Sunday, 9 July 2017

is the future of fashion sustainable?

Sustainability is a word that is increasingly becoming more popular; what makes something sustainable? Is it the material and components it's made of? Is it the longevity of its life in action? Is it the design of the product? Perhaps it is all of these, yet maybe it is only one. But is the future of fashion sustainable?

Influenced by trends that are ever changing, it can be hard to picture the future of fashion design being sustainable. Thrust into a high street of fast fashion retailers, it is often the more obscure and independent sellers that value and take into consideration the sustainability of the design of their products. Upon the application of sustainability it may lead to more ethical practices: such as the farming of organic cotton. One of the powerhouses of ethical fashion brands People Tree pride themselves in the way they farm, ensuring that the material used for the garments are fair trade.


It must be touched on that although popular fashion brands may be becoming more sustainable, it doesn't mean their ethics are changing as well. Fashion brand Monki make it evident on their website that they are making a valid effort to improve the sustainability of their materials and write how their goal is 'to only use recycled or other sustainably sourced materials by 2030'. On this page on their website 'Monki cares' there is no mention of how workers are treated and if you browse their website they are clearly still a fast fashion brand, taking inspiration from trends that will peter out within a few years. Reading their website for the first time it can seem so great, they're making a conscious effort for the environment, taking the after life into consideration, the disposal of clothing is being tackled through their recycling scheme and yes maybe if you didn't understand the difference between ethical and sustainability you would go straight for the organic cotton ranges at Monki, Zara or H&M yet the prices of their garments make it clear that they are anything but ethical.


One step forward for sustainability and one not so great step forward for ethics. You may also want to consider brands greenwashing, by definition it is: ‘the practice of making an unsubstantiated or misleading claim about the environmental benefits of a product, service, technology or company practice.’ Whilst a topic of conversation that may not be suitable for what I'm discussing in this post I think it is important to mention. Any step forward for sustainability for brands in the high street is great but it's important to realise that they are still far from the level of transparency that ethical and sustainable brands are. If you wanted to find more information on the transparency of brands, Fashion Revolution have a superb guide on what is transparency, why it is needed and how to spot it. It's well worth a read if you wanted to find out more about how brands are and how they should be transparent with their ethical and sustainable policies.

According to the documentary The True Cost (one which I recommend you all to watch), the average American throws away 82 pounds of textile waste a year, mounting up to 11 million tonnes in the US alone. Yet I have seen recycling and new ways of disposing of your clothes that are more sustainable becoming more prevalent. Depop for example is so much more popular than it was years ago, so is DIY and I think more people are becoming aware of designing clothes that do last longer than their predecessors. It might not be totally through the design but the material maybe. Clothes that are made from cotton or natural fabrics is definitely becoming more widespread than man made which goes to show that the design of fashion is becoming more sustainable, or at least has sustainability in mind. Materials such as organic cotton and recycled polyester are widely available and well known to be better for the environment there are plenty of other textile technologies in the offing that could lessen our clothing’s impact. The textiles industry is constantly evolving and it so positive to see that so many brands are developing these new materials with sustainability in mind. 


Today I'm wearing a top I sewed myself from organic cotton, the design may not be the most sustainable as it is more of a trend led piece but I know that it was made me me so is more ethical and the fabric itself is organic therefore more sustainable. After it's life in use has finished I think I would probably make it into something new instead of selling it on or giving it to charity but for now I'm enjoying wearing it in this gorgeous weather we have been having lately. Alongside the top I've also been wearing a skirt from Urban Outfitters.

Whilst I am on a mission to stop buying from fast fashion brands, I did have a gift voucher for the store and I knew immediately that this skirt would be a new and very loved item in my wardrobe. Therefore I justify my purchase because I know the design of it will last years in my wardrobe, it can be worn with many different items in my wardrobe and is just all round a great new addition to my wardrobe. Two pieces of clothing that both have sustainability in mind but in different ways, one of them even combining ethics alongside it. They are little ways to increase the sustainability of your wardrobe. The photos were also taken by my friend Ellie who I managed to persuade to take pictures of me (although she loved it really) - taking pictures in public is becoming slightly easier... only slightly though!


So is the future of fashion sustainable?

It isn’t just where you buy your clothes from but with a design that will last for a long time and also how you dispose of your clothes. Do they go to charity or Depop, perhaps even make them into something new or DIY your old garments? I wasn't to know your thoughts - do you think the future of fashion design is sustainable? Let me know in the comments!


This blog post is a part of Design Blogger Competition organized by CGTrader - check the link for more information!
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8 comments

  1. This outfit is so pretty. I don't follow trends. I buy clothes that I know will last me at least few years and that I know I'm going to love to wear. x

    Antonia || Sweet Passions

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    1. Thank you so much! Definitely, I think it really does make a huge difference to your wardrobe and your outlook on your clothes :) x

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  2. It's great to see fashion bloggers talking about big issues such as sustainability, so I applaud you! Huge well done on crafting this top yourself, by the way! It looks gorgeous and I'm sure you could turn it into a versatile piece! I do a lot of shopping in charity/thrift shops, which is a wonderful way to update your wardrobe without worrying about what you're buying! Fab post!

    Abbey 👑 www.abbeylouisarose.co.uk

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  3. I really enjoyed reading this post! Sometimes I do follow trends, as I work in H&M it's hard not to! But I tend to just re wear items over and over, and restyle them! All my unwanted clothes either go to charity or I bring them into H&M to recycle as we do a scheme called Conscious in which you receive a £5 voucher for every bag you bring in to donate to recycle! I try every bit I can x

    Kim - www.sisterofthemoon.co.uk

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  4. Your outfit is super pretty. Love the skirt. I work in fast fashion and I can tell how fast it changes. I think the main issue is that customers get bored super quick and want new things all the time which is was fashion is fast nowadays. Trend are just here to answer to that need. people are becoming more conscious though xx corinne

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  5. I love this! In fact, I think my mom would love this just because you mentioned the word Organic. She is a bit obsessed. Great post!
    Chloe Lauren x

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  6. This is such a good point to share, I often don't think about fashion sustainability or how much textile waste I produce x

    Kayleigh Zara 🌿www.kayleighzaraa.com

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  7. I enjoyed reading this post.
    I don't tend to follow trends, if I like a style I'll wear it otherwise I wont.
    This outfit is really pretty xx

    Sophie's Spot

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