Towards a More Sustainable Fashion Industry

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A guest blog post by Catherine Hansmann. Catherine studies fashion design at the Esmod University in Berlin and did her internship at Formal Friday. Her thesis “LET’S GO GREEN! Approaching Sustainable Fashion is downloadable at the end of the post.

The fashion industry has always been a big part of humanity and it is still increasing within each minute. Its current functioning cannot be compared to the fashion industries years ago. A slow, but growing global consensus is emerging: this is definitely an environmental friendly production system. Companies, as well as humanity need to start feeling the pressure in order to actively change this industry towards a sustainable production, processing and management system. But what is a good definition for sustainable fashion? Sustainable fashion is best defined as a long-term solution: The creation of a durable balance between 3 important categories, economic, social and environmental, and promote awareness of the current situation which are the following: working places are not safe, animal cruelty, water waste, over using pesticides, no living wages, negative impact on our planet, that sustainable fashion could promote to get more consciousness to humanity.

Moreover, one of the most important results to get is changing the way people think when it comes to fashion. People have become slaves of consume. The pursuit of the good life through practices known as consumerism has become a dominant social aspect. Consumer’s behavior deserves a special mention, because it generates a large impact on the fashion industry. It is argued that the transition to a sustainable future for the fashion industry requires a new way of thinking. A sustainable society cannot be fully achieved without sustainable individuals, taking the issue to heart. “I shop, therefore I am”, is a motto part of a popular culture in developed countries, where shopping is a significant aspect to increase people’s quality of life. This mainstream has to be changed. What about this idea: “Making sustainability cool”. People should start taking consciousness about the methods and behaviors of mass production companies and analyze better when it comes to consumption of fashion. Sustainability strives for long-lasting quality in clothing that has no social or environmental impacts. This is what people should be buying. Think about the origin of each piece of clothing you are buying!! Sustainable brands should promote more the matter of consumption: Show consumers, that what they are buying is good for them, for future generations, the environment and the people working in the industry. We all know about enormous ability of the global fashion industry to influence the public and individual perception: One of them should be “sustainability is cool”, breaking with the prejudice that sustainable fashion is not fashionable. If consumers start thinking more while purchasing fashion, the industry will be huge making progress.

So, how can the fashion industry approach a more sustainable way of production? First it is important to mention, that the fashion industry requires many new technologies and innovations to contribute to the fashion industry in a sustainable way. There are some essential aspects that have to be taken into consideration if sustainability wants to be achieved. The use of Eco-friendly fabrics, recycling and creating new textiles with the recycled material, is one of the biggest innovations some Sustainable Brands have been recently applying. A slow start to the approach of sustainable fashion could begin, if the mass production Companies adapted this to their productions. As said before, the fashion industry and society have to go hand in hand to find together a solution to approach sustainable fashion. We have to start somewhere. Let’s better our quality of life and unite our power to create something greater and everlasting.

Catherine’s full thesis available here.

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