Sustainability has become a buzzword in recent years, gaining popularity among consumers and fashion industry professionals alike. Globally, we’re more aware of the urgent need to protect our planet and we all need to do our bit for a collective change to happen. No more excuses.
But the concept of sustainability in fashion is, in fact, super complex: we need to consider issues of economic empowerment, environment factors, production, supply chain, business models, political decisions and more. It’s easy to get lost while trying to make positive change. We know. We’ve been there.
To make it easier, we suggest following the Japanese ‘Kaizen’ philosophy, with the ethos of 'good change and constant continuous improvement'. Start by making simple and better fashion choices by incorporating one new sustainable method per month. As time passes, you'll find yourself being more conscious and sustainable than a month prior. It’s all about consistency.
Here are five easy steps to becoming more sustainable in fashion:
Quality is the key
We all know about the devastating effect of fast fashion on the environment. Become hyper-attentive to this and simply buy less. Instead, invest in quality purchases: although a $5 wallet or $7 jeans might seem like a great option for your bank account in the short term, opt for better quality, timeless pieces from brands you know have good ethics and solid credentials.
So it’s quality over quantity. Yes, you’ve heard this before, but now is the time to put it into practice. This is probably the most essential step to becoming more sustainable and conscious in your fashion consumption.
By supporting small brands, and investing in local fashion designers and craft production, you will help to create a sustainable future for all.
Craft product manufacturers are usually family businesses that ensure livable wages, fair labor and healthy working conditions. They carefully select partners to work with, build long-term relationships with local artisans and avoid extra shipping in the manufacturing process and supply chain. With few exceptions, craft production is almost always hand-made and uses less energy than mass production, which reduces carbon footprint, too.
We know how hard it is to resist impulse purchases. But next time you’re tempted, try asking yourself, 'Do I really need this? Can I be more sustainable?’.
Fast fashion means that goods are made cheaply only to meet demands for the new hot trends. How many times have you gone shopping for one specific purchase but left a mall with a bunch of items you never needed? So, chances are that you have at least a few pieces in your closet that have only ever been worn once or twice… or maybe never?
When you realize how the fashion industry works and believe in the 'fewer, better things' philosophy, and stop purchasing stuff you don’t need, your closet (not to mention wallet) will thank you. Also, your carbon footprint will be reduced drastically. Win-win.
Minimalism includes not only the clothes itself but the reduction of plastic packaging, too. So, don't forget, before purchasing a new item, check whether the packaging is 100% recyclable.
Recycle and upcycle
Why not give unwanted pieces a longer shelf life by passing them on to thrift stores? This is, in effect, a method of recycling. You could also try upcycling an item by customising it with a fabric patch, badge or embellishment to make it your own. Small rips, holes and missing buttons can easily be fixed with a sewing kit.
A lot of materials used in fast fashion are synthetic. The problem is that only fabrics that have a pure material composition (i.e. 100% cotton) can be recycled, and are sustainable. So, before purchasing an item, look closely at the material. Recycling your second-hand clothes means that less raw materials are needed, less energy is used, and less carbon emissions are generated. Also, keep in mind that natural leather or organic cotton is recycled more easily and are more sustainable compared to synthetic materials. Learn more about the differences between natural and synthetic leather.
Being fashionable doesn't mean you have to chase the latest trends. Knowing your style and being unique is about embracing your own style identity instead of following new fashion industry’s trends. So, do you really need another pair of new jeans? Open your closet and see how you can elevate the pieces you already own!
Curious to find out how to clean and take care of your leather products? Check our blog post out.