Sustainable fashion looks at the entire life cycle of the product to make it as safe and environmentally friendly as possible.
Thanks to sustainable innovations in the clothing sector, fabric waste, carbon emissions, water use and many more resource needs can be reduced. The idea of sustainable clothing is a process that encompasses the production, distribution, use and recycling of clothing. Long-term positive results can be achieved thanks to sustainable clothing produced by making renewals in many areas such as the resulting carbon emission. An average of 60 million tons of clothing is produced each year. As a result, even the slightest change in the huge textile industry can produce remarkable results.
Qualifications of sustainable clothing brands
Sustainable clothing brands try to reduce as much waste as possible during production and after completing the clothing route. This includes using recycled materials in clothes and mending clothes rather than throwing them away.
The demand for fresh water for drinking, farming and production exceeds the amount of water we have. Sustainable clothing brands are leveraging their supply chains to see where they can reduce their water use.
Many fast fashion brands have horribly bad working conditions in their factories. Some even use slave labor to make their clothes as cheaply as possible. Sustainable clothing brands follow fair workforce and ethical manufacturing practices to protect employees.
Most chemical paints and finishes quickly become hazardous to workers. They can also contaminate the water supply and make it unsafe for the entire community to consume. Sustainable clothing brands are looking for alternatives to these chemicals, such as natural dyes.
Although cotton is a natural fiber, it often requires significant amounts of pesticides to grow, which affects wildlife and farm workers. Sustainable clothing brands tend to use organic cotton, linen and other fibers to protect the environment and farmers. They also look for ways to use less water than traditional cultivation methods.
Short life cycle:
One of the reasons we call it fast fashion is because it's here today and gone tomorrow. The ultimate goal in sustainable fashion is to encourage people to buy less and make clothes last longer. Therefore, they create simple and classic styles that you can wear over and over for years.
Organic cotton is the most popular among products such as Silk, Wool, Hemp, Alpaca, Angora, Camel, Cashmere, Mohair, Linen, Ramie, Aluyot. It is the search for sustainable wearables, wearable technology, and practices with sustainability value that have a positive impact on improving quality of life, social impact, and public interest.
Innovators are turning to a variety of technologies to make textiles more sustainable, including using recycled materials, plant-based fibers and bioengineering products.
Textile production is one of the least sustainable industries. Textile production produces around 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year, more than international flights and shipping combined. It takes 10,000–20,000 liters of water to produce one kilogram of cotton (equivalent to the weight of a shirt and jeans). From land use to chemical pollution from dyes, textiles need to become more sustainable.
There is no single method used to produce more sustainable textiles. Instead, innovators are turning to a variety of technologies to use recycled materials, plant-based fibers and even bioengineered textiles grown using living organisms.
An eco-friendly option is to create textiles from recycled materials. For example, PET plastic (similar to that used in water bottles) can be turned into yarn that is then woven into a fabric. The plastic is first processed into flakes, then the flakes are melted and drawn into a thread. The resulting fabric has a carbon footprint 50 percent lower than organic cotton, 90 percent lower than nylon and 75 percent lower than polyester.
Conscious living drives sustainable athleisure
Sustainability and diversity are overarching themes gaining traction in the (luxury) retail sector. In order to appeal to the growing mindful shoppers, sustainable and ethical credentials can provide a point of differentiation for brands and retailers looking to set themselves apart in the increasingly competitive wellness-focused lifestyle sector.
An alternative to cotton is Tencel, which is made from eucalyptus trees grown in Australia and Indonesia. Eucalyptus trees do not need toxic pesticides and only require a little water. It also absorbs paint very well. Tencel can also be used to make the same type of clothing as rayon with a similar appearance.
Scientists are also working on ways to "grow" fabric in the lab using micro-organisms. They can even produce nearly finished pieces of clothing without the need for factory assembly. Materials produced this way are completely biodegradable to non-toxic substances (TechExplained 2019).
A study from Nielsen showed that 73 percent of Millennial respondents were willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable or socially conscious brand. That’s more than what older generations indicated. Furthermore, 81 percent of Millennials expect the brands that they buy into to be transparent in their marketing and actively talk about their sustainability impact.
Affluent Millennials and Generation Z consumers are particularly sensitive to the sustainable values of a brand. Over 85% of them say indeed that their purchase decisions are influenced by a brand’s values. Fashion brands are increasingly under pressure to be more sustainable and to improve the working conditions of their employees.