reading time: 6 minutes
Green this green that, green fashion, greenwashing, green everything. Carbon footprint, water usage, global warming. Recycling, upcycling, certified fair-trade, cruelty free. PAUSE. What’s all that?! See, talking about sustainability will be a long conversation. So grab your favourite coffee mug and let’s see what sustainability actually means. How could you define the word “sustainability” off the top of your head? Seems like this word fell into the trap of losing it’s meaning, because it’s thrown around next to the other buzzwords. Just like the word, “natural”, has become so “washed out” and vague in its meaning, so has sustainability, so it is important to look further than the popular buzzword and discover what it really means.
Beyond the BUZZ word. What are the aspects of sustainability?
Sustainability can be broken down into three main categories:
- Environmental - this is all about using our resources wisely, reusing things rather than throwing them straight into landfill, choosing renewable energy sources/matter over non-renewable ones and eliminating/reducing the pollution in our environment. These things are implemented when considering environmental sustainability in order to keep the earth “clean” and habitable for current and future generations.
- Social- sustainable also means fair trade. Although sustainability holds a broader meaning, fair trade is an component of sustainability. To be “socially sustainable” is to consider basic human rights. A business is considered socially sustainable if they employ fair worker conditions. This includes fair pay that is proportionate to the job they are completing and provides a living wage, a healthy working environment and reasonable working hours. Social sustainability ensures that the workers are treated in an ethical manner.
- Economical - the economical aspect of sustainability, in a business context, is the ability for the business to continue to make a profit and run steadily. This comprises of all the assets and costs of the business being able balance each other out to ensure it becomes profitable in the long run.
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash
The Earths condition and its concerns
It isn’t a surprise that the earth is finding it hard to sustain our lifestyles, since a lot of practices are humans engage in are unsustainable. These are just some of the environmental costs and effects.
- Landfill and pollution. Apart from landfill being visually unpleasant and cluttering our natural environment, landfill emits greenhouse gasses and harmful toxins into the atmosphere. These toxins can spread into our drinking water and soil, making our crops and water hazardous to consume. Every year, an estimated 2.2 billion tons of waste is dumped in our oceans.
- Global warming. This has become an increasing concern when links have been made between human activity and the consistent and long-term rise of the planets temperature. According to WWF, the main causes of global warming are burning fossil fuels, deforestation and animal agriculture.
- Deforestation. This is the clearing of trees in order to make room for a production of a different nature. It is estimated that within 100 years there will be no rain forests. Cutting down trees poses many concerns including: wildlife losing their habitat, which increases the rate of extinction, more greenhouse gasses being emitted into the atmosphere as the absence of trees allows more of these gasses into the atmosphere and soil erosion, as trees act as a natural barrier to slow water as it runs off the land.
Photo by Charles Etoroma on Unsplash
Sustainability and fashion
The aspects of sustainability and the problems in which the earth is facing can also be linked with the fashion industry. It is important for clothing brands to implement sustainable practices to benefit the environment, its workers and in fact its own business!
What you can do to buy clothes in a more sustainable way
How are young people shaping the future of sustainable fashion? Because young people are the future. It is important to continue to educate the younger generation about more conscious choices so that they can drive the industries to use more sustainable practices. But hey! Those who are older should also aim to become conscious of their purchasing choices and the impact those choices make. Everyone plays a role here! It is important to consider all aspects of sustainability with buying clothes. Find out if your favourite brands use sustainable fabric choices, preferably renewable materials or recycled materials, how much waste they produce and how their practices are affecting the environment. It is always important to look into worker conditions to make sure they are being treated fairly while making your garments and to buy from local brands to support your countries economy. Looking further into clothing brands’ environmental practices will allow you to reduce your impact on the earth and help slow down the progression of the concerns mentioned above.
Our impact on the earth
You might think that one person doesn’t make much of a difference, but everything counts. Every time you choose to buy something that supports the aspects of sustainability, you are sending a message to the producers to change their practices to suit your morals. By spreading the importance of sustainable fashion among those you know, your seemingly small action will turn into a much more noticeable one and with your friends spreading the word to their friends, you can change the future of fashion!
Making the shift from accepting BUZZ words to investigating them
It is important to question what you read. If you see “sustainably made” on a clothing tag or in a marketing campaign, remember that it might not be as “sustainable” as you think it is. Always investigate WHY something is sustainable, rather than just settling for the thought that it probably is sustainable, without a reason to back it up.
Our commitment to sustainable practices
Here at Reloop, we are dedicated to operate our business in the most sustainable way we can. By using natural materials like organic cotton and linen, recycled materials in order to reduce waste, having our supply chain built in Europe to minimize out environmental footprint and supporting the elements of fair trade, we are dedicated in providing a place where you can look fashionable and feel good about what you are doing to help the environment!
by Alexia Padayachee
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“Soil Erosion.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 25 June 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soil_erosion.