Why 2019 Looks Set to Be A Huge Year for Fashion and Sustainability
In the past few years, there has been a series of different turning points which have quickly gathered pace and now, we sit at the tipping point of what could be perhaps the most significant year yet when it comes to sustainable fashion.
A whole new type of fashion-focused scrutiny has come into the limelight recently, but sustainability isn’t something that you often associate with fashion. Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, sitting only behind oil. With worldwide crackdowns on plastic and unsustainable production methods, is the fashion that we wear really that bad for the environment?
Why the Fashion Industry Has A Huge Impact on the Environment
It takes, on average, 2,700 litres of water to make a single t-shirt and we produce more than 80 billion pieces of clothing per year. Around 73% of clothing ends up in landfill once they are no longer needed, making 53 million tonnes of waste per year. Most of the waste is disposed of by incinerating, with Burberry reportedly burning more than $36.5 million worth of unsold clothing in 2017.
This tends to be a common practice within the fashion industry, with many other brands including H&M, Louis Vuitton and Chanel all noted to have done the same. Almost all clothing is fully recyclable, yet the fashion industry has a shockingly low rate of recycling, sitting at around 1%.
The choice of materials which clothing is made from also plays a huge role. The synthetic materials, such as nylon and polyester, are made using a process which pumps worryingly large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere and which isn’t biodegradable. Polyester, which can be found in over 60% of our clothing, counts as a microplastic as when washed, small fibres are released which then end up in our rivers and seas causing damage to aquatic life.
The manufacturing of nylon emits nitrous oxide, which is a greenhouse gas that has an almost 300 times bigger impact on the environment than carbon dioxide on global warming. Natural materials, such as wool, silk and cotton, are always a better choice, especially when you factor in organic materials as well.
Consumers Are Finding Sustainability More Important Than Ever
Consumers today are becoming increasingly more environmentally conscious than generations before and are making calls for companies to make sustainability and social responsibility one of the main parts of their business practice. Those that now fail to do so risk dividing a huge portion of their customer base.
Millennials, in particular, feel strongly about this issue, with 90% of them saying that they would buy from a brand that has environmental and social practices they can trust, with 95% of them saying that they would recommend these brands to their families and friends.
Consumers, on the whole, now want to know what type of material the clothes they are buying are made from, whether there were any toxic chemicals used and how waste products, such as water and plastic, are handled. They also want to know how and where their products were made, what the working conditions were like and if the workers were fairly paid.
Fashion Brands Are Beginning to Adopt Sustainable Practices
The message does seem to be, finally, getting across to fashion and beauty brands. A rising number of new and eco-friendly brands have started appearing on the market in recent years. Patagonia, the outdoor brand, for example, is one of the first brands to start making clothes out of recycled plastic bottles.
Some of the big brands have even begun stepping up their sustainability game. For example, Adidas have released a pair of running shoes made from entirely recycled marine plastic waste, as well as making jerseys for European soccer giants Bayern Munich and Real Madrid with the same material.
If you want to start shopping for more sustainable fashion choices, then take some time to research some of the newest and most popular sustainable clothing brands.
Laura Zabo is an up and coming fashion brand who save thousands of inner tubes and tyres from entering landfills by transforming them into a wide range of accessories, from sandals and belts to dog collars and leads. Scrap tyres are a massive problem across the globe, with around 3 billion tyres being dumped every year. They try to find creative and imaginative solutions to transform the increasing amount of waste that is growing on our planet, all whilst making sustainable and useful accessories.
The inspiration for Horizon Athletic came from Australia, where the brand originates. As a country surrounded by the ocean, the Australian environment sits at the forefront of the minds of sports and outdoor lovers who want to protect their beloved habitat.
Horizon Athletics’ aims are to raise awareness of the growing masses of plastic waste which currently pollutes our oceans, with some environmentalists predicting that in 30 years there will be little or no seafood available in the oceans. The fabric which Horizon use to make their range of swim and active wear is made from Econyl, which is a fibre specially created using abandoned fishing nets and other consumer waste products.
Rothy’s are a shoe brand whose sole focus is lowering the amount of plastic waste in our landfill system. Made from recycled water bottles, Rothy’s shoes come in 5 different styles and are perfect from taking you from the office to after-work drinks. Specially knitted by machines and crafted by hand, their shoes are constructed using a high-tech 3D knitting process which significantly reduces the amount of waste in the typical construction process.
Natalie Wilson is a freelance writer. She loves writing about the latest fashion and beauty trends and has a huge interest in sustainable fashion. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and planning her next shopping trip or travel destination. You can connect with her on Twitter @NatWilson976.