Sustainable Fashion is a BIG term. Everyone seems to look at it from a different perspective, big-box retailers use it to polish their green marketing. But what does the term 'sustainable fashion' actually describe? And why does it matter?
Protecting the Planet
When referring to sustainable fashion, most people inherently think of environmental sustainability. Of business practices and policies that limit our impact on the environment and help us fight climate change and environmental pollution. For fashion, it could mean anything from the way our clothes are produced to the material it is made of. A t-shirt made from linen or hemp would be considered sustainable over an acrylic t-shirt. And that's exactly how most companies use the term.
But What About People?
Saving the planet is a worthy goal, but what about business practices that, at the same time, trap people in jobs that don't even pay a minimum wage? Sustainability, not just according to us, but according to its official definition, also has a social component. In its social dimensions, sustainability refers to the idea that people should not be hindered by structural obstacles. Think for example of access to education, empowerment of women, and social justice.
So Why Is Sustainable Fashion Important?
We think sustainable fashion is a no-brainer. Protecting our planet and building mechanisms so people have a decent chance in life should be common practice and figure into every person's and business' calculation. Unfortunately, in today's fashion industry, sustainability still ranks very low as a percentage of overall clothes produced - contrary to what marketing and greenwashing might suggest.
The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. It is also remarkably known for wages that don't suffice to make a living and for unsafe work conditions. That does not have to be the case.
Truly sustainable fashion can help us ensure our planet stays 'healthy' for future generations and can set the foundation for the prosperity of people across the world. It does matter if your t-shirt was made by a mom that can afford to send her kids to school, or by a mother that has to send her kids to work at the age of 11. According to True Cost, there are roughly 40 million garment workers worldwide, with 85% of them being women. So that is impact and a number that scale up quickly.
Curious how that can look like? Stay tuned as we address these issues in future blog posts on our sustainable fashion blog.