An atricle by Michelle Caluza
When fashion met sustainability, designers, entrepreneurs and consumers start to question the clothes that they design, produce or buy. The truth is there is no official definition of sustainable fashion. It varies from what values are important to what kind of social and environmental issues matter. It can be taken as an approach, philosophy, or lifestyle. Now, here are some factors that can define Fashion Sustainability.
Design and Product Development
According to the Danish Fashion Institute, up to 80% of a garment’s environmental impact is defined by choices made in the design process. There is a huge impact on our environment in how a product is used, cared, reused and disposed. Materials for fabrication affect us more than what we think. Having an interest in Handcrafted and Artisanal materials can cause a change; social and environmental.
Recycling and Waste
It is estimated that the fashion industry creates around 13 kilograms of fashion waste for every person on the planet every year. Yet, only 20% of textiles are recycled. Less than 10% of garments are made into new clothing each year. Where does the waste go is a question we should start answering. We don’t want to cause pain to all living things just by purchasing clothes, right?
Wages and Modern Slavery
Most of the workers from Asia are not paid enough to live on a “living wage”. According to the Living Wage Coalition in Bangladesh, the current minimum wage can be as low as 40% of a ‘living wage’. The Clean Clothes Campaign says that in Cambodia and China, the minimum wage would need to be at least twice as high to cover the basic cost of living. Meanwhile The Global Slavery Index estimates that 45.8 million people are living in modern slavery or forced labor today, mostly in the supply chains of clothing brands and retailers. To be aware of this can be an eye-opener to clothing brands, retailers, and including us; consumers. We should start acknowledging that these people who not only sacrifice their time and effort but also their health when working in an environment that uses too much chemicals don’t get paid enough to support themselves and their loved ones.
Sustainability is a journey. Small actions taken collectively can add up to real change. Let’s take one step at a time and it could start with being aware of its definition and its effects to ourselves, our loved ones today and in the future, and the world. We can still act on it. What’s important is to start doing something about it. It is time to “take a quantum leap into the human age - an era where a life meaningfully well lived is what really counts.”
Fashion's Key Social Issues (commonobjective.co)
The Issues: Modern Slavery (commonobjective.co)
Fashion’s Key Environmental Issues (commonobjective.co)
The Issues: Waste (commonobjective.co)