Sustainability is the New Black: The Climate is Not a Trend
By Phoebe J Carney, Contributor
Sustainability, the word that’s on everyone’s lips. And rightly so. As David Attenborough fills our screens with words of caution and implores us to change our ways, we must treasure him (of course) but more importantly, we must listen to him.
When it comes to fashion, a passion for the things we wear makes us feel comfortable, proud, excited and daring. So surely making it second nature to think about where our clothes have come from and how they were made comes hand in hand with this?
With the UK sending almost a million tonnes of fabric to landfill every year, not to mention waste that is incarcerated, Co2 that is produced, habitats that are destroyed and workers that are poorly treated, buying new clothes has become a little scary.
There are so many alternative ways we can shop that will not only appease the guidelines of sustainability, but will allow us to enjoy the creativity and self-expression that fashion is really about.
Here are some accessible ways to shop sustainably:
- Second-hand and vintage. The answer is quite simple. Why constantly buy new clothes when millions are already out there? Each piece has a history, a story and has stood the test of time. There’s nothing like finding a 90s leather jacket and wondering where that slight cuff on the sleeve came from.
- Rent. This may seem unfamiliar and daunting, but renting provides an opportunity to broaden your style without committing to a purchase. It’s perfect for an event that you need a one-time-wear dress for, or a holiday where you want to look chic and glamorous without having to clog up a drawer with hardly worn items. You can shop rental at Selfridges’ new Hurr Collective.
- Clothes swaps. Need an excuse to get together with friends, drink and eat nibbles? Bring a bag of unworn items with you and get swapping. You never know, one woman’s trash could be another woman’s treasure!
- Support smaller, independent brands. This way you can fully understand the supply chain. If you engage with the people who make your clothes, you will appreciate them for longer and be more reluctant to throw them away.
One brand that can sincerely shout about sustainability is UK based Gung Ho. Born out of an ambition to push boundaries in sustainable fashion, their collections are not just handmade locally using sustainable fabrics, but they also weave more meaning into the prints by illustrating particular environmental issues.
Another ethically conscious brand is Birdsong who create original clothing staples that are ethical and sustainable. The products are made by expert women makers facing barriers to employment in the UK. Their mission has always been to create clothes that women feel good about wearing and use their brand to inspire and implement change in fashion.
The constant turnaround of trends that leads to overconsumption is what gives fast fashion its name, and sustainability is the one trend we cannot, by any means, let fade into the back of our wardrobes and leave forgotten. Turn this trend into a lifestyle. Do it for David!
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