Sustainable Fashion is a term that we hear a lot nowdays, let me try to explain the true meaning of it. The word Sustainable means “maintained at a certain rate or level”. To sustain we must balance, and often competing limitations. This approach is called sustainable development.

Sustainable Development is a concept that was first heard in 1987. The concept warns against negative environmental consequences of rapid economic development and globalization and explores possible solutions to the problems derived from industrialization and the growth of the population.

Sustainable Development focuses on three important pillars:

  1. Care for the environment (Environmental Sustainability): Minimize the environmental impact to preserve and improve the health of the planet.
  2. Social welfare (Social Sustainability): Guarantee labor rights, personal, community and cultural development, improvements in quality of life, gender equality, among others.
  3. Economic growth (Economic Sustainability): Growth that generates equitable wealth without harming natural resources.

Applying this model of development to fashion, Sustainable Fashion consists of manufacturing garments and/or accessories with materials that do not harm the environment while offering high welfare and fair payments to the people involved.

The fashion industry is one of the most important industries worldwide. But unfortunately, it is the second most polluting industry as well. Here are some ugly facts about the industry that highlights the need of sustainable fashion as the only way forward:

  • 81 billion items of clothing are purchased globally in a year
  • 70 million tons of fabrics are used worldwide, annually, to make garments
  • 7 – number of times people wear a single garment before throwing it away
  • 10% of the water pollution in the rivers comes from the textile industries
  • The working hours for laborers in  textile manufacturing units are excessive with persistent exploitation
  • 150 million trees are cut down every year to create cellulose fibers such as Viscose, Modal or Lyocell

These are some of the hard realities of the industry. However, the time for change has arrived and here are some tips on how you can help by joining this important movement.

  1. Value your clothes and take care of it so that it lasts longer
  2. Buy second-hand clothes. You will be surprised to find treasures.
  3. Check the labels to see what material the garments and accessories are made of before buying.
  4. Buy and support sustainable brands.
  5. Transform pieces that are already in your closet
  6. Know your style to always choose the best and not regret it later
  7. Exchange clothes with your friends
  8. Support movements such as Fashion Revolution and Slow Fashion Movement

Remember that as consumers we have the power to choose. Let’s choose ethical and sustainable fashion! 🙂

Cover photo by Ethan Bodnar, Unsplash