Sustainability is an important topic that has been emerging in many aspects of a person’s life. Because it allows a person to make ethical decisions towards the environment, it not only helps protect the environment we live in by providing alternative options that are not as harmful but also allows for a more humanitarian approach. When it comes to the fashion industry, sustainability is an emerging factor that many brands are considering.

What is sustainable fashion?

Sustainable fashion is an ethical or green approach when it comes to manufacturing and producing any fashion items such as shoes, bags, pants, shirts, skirts and even jewelry. There are many different approaches to offer sustainable fashion from using natural eco-friendly material, recycled or biodegradable materials or even offering an ethical environment within the production and manufacturing areas. In order to help you understand what sustainable fashion is, you can take a look at a beautiful pair of these pearl earrings. Being made of purely natural materials qualifies it as being sustainable as it does not harm the environment in order to be produced.

What makes fashion sustainable?

To further understand sustainability in the fashion industry and what makes it sustainable, it is best to break it down and elaborate on the different approaches that can be used:

Recycled materials

Instead of throwing away fabrics and materials that are harmful to the environment and can have a huge impact on it, a sustainable approach would be to recycle them into new fabrics and materials and designed into fashionable and unique items. Many startups, as well as well-known fashion industries, are now taking this eco-friendly approach to come up with new, innovative materials that are re-used instead of trying to get rid of them. Plastic bottles, for instance, have been a growing problem that can not only take 450 years to be biodegraded but can also end up being thrown into the ocean, affecting marine life negatively and even leading to their extinction. Using a sustainable approach within the fashion industry means that this fashion outlet or brand is taking the environment in mind and coming up with alternative approaches to everyday problems through recycling materials.

Natural materials

Using natural materials is also a sustainable approach instead of using synthetic materials that do not easily decompose. Because they are natural and are part of the existing environment already, it is easy to get rid of them as the environmental factors are already taken into consideration. Their handling also in creating a fashion piece out of them is easier and does not harm the environment. This can be true for things such as jewelry and accessories that are made of natural stones, or garments made of 100% cotton or silk.

Human rights

Another approach to sustainability in fashion also involves human rights and the working conditions of the fashion brand’s employees. Many world-class brands have been using inhumane working conditions and hiring under-aged children making it an unethical and inhumane fashion brand. In order for a sustainable approach to be taken, fashion brands must create their factories within a healthy environment that lives up to the human rights’ standards as well as pay proper wages to their employees. Many fashion brands are known to have their factories in Bangladesh or India in buildings that do not have any health or safety precautions and end up collapsing due to unsafe locations being chosen for cheaper purposes. These approaches as well as hiring child labor are means of cutting costs and generating more capital and is one of the huge problems of capitalism.

Other problems can also include gender inequality with women being disregarded or even paid less just because of their gender. In some places, the humanitarian factor can also be based on verbal, sexual or physical abuse within the work environment, too, therefore, having a safe work environment in terms of health, abuse and work rights is a way to ensure sustainability. That’s why lately, there are many moves to help consumers identify not only where the products were made, but also who made them help promote an ethical and sustainable approach within the fashion industry.

While the topic of sustainable fashion is on the rise, there are still many environmental and unethical approaches within the fashion industry. It is still normal for high-end brands to torture animals for their skin or re-locate to different parts of the world in order to cut costs and take advantage of the economic crisis within that area. However, there are many brands who promote sustainability and try their best to consider the environment in every step of the way.