How Sustainability Concerns are Changing the Fashion Industry
By Space Coast Daily // February 8, 2023
Fashion waste statistics from Earth.Org continue to shock because of the industry’s detrimental environmental impact.
Of the 100 million garments produced each year, these contribute to 10% of global emissions, create 92 million tons of textile waste, consume endless water supplies, and introduce nearly 10% of the microfibers in our waterways and oceans.
In developing countries, where most people employed in fast fashion are young women, the industry has also largely contributed to human welfare and societal problems.
However, the fashion industry and its environmentally and ethically conscious consumers are not sitting with their hands crossed. Increasingly, those genuinely concerned are fighting to move the fashion industry away from the greedy concept of fast fashion – the model of a rapid journey from design to low-cost distribution – into a more sustainable fashion model.
Sustainability concerns are changing the fashion industry in several ways:
1. Creating Quality and Customized Clothing
Technology is on the side of clothing companies and consumers. Automated tailoring machines allow more people access to bespoke clothing created to fit them perfectly. In addition, more consumers feel it’s worth the extra cost to wear quality clothing that matches their style, lasts longer, and does not come off a hanger, rapidly increasing the demand for customized apparel.
“There are several ways to reduce the industry’s environmental impact and to change the trend preferred by many consumers to purchase fast fashion, wear it a few times, and then dump it,” says Saul Maslavi, CEO of Jovani Fashion. Jovani fashion is known for its evening wear and prom dresses. The company has maintained a solid presence in the industry since 1980.
Maslavi adds, “We have long been advocates of quality and customized fashion that can be worn for years, either by its original owners or sold on to other appreciative fashion-conscious women.”
Image Credit: Jovani
2. Reducing the Environmental Impact
Clothing brands continue to seek ways to alleviate the polluting effect of the fashion industry. Many have conscientiously moved away from synthetic materials but are also switching to eco-friendly natural fabrics and locally produced clothing that doesn’t ship from far distances.
Fabric manufacturers are also starting to play a significant role in these efforts as they also look for ways to produce fabrics with less water and non-toxic dyes.
The biggest influencers in the fashion industry are designers and fashion houses. Many have started playing a vital role by limiting their collections, a trend that should eventually trickle down to the high street outlets.
3. Repurposing Material Stocks
Before fashion was available in such abundance, people were masters at recycling materials from old garments into new designs. Today, many fashion brands have a stockpile of materials used in past collections that their designers use to create timeless designs.
4. Looking after the People in the Industry
Many consumers still don’t question the origins of their clothes. They continue to want to buy the cheapest items and have a cupboard full of clothes they hardly ever wear. However, they often forget another angle to sustainability: ethical practices.
Of the 60 million people working in the garment industry, 75% are women. However, many garment producers’ poor human rights records mean that their employees work under conditions likened to modern-day slavery.
Transparency leads to sustainability, but it must start from the bottom of the supply chain with the farmers, filtering up to the fashion brand itself.
“Bringing out a woman’s inner beauty requires dedication from our designers and seamstresses. Our clothing is all manufactured here in the heart of New York’s garment district, ensuring ethical practices and sustainability,” says Abraham Maslavi, CFO.
5. Going Beyond Greenwashing
It’s not enough for a brand to say it practices sustainability when it’s not taking all the required steps to go green and ethical. Therefore, brands with serious intentions ensure they don’t wait for legislation to force them to change.
Consumers are aware of the issues and want the brands they support to ensure they take all the right steps, including using sustainable packaging. That means it’s not just recyclable but sourced responsibly and reusable.
Creating a sustainable change in the fashion industry takes more than words and thoughts. Environmentally and ethically aware brands make a point of taking action to move in the right direction faster, ensuring significant changes. After all, every girl buying her prom dress today wants to know that she can wear it on countless other occasions.
She also wants reassurance that it’s ethically and environmentally sustainable and can later find its place with someone looking for a timeless pre-loved fashion piece.