Sustainability in the Fashion WorldLucinda Winston
These days, consumers are seeking eco-friendly products more than ever, and the fashion industry is no exception. Sustainable fashion can mean many things, from ethical manufacturing processes, to environmentally friendly fabrics. With many designers eschewing sweatshop conditions and unfair wages for their workers, and embracing new forms of production, consumers can expect the ethical trend to stick around for longer than one season. Here’s how:
What makes a fabric ethical? Most consider three criteria to distinguish eco-friendly fabrics from ordinary fibers:
- Less wasteful processing (in terms of land occupation and water usage)
- Fewer toxic chemicals used during manufacturing
- The reduction of greenhouse gasses
Cotton is widely known as one of the greenest fabrics to exist. If you want to make sure you’re shopping for truly sustainable cotton, look for biologically produced organic cotton, which means the fibers are prepared using a water-based process that results in no pollution nor harmful chemicals leaching into the earths’ resources. Other processes that companies are adopting to make the production of fabrics more eco-conscious include:
- No-till farming, which helps reduce loss of soil and erosion
- Conscious irrigation methods to limit water that is wasted during manufacturing
- Fewer toxic chemicals to pollute our resources
- Pest management that shuns the use of harmful pesticides
In addition to shopping for sustainable fabrics, consumers can also give back to the environment by limiting their participation in fast fashion and, instead, looking for recycled or upcycled clothing. Upcycling refers to the process of giving gently used clothing new life. For example, shopping at yard sales, clothing swaps, or thrift shops. Many times, clothing that is only a few years old is made from higher-quality fabric that’s made to last. It’s not uncommon for a thrifted or vintage piece to last for many more years to come. If you’re looking to update some great thrifted or secondhand pieces, look for a tailor to take in hems or let out seams and get the item looking its best. Tailors can help make a vintage item look brand new with a few simple tucks and tapers.
With low-cost, trendy clothing taking over malls worldwide, the fashion industry is constantly under pressure to produce cheap clothing. Many shoppers may not realize their favorite pieces are produced in sweatshop conditions in impoverished countries. As this information has recently come up in news outlets, many companies, such as H&M and Nordstrom, are making an effort to provide satisfactory working conditions and living wages to all of their factory employees.
Check back here each week for more about current trends and processes that are taking the fashion industry by storm, including sustainable ideas. Our blog also includes information about It’s Mine Labels and our products. We carry a variety of labels for all your needs, and consumers can shop sewing labels, sustainable labels, and more on our site. To learn more about our products and eco-friendly approach, call 1-866-695-2235.