Responsible fashion is all about reducing the carbon footprint that the fashion industry has created. Is it possible to change our habits and start making better purchasing decisions when sewing and choosing clothes? How do we actually make the leap? These are popular questions you probably ask yourself. I know I am curious, so let’s see what’s trending in fashion sustainability and what we can do to make more sustainable fashion choices.
Creating a wardrobe with quality pieces means less “shopping the sale” and investing in pieces that will stand the test of time. A capsule wardrobe contains staples pieces that all work interchangeably, which means fewer pieces and fewer headaches when deciding what to wear. Purge clothing that isn’t a necessity in your daily routine by upcycling, reselling, or donating to a friend or charities for those in need in your community.
Recycled & Organic Materials
Specifically, recycled fabrics like polyester and cotton are much better for the environment. Recycled materials create notably less waste and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Recycled materials can convert post-industrial and post-consumer waste into new materials. Another option is organic fabrics like cotton, which is better than other materials but not quite as eco-friendly as recycled ones. It is non-GMO and grown without the use of harmful chemicals like pesticides. Organic cotton is mostly made using water from rainfall which greatly reduces water waste created from traditional cotton. The aim is to create a more circular fashion model.
Faux Materials Only
Genuine leather contributes to greenhouse gases, pollution, and deforestation, among other concerns. Luxury designers are turning to leather alternatives such as grape or mushroom leather. Some designers are releasing items in their collections in faux leather alternatives. For example, Louis Vuitton dropped a leather-free version of sneakers the brand already offers for an eco-friendly alternative.
Sustainable fashion is good, but I hear that regenerative fashion is better. Regenerative fashion focuses on restoring and renewing natural ecosystems by manufacturing garments using raw materials produced through agricultural processes. Once these garments are done with their life cycle, they then decompose and replenish plants and soil instead of destroying them.
Some brands are making the move to slow fashion by incorporating fewer styles and fewer quantities to avoid excess waste in landfill. For the home sewist, pieces are almost exclusively made to order, which is what makes it so special. Now, some brands are also adapting this model. Making clothing you need while using materials you already have is a relatively easy way to incorporate a sustainable practice into your life.
Adapting sustainable and regenerative fashion practices into your life will help change the future of the planet. Take steps towards sustainable fashion by setting goals and holding yourself, designers, and retailers accountable for the items they produce. Fashion is about expressing yourself, and it can be responsibly done when thoughtful purchasing decisions are at the forefront of our minds.
I think it is essential to recognize that all polyester/plastic fabrics shed microplastics when washed, including recycled and faux fur/leather. Recycled is good, but it’s not a golden standard.