What’s the latest trend in fashion? Sustainability and eco-friendly fashion are for sure are among the most important.
Several fashion brands – old and new – are taking the initiative to become more eco-friendly. The purpose of taking steps to become more eco-friendly in fashion is to reduce the overall fashion industry’s carbon footprint. By opting into sustainable and eco-friendly fashion practices, fashion brands’ initiatives have a major positive impact on the environment, while implementing ethical standards and without sacrificing style.
How does the fashion industry contribute to pollution?
The fashion industry is no stranger to using tremendous resources, as it is one of the biggest water consumers. Harvesting cotton is not that easy as it seems. It uses 20,000 liters of water to produce just 2.2 lbs of cotton, according to WWF. A single cotton t-shirt takes 2,700 liters of water to produce.
In addition to the production of cotton, tons of water is used for the dying process for all of our clothing. When textile factories dump untreated toxic dyes directly into rivers, the toxic chemicals are extremely harmful to the health of wildlife and aquatic life. Millions of people are also affected by those who use the same water supply. The same water will run through to the sea and spread around the world affecting millions of people and animals.
The environmental effects of the fashion industry are only getting worse. As stated by Newsweek, in less than 20 years, the volume of clothing Americans throw out each year has doubled from 7 million to 14 million tons. Throwing out clothes is a total waste of money, while it also ruins the environment.
From upcycling to innovating new materials and technologies, we already have many good solutions to sustainability. It’s up to the big companies to practice sustainability and pledge to help save the environment.
Clothing brands leading the way in sustainability
Established in 2010, Everlane strives to use the most sustainable materials and invest in new fabric innovations to ensure they are reducing their impact on the planet. The company also states that Everland prioritizes natural fibers and uses recycled synthetics. In addition to using eco-friendly materials, they also ensure the safety and wellbeing of their factory workers. They are committed to developing strong relationships with their suppliers. They also work with third-party auditors to evaluate fair wages, labor conditions, and a safe working environment.
Eileen Fisher has a long history of supporting women and girls as stated on their website. The company is committed to raising awareness of its three values:
- Practicing business responsibly with absolute regard for human rights,
- Guiding our product and practice toward sustaining our environment.
- Supporting women to be full participants in society.
Eileen Fisher’s “Social Consciousness team” extends from different areas of the company from marketing to manufacturing, design, and finance. In their environmental vision, they pay very close attention to the organic materials they use. They also take care of the water supply and human rights – making sure their workers earn a fair wage. They believe that clothing should be ethical, timeless, well-made, and be a part of a responsible life cycle.
The brand created its “Waste No More ” system, where the company takes back the clothing consumers no longer want and transforms them into new designs. Over one million pieces of clothing have been given a second life since 2009.
Patagonia has established environmental and animal welfare responsibility programs, and social responsibility programs to guide how they create their materials and products while ensuring that their products are produced under safe, fair, legal, and humane working conditions.
The brand states on its website that the company works closely with its suppliers and holds them (and Patagonia) to the highest environmental and social standards. The company also established a “Waste Not Collection” where they craft certain products from leftover materials.
The North Face
The North Face is committed to “Protect The Places we Love To Explore”. They set an ambitious goal to ensure all products they make are crafted with either recycled, regenerative, or responsibly sourced material, as they are committed to keeping them out of waterways.
In addition to using sustainable materials for their products, the brand is initiating change in the environment. Also, they are committed to keeping gear out of landfills and eliminating single-use plastics by 2025. Until then, the company is working to reduce the amount of plastic they are using when it comes to shipping.
The brand is also working with suppliers and retailers to help reduce its environmental footprint. It has a positive impact on the fashion industry as a whole. They established their Renewed program, in which previously worn gear gets a second life. Furthermore, they settled three specific programs that will launch in 2022, the Limited Lifetime Warranty Program, the Renewed Collection, and the Clothes the Loop program.
The eco-friendly luxury resale market
Nowadays, the luxury resale market is growing four times than the primary market. It is projected to double in value over the next five years, according to Luxe Digital. The sales of preloved luxury items are popular amongst the younger generation who are obsessed with luxury fashion.
A brand that is embracing the Luxury resale market is Farfetch’s Second Life, where customers can sell the luxury goods they no longer want. By reselling their item, it gains a “second life.”
Launched in 1999, the largest luxury resale company Fashionphile is committed to producing less waste in the environment. One of the company’s favorite phrases is, “Used is the New New”. As it has never been more true than right now. Sustainable and eco-friendly fashion includes purchasing luxury items second-hand, which means less waste for the environment.
Fashionphile’s “Buy Back Program” is the “chicest way to recycle.” This program is for customers to sell back their Fashionphile purchase to the company for 75% of the item’s original price. The website claims, “Customers love BuyBacks for so many reasons–it completely erases buyer’s remorse and essentially allows you to “rent” a bag for six months for just 30% of the price–but our favorite thing about BuyBacks is its potential impact on the environment.”
Overall, the fashion industry is the second-largest polluter in the world, after the oil industry, according to SustainYourStyle.Org. As the fashion industry expands, unfortunately, the environmental damage increases. There are many solutions and alternatives to help change the environment, in the ways we practice sustainability and the way we shop for clothing.
Don’t forget to check our article about landfills and how to stop your clothes from ending up there.