Recently Zara launched an ethical clothing collection called Join Life. Join Life embraces a woman who looks into the more sustainable future. Clothing is made from a material such as organic cotton, recycled wool and Tencel® which reduces the environmental impact. FYI: Tencel is a wood fiber extracted from forests that are sustainably managed, guaranteeing its reforestation. Zara’s Autumn/Winter 2016 collection inspired me to look a bit more into sustainable fashion and research the topic properly. I was surprised with what I found out!
Sustainable fashion, also called eco fashion, is a part of the growing design philosophy and trend of sustainability. The goal of sustainable fashion is to create a system which can be supported indefinitely in terms of human impact on the environment and social responsibility. It can be seen as an alternative trend against fast fashion.
While researching the ethical clothing topic, I have realised that many companies nowadays use ethical clothing, eco fashion, sustainable fashion terms as a marketing tool to promote their new lines. Sadly, my overall feeling about the high-street campaigns I have seen is that brands use sustainable fashion elements to come across more environmentally concerned than they are for real. I may be mistaken because of the lack of the information about the full process of producing this ethical clothing ranges. But this is my honest opinion on sustainable fashion issue.
“Sustainable fashion does not appear to be a short-term trend but one that could last multiple seasons, the very word season being up for grabs in a climate-affected world”- Vogue, May 2007.
Some high-street companies already jumped into the sustainable fashion trend. For example, H&M Group, the giant in high-street, launched a Sustainability project. Even though there is a good part of this project that allows to recycling the old clothing, I still don’t feel like supporting the system fully.
There is why. Many high-street companies and H&M as well don’t own factories. They are using the factories in undeveloped/poor countries to produce their clothes. They say that by providing people in the poorest countries with work, they make their impact in sustainable fashion and people’s lives. Even though unconscious companies for real provide people with work, they totally forget to mention that labour law in these countries is totally nonexistent. Poor scared employees are working in horrible conditions to produce clothes for as cheap as possible. Their health is at risk every day. No one looks after their comfort. Not even to mention the non-existence of health insurance or employees rights either.
I highly recommend to watching The True Cost to understanding where am I coming from.
In 2015 H&M with Olivia Wilde launched a CONSCIOUS EXCLUSIVE collection. The capsule collection features organic materials as well as recycled wool, Tencel® and recycled sequins. “I love the Conscious Exclusive collection at H&M, both for the look, and also for its ethics. This is how all fashion should be: a great style that’s naturally more sustainable,” says Olivia Wilde. The collection takes inspiration from Asian, Indian and African cultures. It shows that fashion should not be complicated, silhouettes may be simple yet stylish. Of course, it is wonderful that each garment and accessory is made of materials such as organic silk, organic cotton, organic linen, Tencel®, recycled polyester and conscious leather. But does it mean that the whole process from the idea to the finished piece of clothing is sustainable and benefits planet Earth?
FYI: you can drop off your old textiles in H&M stores to help minimise the fashion industry’s environmental footprint. H&M shows that in the long run, they want to be able to make new fashion out of old garments.
Coming back to Join Life collection by Zara. Zara Join Life collection was produced with using the Inditex Right to Wear + model. By applying the Inditex Right to Wear + model, production is provided with the best technologies available and the most sustainable raw materials. After learning more about this model, I understood that Join Life collection is sustainable because of the quality of the materials used in the collection. And also because of the way these materials were produced initially.
FYI: Zara claims that their boxes are made of boxes with a past meaning they recycle the boxes.
“We at Zara encourage a circular economy to be established with the aim of producing intelligent, sustainable and consolidated growth through an efficient use of resources and minimising our carbon footprint. We, therefore, have reuse and recycling systems for boxes, hangers, plastic and alarms used for sending garments to our eco-efficient stores,” the store writes on its website.
After watching The True Cost I understood that fashion is one of the most dangerous industries nowadays. I am not going to lie, it was a huge surprise for me. Unfortunately, the process of production of fabrics is completely opposite to environmentally-friendy. Also, many people actually die every day while producing these horrible materials. Sadly, they get poisoned by chemicals used or beaten to death if not producing enough materials. I hope you understand that when you buy a £5 t-shirt it is not only going to wear off quickly but also has a long unsustainable story behind it. This makes me think that a use of organic materials is a great step into improving the current fashion industry situation. Experts suggest that the most sustainable/eco material today is a hemp.
READ RELATED ARTICLE: My Style Evolution with COTTON USA.
I am glad that a Word has actually woken up. Now more and more organisations are created to support sustainable fashion. For example, Sustainable Designers provides specialized triple bottom line education, training, and access to tools and industry resources that advance creative, innovative and high impact businesses. Ecoluxe London, a not-for-profit platform, supports luxury with ethos through hosting a biannual exhibition during London Fashion Week and showcasing eco-sustainable and ethical designers. Read more about these organisations here.
What can each of us do to support environmentally-friendly fashion today?
As an influencer, I believe it is my responsibility to research a topic, educate and support my readers with knowledge of the current situation. Of course, one cannot do much change, but together we have a power. I offer you to research the eco fashion topic a bit more for the beginning. This will help you to understand what is actually clothes you buy and what kind of companies you support. I believe, nowadays we need to judge companies not only for the clothes they produce but also by how they develop and produce it. I hope I gave you a good start of the thinking process with this blog post written by me today. Sadly, I cannot research the ethical clothing topic fully in such a short period of time. But I will continue to doing my research and will update you very soon with our next steps!
QUESTION OF THE DAY:
What do you think about sustainable fashion trend? Do you support eco fashion?