We have been talking for many years about the protection of the planet, but today more than ever, it is important to apply this concept also to fashion, one of the most polluting industries in the world.
Fashion, in addition to polluting more than major transport, follows a “disposable” logic, dictated by impulsive buying, which contributes largely to global pollution as well as to the exploitation of workers.
This is also conditioned by the immediacy of online purchases, the convenience of fast fashion and therefore low cost and social media, which spread countless and very fast trends that run out just as quickly.
When we talk about sustainable fashion, however, we are talking about a part of the fashion system that tends to establish a harmonious relationship with the environment and people.
In fact, the concept of sustainable fashion is closely linked to the more general one of ethics and environmental sustainability.
Currently, many consumers are becoming more and more aware.
They are increasingly attentive to the environmental conditions of the planet and of workers.
They want to know where a garment comes from and how it is produced, they are no longer satisfied with buying and wearing beautiful clothes but they want to dress eco-friendly.
Between contradictions and obstacles, however, the fashion business is trying to transform itself into a sustainable system.
And we can contribute by gaining awareness.
What is sustainable fashion?
Sustainable fashion is fashion that respects the environment and society in all its phases: from design to production, through distribution to sale.
This fashion proposal seeks to work with less polluting raw materials, reduce waste in production such as water and electricity costs and produce durable garments, stimulating conscious consumption.
Furthermore, this model proposes a more humane production, without exploitation of workers and with a more equitable remuneration.
Sustainable fashion also means that a brand, a brand or a chain decides to produce its own clothing without using fabrics and materials that contain toxic substances for the environment and people.
These substances, not being biodegradable, pollute the environment and accumulate on the tissues, becoming potentially harmful to our body.
The aim is therefore to:
Change productivity so that it is sustainable in the long run and with a low environmental impact.
Being able to find materials that are ecological and renewable. These fibers must be able to be created with minimal waste of natural resources in order to preserve nature.
All this, however, does not mean denying consumers attractive products in line with the latest trends, quite the contrary.
It simply means that by purchasing a garment produced by a brand that offers sustainable fashion, you are doing good to the environment and to humanity.
Circular economy vs linear economy
Nowadays, the environmental unsustainability of the fashion industry is there for all to see.
The rhythms of life have become increasingly frenetic and with these, so have the rhythms of purchase.
We buy things that we don’t really need to throw them almost new after a short time without being recycled.
This has led the apparel industries to produce more and more garments faster and faster.
This results in low-priced, poor-quality clothing.
This reality, where every good is created, used and finally thrown away, takes the name of linear economy.
This system over the years has caused enormous damage to our planet such as the contamination of seas and land, too much waste and has increasingly increased social inequality.
To combat this model, the circular economy was born.
An economic system that regenerates itself, reusing the materials in subsequent production cycles, thus allowing the reduction of waste.
It is a circle in which the materials continue to turn, never losing their usefulness.
The circular economy can also be applied to clothing, in order to create sustainable, ethical and responsible fashion.
The problem is that not all fibers and fabrics can be recycled, so thinking seriously about the life cycle of a product means choosing the right raw materials right from the start.
There is still a long way to go, today very few old clothes are used to make new ones.
However, brand initiatives are multiplying to encourage customers to recycle, to try to switch fashion from a linear to a circular system as quickly as possible.
Sustainable fashion: recycle and regenerate
Thinking in a circular way means thinking that every garment we have can live forever: just make sure it is recycled or regenerated.
Recycling means converting a waste into a new material or a new object of the same value.
It involves destroying it to recreate another one that is the same or different, giving it a new life.
Therefore, the purpose of recycling is to recover waste materials and transform them into reusable materials.
The benefits of recycling on the environment are:
- It reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators.
- Conserve natural resources such as water and minerals.
- It prevents pollution by reducing the collection of raw materials.
- Saves significant amounts of energy.
Regenerating means reusing scraps and waste, without destroying them, to create products that have a greater value.
It is a type of recycling that allows the new product to be worth more than before.
Regenerating allows the product to have a new life, a new shape and above all a new purpose.
The benefits of regenerating are:
- It conserves the environment and reduces the amount of waste.
- It reduces production costs and the use of raw materials.
- Extend the life of materials by creating a new product.
- It guarantees greater energy savings compared to recycling.
To put sustainability in the foreground, several brands of the international fashion system have decided to make the procedures transparent, certifying the fabrics used as free of toxic substances.
To date, sustainable brands are very numerous.
Among those that still cannot be defined as 100% green, however, there is at least the awareness that product sustainability is becoming an increasingly determining factor in consumer choices.