We’re bombarded by ever more information from fashion labels we simply MUST buy from. Some of them are using sustainable materials, organic dyes or ethical production practices – and that’s great. But Is it enough? This article from Forbes discusses Stella McCartney and Adidas’s new sustainable collaboration.
So this has got me thinking about the realities of ‘sustainable fashion’:
Can you be truly sustainable as a business which is selling YET MORE items to the masses?
Stella McCartney + Adidas’ recent collaboration – Image
Fast fashion is bad for the planet. We know that conclusively. Between horrific labour conditions, harmful dyes, the use of non-biodegradable materials in so much of what is on the market, I feel like we can pretty much agree that those brands are REALLY not helping, right?
Then there’s a grey area when we start talking about ‘sustainable’ fashion. I mean sure, recycled materials and non-toxic dyes are way better for the planet than their unconscious counterparts. But those brands are still encouraging us as consumers to continue to be consumers. They need us and our money to keep existing. But how much do we really need them?
Isn’t there a disconnect between asking us to be more sustainable for the sake of the planet and its myriad inhabitants, and asking us to buy their products. Let’s face it – most brands are not like Patagonia in this respect. Patagonia actively encourages us NOT to consume unless we really, really need something. Most brands, on the other hand, want us to keep consuming because it is good for their bottom line. If we are really honest with ourselves, the most sustainable thing we can do is to not buy any of it.
So where does that leave us?
Never fear – there are ways that we can actually be both clothed and sustainable.
Minimalism is the real Sustainable Style
The best route to sustainability in style is simply to have less. The more we can keep a minimalist wardrobe, the better. It means that we put a lot less clothes into circulation. It means that we can consider our purchases more, helping us to be more conscious about our purchases and to love what we do have more. And let’s not forget that it takes up less headspace, so you can put less thought into getting ready and spend those precious extra minutes having a lie-in or taking a breather over your morning coffee.
‘Old-New’ is the new ‘New-New’
(Don’t mind me – I thought that would be a fun tongue twister)
That isn’t to say that you can’t have new things, but maybe they can just be new to you. Head on over to the thrift store and pick up a few vintage or pre-loved items. Or maybe it’s time to host a clothing swap with your friends so you can swap out a few things you’re bored of for something new to you. You’ll spend next to nothing and you’ll be helping the planet while you’re at it!
Fix it up!
So often, we find ourselves thinking of replacing items when they start to wear out, but do we really need to? Why not give your favourite boots a once-over with the polish and get them re-soled and re-heeled? Why not take your much-loved dress to a seamstress to fix that seam up (or for extra bonus points, you could learn to do this yourself)? You can easily extend the life expectancy of well made items by taking care of them well.
Whilst it is better that we spend our hard-earned pennies on ‘sustainable fashion’ items than unsustainable ones, the real secret to sustainable style is not to buy new things apart from when we really do need to.