Sustainability. This is the word that has repeatedly been on every brand’s, designer’s, and even customer’s lips. But what really is sustainability? Is it just recycling your old clothes? Is it abandoning fast fashion entirely? These are questions that other CF community members and I asked ourselves when we began to start our journey towards a more sustainable, eco-friendly closet. Turns out sustainable fashion is being eco-conscious of both the textile used in clothing and of the industry itself. It is more about being aware of the damage the fast fashion industry has on its workers and the environment. Practicing sustainable fashion has a larger impact than just recycling your old clothes; it can ultimately impact the way future clothing is produced, labor workers’ conditions, and even help decrease carbon footprint and the global pollution rate.
Below are a collection of resources that helped me educate myself on the ins and outs of the fast-fashion industry — and the importance of sustainable fashion for our planet.
The Green Strategy is an international online blogging platform that is geared towards communicating sustainable resources to the public. Green Strategy’s opening article, “What is Sustainable Fashion?”, is the perfect start to learn the basics of fashion sustainability. The article covers what textile recycling ultimately does for the planet. It also describes how ditching fast fashion results in environmentally, ethically, and socially positive benefits. This is one of the resources I read to build a foundational knowledge of what sustainable fashion is. This piece also taught me how my small impact of recycling clothes has an even larger impact on the wellbeing of this planet.
Another article from the website, “Seven Forms of Sustainability,” provides suggestions of how we, as customers, can practice sustainability such as borrowing, repairing, and swapping textiles and clothing articles. In the article, there is an illustration of a pie chart provided by Dr. Anna Brismar, that shows these seven practices. All of these sustainable practices hold the same weight equally, and she chooses these practices with both a customer and producer perspective in mind.
Clean Clothes Campaign
If you need another reason to distance yourself from fast fashion, the Clean Clothes Campaign is a global network that shares international news on the harm of fast fashion on factory workers — workers who get paid a nominal amount of money to work in harsh conditions. The CCC website sadly highlights what the workers have to deal with in order to create our clothes. Reading about the dark side of the fast fashion industry helped me to stop buying from cheaper, fast fashion brands.
Elizabeth L. Cline’s Books
Author Elizabeth L Cline knows how to persuade her audience. I read both of her books, Overdressed and The Conscious Closet, and instantly my perspective of cheaper fashion brands changed. Cline, an expert in apparel supply chains, described why there was a rise in cheaper fashion in Overdressed saying, “Quality is no longer an issue, because you need clothes to last just “until the next trend comes along.”’ After finishing these books, I now refer to myself as a “reformed fast-fashion junkie” alongside Cline.
The True Cost
If you want to watch an amazing documentary to help educate yourself more on fashion sustainability, watch The True Cost. This is a documentary that focuses on the fashion industry’s real price of clothing. The director, Andrew Morgan, travels internationally in search of small designers and compares large cooperation prices and the processes in which these clothes are made. There is also an abundance of green fashion brands mentioned in this documentary.
Alex James: Slowing Down Fast Fashion
Another informative documentary is Alex James: Slowing Down Fast Fashion. Alex James takes a critical look at the negative environmental cost of cheap labor, and quick disposable clothing. Much like the Clean Clothes Campaign, this documentary focuses on the employees toiling in sweatshops to make these fast man-made materials. This is a great documentary to gain knowledge of the garment worker’s perspective.
This is a fabulous social media account to follow if you wanted to constantly be updated on the world of fashion sustainability. This Instagram account asks the questions, Who made my clothes? Who made my fabric? What’s in my clothes? I follow this account to get the latest information on sustainability initiatives in a modern way from each of their posts. Fashion Revolution provides links and resources to their following to help them get involved and take action against these big fast fashion corporations.
Good On You
Another resource to get updates on sustainable fashion trends is Good On You’s Instagram account. This account highlights different brands and businesses that practice sustainability and venture away from fast fashion and large factory work. I follow this account to view their posts on rating how ethical big name brands’ clothing is to the environment, its overall quality, and the labor treatment of their employees. This account is incredible if you want to view the brand side of environmental fashion.