We are all becoming more conscious about the choices we make as consumers as well as the choices we make when we go shopping. We take into consideration the impact this has on the environment and the people and animals that are involved in the entire production chain.
We all want to to good for the people and the environment, but we also obviously want to look good! It almost goes without mentioning, but we want to be able to feel good about the clothes we are wearing while having a good conscience about it. Then on the other hand, we do not want to compromise on our way of dressing and expressing ourselves via fashion.
It is a mistake to make people feel guilty about not consuming like this, buying only these exact products etc… making sustainable choices should be fun, easy, natural and exciting – and moreover without having to compromise your style!
However, it is also easy to get a little lost in all of the vocabulary that we are surrounded by today ranging from buzzwords to corporate lies and double meanings…
We hear terms such as sustainable fashion, green fashion, eco fashion, slow fashion, ethical fashion, circular fashion… the list is starting to become pretty long. So what does these terms actually mean?
Here is a little break down of how we see things!
There is no official definition of sustainable fashion but we all know that it has something to do with conscious choices that are better for the environment and the people involved in the production chain.
Sustainable fashion is according to us, how we consume fashion in a way that is meant to last and is drawing parallels with other sustainable development actions. This is the opposite of fast fashion, where collections are as disposable as anything can be. Fast fashion, as the name indicates, is implying on something that is expendable.
Sustainable fashion can also refer to the superior quality of the clothes. Think of items that you take care of and use for years that still look like they were brand new. In an ideal world, long lasting clothes would mean less production and consequently lesser negative impact on the environment.
Sustainable can also refer to the raw materials used for the clothes . This could be for example recycled or rest materials or other ways produced in a way that takes into consideration the harms that the textile industry causes the environment, in terms of pollution and also the socio-economic factor of the people involved in the production.
Main word to have in mind with sustainable fashion is the environment.
Slow Fashion also shares the same ideas about awareness and responsibility as we discussed above. The main axes that the Slow Fashion principle is founded on are Quality, Cleanness and Fairness. For examples actions to take to become a ”slow fashion” consumer would be buying vintage, handmade, redesigning old clothes, shopping from smaller and local producers, making clothes yourself or buying items that are meant to last longer. However, there is once again no official definition, and new innovative ideas are constantly created which makes the Slow Fashion a word that is constantly evolving and redefining itself.
The fast fashion system has also programmed us to follow a certain consumption pattern, where we believe that we need new items for every season. Shopping once a week is more a rule than an exception and we over consume and splurge in items that we do not actually really need neither truly desire. The slow fashion movement is challenging this and taking into consideration the habits of today and vouching for shopping less but better.
The bottom line is that slow fashion is the contrary of fast fashion, but there are multiple ways of being a ”slow fashion”-ista and mostly refers to the clothing piece itself.
As the name itself suggests, this term is referring to ethics of how the clothes were made, the conditions that the workers are having such as minimum wage, human rights, child labor, safety of the working facilities etc. Once again, no official definition is provided, and the definition might vary from person to person. The main goal of ethical fashion is the same – to minimize the negative impacts that the fashion industry is having on the world and the workers in the industry. Ethical fashion also refers to how the actual raw materials were made and during what conditions.
Key takeaway from the term ethical fashion is human rights.
The concept of circular fashion is based on the principles of circular economy and sustainable development and is taking into consideration many variables, such as the entire life cycle of production ranging from design and sourcing to production, transportation, storage, marketing and sale as well as the end consumer and the lifecycle of the item.
Circular fashion could be defined as fashion that is intended to be used, to circulate responsibly in society and live for as long as possible to add value to several people.
This is where renting comes into the picture! By renting clothes, we allow the fashion items to have an increased lifecycle, to provide value for multiple people with a smaller harmful impact on the environment.
Instead of over consuming and filling the wardrobe with seasonal items that you will only wear for a certain amount of time, then either forget about or throw away the renting models allows clothes to continue add value to people and society.
What is important to take into consideration is obviously the impact of overproduction, and by renting more we could eventually in the long term turn towards a decreased overproduction which is a huge problem today.
Renting is a very easy way to convert towards a more sustainable lifestyle of fashion consumption with no compromises to your seasonal trend behavior.
The term circular fashion can also refer to upcycling, which means to re-use materials from products that are made for end consumption.
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As the name suggests this refers to ecology, the impact on nature and the environment. The goal of ethical fashion is to provide goods that have minimal or none whatsoever negative impact on the nature and the environment. Eco-friendly clothes might refer to clothes that are made of fibers such as organic cotton and hemp, dyed with vegetables and fabrics that uses small amounts of water to grow, such as hemp and bamboo. To summarize, eco-friendly fashion is about the materials and minimal negative impact on the environment.
Sustainability has become trendy and we as consumers are demanding more in terms of transparency on the entire production chain to the actual end product in order for us to make conscious decisions while shopping. Green washing is simply put when companies lie, or say misleading facts to make their products appear better in terms of sustainability and harmful impact on the environment.
To sum it all up, we have multiple different definitions and vocabulary for essentially the same things: staying fashionable by consuming smarter and with an respect for the environment and the human rights.
An occurring problem with sustainable fashion is the guilt and bad conscience This needs to change. Fashion is supposed to be fun and a natural way for us to express ourselves and to make us feel good by the way we dress. Sustainable fashion is not about going extreme in one way or another. For us it is all about making conscious choices in a way that we can continuously enjoy the magical world of fashion but obviously with the huge respect for the environment. It is the little things that matters, and already one conscious choice has a huge impact when there are millions of us doing them.
Will you join the fashion revolution with us?