Sustainability is, no doubt, a large topic in the world today; not to mention trending all over the internet. One recent trend on search engines is the topic of sustainable fashion. So what exactly is sustainable fashion? We will dive into that below, and the potential future of the fashion industry in relevancy to this new sustainable trend.
There is no doubt that consumers are now more "sustainable" minded today with their purchase decisions when they are choosing to purchase clothing. But, for simplicity, we will define what sustainable fashion really is in one sentence: Sustainable fashion is the practice of assuring (and executing) that the entire supply chain from raw material, to production of the finished good, is sustainable and environmentally friendly.
This means that, yes that shirt you're buying is made from all natural bamboo fibers, the sticker slapped on says so right? But how can we truly know that those bamboo fibers were sourced in a sustainable way? The truth is, we don't. This lack of knowledge is part of the problem plaguing the apparel industry today.
No matter the source of the material, or material that is included within the article of clothing that you are currently wearing. That material had to be sourced from utilizing some sort of input in it's creation. For example, bamboo harvesting generally comes with deforestation. Creating polymers for specific types of clothing can lead to water, or air pollution. It is imperative that sources and methods of production are observed in a larger light, to then try and generate solutions to this new trending concern with many internet researchers, and clothing patrons.
The Future of Sustainable Fashion
What then, does this mean for the future of clothing? There are already trends starting to develop in consumer buying patterns. Many are starting to do research into if: the clothing is made to last, how much material was re-used during production, and how the surrounding environment was affected by producing such materials. A lot of the information is hard to come by, however, and this makes making knowledgeable purchase decisions difficult when it comes to clothing and sustainable fashion.
One way that the tide can start turning is to start producing clothing with naturally occurring fibers in the environment with sustainable harvesting practices. Natural fibers include: cottons, hemp, and linen. This is up against artificial fibers like polyester or plastic based, lab manufactured materials that produce environmental waste in creation, and disposal. The twist there is that, although the artificial fibers are more environmentally harmful, they are usually cheaper to produce, and therefore, cheaper at the shelf. This can easily be resolved by implementing better recycling and sourcing practices for these materials.
There have been advances in science and technology that have offered more sustainable artificial clothing. Accel Lifestyle has developed a artificial fabric that is able to be more environmentally friendly which includes American grown Supima cottons. Patents are currently pending in 120 countries for this material which is not only stronger than its predecessors, but softer with anti-microbial properties.
This is just one step in a large leap for a sustainable fashion industry. As technology advances, more solutions will start to creep into view, however, cost plays a large role when it comes to fashion. Generally when new methods are developed, and quality is increased, costs go with them.
Please feel free to read an informative Forbes article here on the sustainable fashion industry.
What do you think? Is this a governmental problem where these materials are being sourced? Share, comment, and think below!
Thank you for reading!