Why Fashion Matters: Sustainable Fashion Part 1

44-sf-part-1

There’s all this talk about mindfulness and minimalism. It’s become a trend, a complete lifestyle switch, to try to live the most fulfilling life that focuses on family and friends and the passions that truly excite our soul.

And while most have indulged in some aspect of that lifestyle, myself included, there still seems to be one thing that gets overlooked again and again. And that is fashion. Fashion is about self-expression, showing who you are on the inside, out for the world to see. And if so many of us are trying to be more aware of what thoughts we let enter our minds, and what food we decide to put into our bodies, why are we also not caring about the clothing we wear every day?

Well, I think many people get a little lost when it comes to fashion. With so many clothes stuffed into our tiny closets, we forget that there may be other options out there. We only need to remember to look. And that is exactly what I did over my mini vacation from this blog. So let’s jump right into it.

The idea of sustainable and ethically made fashion was first introduced to me through Emma Watson. If any one follows her on  Facebook, in the captions below her photos it would say where her outfit was from and that it is Eco-Age approved. That sparked the idea, what brought me into a full, drop everything, and start researching mode was an article called If You Think Sustainable Fashion Isn’t For You, that I found at Darling Magazine

(do you ever wonder about something and the next thing you know an article relating to your question suddenly appears on your news feed, because that’s exactly what happened here.)

Anyway, at the bottom of the Darling article it listed a bunch of different sustainable fashion brands, about a dozen clicks later, in the span of a few hours; I realized there was no going back.

rana-plaza-collapse

Image Source: Rana Plaza Collapse

From here I wanted to know how it started, in the post it mentioned the disaster of Rana Plaza, something I had never actually heard about. So for those like me who don’t know, Rana Plaza was a building in Bangaldesh that had been incorrectly constructed (they added three more stories above what the permit allowed) and was still approved by an inspector. There had been cracks in the walls that had been found the day before, but workers were still expected to go the next day. During the morning rush-hour, the building collapsed, killing 1,129 people and injuring approximately another 2,500. (Source: Wikipedia: Rana Plaza Collapse)

People started speaking out about the issue of fast fashion and the damages it was causing to the environment and the people making our garments, who are often in poor work conditions and live below the poverty line.

rana-plaza-protest

Image Source: Rana Plaza Protest

The Issues

The Fashion Industry and Polyester

  • Cheap to make
  • Is in 50% of our clothing
  • Is made using fossil fuels, and is therefore, non-biodegradable
  • Releases micro-fibers (basically plastic) into the ocean after each wash
  • The Fashion industry is one of the top polluting industries in the world, and these micro-fibers cause more harm to our oceans than larger plastics (like water bottles)
  • Is extremely energy-intensive (takes 8 times more energy to produce than linen)
  • The apparel industry is responsible for 10% of the worldwide carbon output

Women

  • 1 in 6 people work in the fashion industry, of those, 80% of them are women
  • And 98% of them are living below the poverty line

SAMSUNG CSC

Factories

  • There is forced and child labor in most of these factories
  • Shadow factories: a company having photos of a factory saying that is where there clothing is made, but actually outsourcing to another factory that can make their product cheaper and quicker

The Materials

  • 95% of brands don’t actually know where their material is coming from
  • Most of it in inorganic and uses pesticides, even if they are using cotton (a natural textile)
  • Also the dye of the clothing also affects the environment, as it is often released straight into the water supply

Source:  TedTalk: The High Cost of Our Cheap Fashion

Sustainable Fashion should be just as important as the food we eat and the thoughts that generate our inspiration and positive mindset. What we wear says something about who we are, so why not express your style and at the same time promote an ethical, and sustainable planet by simply putting a little extra effort into what you wear.

Part 2 will include:

  • What is being done to help (from the farms all the way to us, the consumers)
  • Brands that match different styles and budgets
  • Some of my favourite brands

Jump to Part 2: Sustainable, Stylish, + Smart Fashion: SF Part 2

If you liked this post, click the button below, and leave a comment, I’d like to hear your thoughts. 🙂

– Brittany

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