Have you noticed fashion trends are coming and going much quicker than the past?
With the influence of social media, celebrities and influencers, trends are changing at an increasingly rapid pace and the fashion industry has been feeling the pressure in recent years.
To keep up with both trends and demand, producers are ramping up manufacturing at the cost of quality, resulting in the fast fashion movement. Named after both its speed and comparison to fast food, fast fashion tempts consumers by offering ultra cheap garments and ever-changing new ranges, often at the price of quality and production. We all know of cheaper online and physical stores which offer a quick turnover of clothing that isn’t made to last.
This endless creation of new clothes comes with a heavy environmental price. This new sector of fashion requires 93 billion cubic metres of water, which is enough to meet the consumption needs of five million people, and is responsible for around 20 per cent of industrial water pollution because of textile treatment and dyes.
Fast fashion is also often made with cheap materials and cuts corners in the manufacturing process. This can result in clothes that don’t last long and end up in landfills, creating waste and contributing to environmental problems.
While still popular, many consumers are becoming more aware of where their clothes are made and sourced because of fast fashion. As a result, the fashion industry has recently undergone a significant shift towards sustainability.
From the materials used to the production processes employed by fashion brands, consumers are now making more and more conscious choices when it comes to reducing environmental impact and promoting ethical practices.
1. Choose quality over quantity
While it may be tempting to give in to those super cheap prices and what’s trending right now, incorporating sustainable fashion into your lifestyle means embracing minimalism and building a well-curated capsule wardrobe. Investing in high quality, timeless pieces that can be mixed and matched reduces the need for excessive buying and fast fashion consumption.
2. Be picky about brands
Look for brands that prioritise ethical practices, Fair Trade and safe working conditions for their employees.
Transparency is key, so keep an eye out for brands that have a clear commitment to responsible manufacturing.
In 2019, Country Road was the first Australian fashion retailer to partner with Oritain, to scientifically trace its Verified Australian Merino back to a small number of Australian farms, demonstrating responsible land management and animal welfare practices under the Responsible Wool Standard.
In January 2020, it extended its partnership with Oritain to include cotton, verifying the fibres used in the famous Heritage Sweat back to Australian cotton growers, who support Better Cotton.
Since then, the Verified Australian cotton range has expanded to include several styles across the business.
3. Circular fashion and upcycling
The concept of circular fashion has continued to gain traction with the rise of interest in sustainable clothing.
Instead of the traditional clothing model of produce, consume, and dispose, circular fashion aims to create a closed loop system where clothing items are designed to be recycled or upcycled after they’re done with.
When you’re finished with a piece of clothing, consider donating or upcycling to extend its lifespan.
When shopping for new clothing, look for brands that incorporate recycling programs or offer upcycled collections.
Another way to contribute to circular fashion is to explore the world of vintage and secondhand fashion, as it will not only reduce waste but add unique and timeless pieces to your wardrobe.
Sustainability in clothing represents a more responsible and ethical approach to fashion, which takes into account the impact of the industry on the environment and society.
Fast fashion has prioritised profit over both quality and the plant, leading to a range of negative consequences such as pollution, waste and exploitation.
Consumers have the power to choose what we wear and how we, in turn, support the fashion industry.
By opting for more sustainable clothing brands, we can contribute to a more sustainable future, where fashion is not only beautiful but also responsible.