Friday, September 6, 2019


This year I have attended many seminars on SUSTAINABLE FASHION. It is a more than a fashion trend, it is a major lifestyle trend. Everyone is in agreement that fashion is a major polluter of our planet, and that each on of us from designers, to manufacturers to the person buying the clothing in the stores, needs to do their part in cleaning this mess up.
There's no hiding the fact that sustainability, in all its guises, is kind of a big deal right now.

Textile waste has increased 811% since 1960.

I would love to be able to give a simple definition of what SUSTAINABLE FASHION but it's a very complex issue with no exact standards of measurement.
According to Wikipedia, 
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Sustainable fashion is a movement and process of fostering change to fashion products and the fashion system towards greater ecological integrity and social justice. Sustainable fashion concerns more than addressing fashion textiles or products. It comprises addressing the whole system of fashion. This means dealing with interdependent social, cultural, ecological and financial systems.[1] It also means considering fashion from the perspective of many stakeholders - users and producers, all living species, contemporary and future dwellers on earth. Sustainable fashion therefore belongs to, and is the responsibility of citizens, public sector and private sector. A key example of the need for systems thinking[2] in fashion is that the benefits of product-level initiatives, such as replacing one fiber type for a less environmentally harmful option is eaten up by increasing volumes of fashion products. An adjacent term to sustainable fashion is eco fashion.
My initial reaction was WOW, this is a massive problem and I have no idea where to start in helping resolve the issue! To ignore the issues, to look away would be the easier route but it is not the correct route.

I wanted SFASH to be an easy fix. I wanted it to be a big green umbrella that I could say "this is SFASH and this is how we can resolve it". But as I looked at my green umbrella it became pixelated with hundreds of different green shaded spots.

#sustainablefashion #ethicalsourcing #metoo #fastfashion #fauxfur #childlabor #riverpollution #greenissues #ecofashion #organiccotton #renewable #biodegradable #fairtrade, the list goes on and on.

Together these issues look insurmountable, but I think they way to tackle it is the power-of-one.
Each one of us involved in the chain, needs to do our part to make SFASH more attainable.

Trying to be consciously 100% sustainable fashion is not attainable and can easily lead to a brand falling victim of green washing. Customers are quickly getting wise to green washing and marketing ploys. Be honest in trying to be a better sustainable fashion player!

I think that its best to start from a personal core authentic point.What does sustainable fashion mean to you, to your target market. Maybe it's recycle or up-cycle, once you design with your core values in mind, your designs will resonate with your customers.
If you try to save the world by doing too many sustainable things all at once, you may burn out. Best to stick to your core ideas and see them through.
As well as being sustainable fashion you need to have a sustainable business model.

I do think that governments may need to step in at this stage to help.
I suggest they set up an international recognized bench marker which I have named the SSI(Sustainable Spectrum indicator). A 1-10 for products and for companies.
I think a radical tax on fashion polluters would help. Say a 20% tax on any garments retailing at under $10. 10% under $20 etc. The tax collected would be used for education on SFASH and for cleaning up old landfills.

I think the the #sustainablefashion revolution needs to come from the ground up (pardon the pun). You, me and the power-of-one needs to say stop, I refuse to support companies who put pollution before the environment's health. Put your money where your mouth is!
Companies will make what the customer is looking for. For too many years this has been cheap, disposable fashion what ends up in landfills.

In some ways fashion (change) and sustainable fashion (constant) is an oxymoron.
Is it possible to have one without the other?

Buying FASTFASH  from the likes of PRIMARK, FOREVER21 and H&M should become UNCOOL and be branded as unhealthy like smoking. Cheap clothes are like cheap junk food. They offer a momentary satisfaction but in the long term they are detrimental to your health. Filling your closet with mounds of cheap clothing, is like gorging on cheeseburgers day in and day out. Yes, a burger offers a limit nutritional value, unlike a cheap outfit that is fashionable for 1 instagram minute and falls apart before the first wash. Not even charity shops want these rags so they sit in landfills for generations to come. That's bad karma Miranda!

In the long run cheap clothes are not a bargain if you keep buying them as they fall apart and fall out of fashion. Shopping for clothing is fun but why not use all the wasted money you waste on fashfash and use it to buy something really nice and well made that will will be a classic go-to in your closet.

We have been conditioned to thinking that fashfash is better than sustainable fashion. How about mending your clothes, such an old fashioned concept! In 1932 Aldous Huxley, in his book Brave New World, predicted that Fashfash would become a big issue. I quote " Ending is better than mending..The more stitches the less riches...I love new clothes..."

So how about doing a fash-flush for 12 months. Only buy if you truly have nothing to wear in your closet. If you do need something new check out your local charity shop or rent it. If it has to be new, make sure its from a responsibly made clothing company. Successful, professional people save lots of money by buying "uniforms" well tailored outfits that they can wear every day and look great.

Expect to see more stores like REFORMATION #jointhereformation who sell reworked vintage pieces, as well as Allbirds and Everlane to call out a few. Think #recycle and #upcycle as you shop!
These store do not sell polyester, nylon, or conventional cotton, all of which are terrible for the environment. They are also transparent about how much the worker who make the outfit got paid, how they were treated and where the fabrication for the item was sourced. They see themselves as fast fashion with new drops twice a week but everything is made in small batches to limit overstock and waste. This begs the question "can creating a constant craving for new things really be sustainable?".

A lot to think about and definitely a conversation that will continue.

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