movement and build awareness.
Embracing Eco-Friendly Fashion
By making sustainable choices when building your wardrobe, you don’t just reduce your carbon footprint. You support the sustainability movement and make a significant contribution to the planet’s future.
You don’t need to replace your wardrobe overnight. Take it one item at a time. While you are doing this, consider switching to an eco-friendly trusted dry cleaner. At OXXO Cleaners that Care, we use environmentally friendly dry cleaning techniques to support your sustainable fashion choices.