Beneath the glamour of fashion lies its less alluring weak spot: sustainability. Although the issue has been brought to the fore thanks to fashion professionals and activists, time is not on our side. The clock is ticking fast. It’s time to take pause to deliberate all together how to re-invent and thus re-purpose this whole system to live harmoniously with our environment. Big fashion brands have recently reaffirmed their commitments to reduce carbon emissions throughout every stage of a product life cycle. All these attempts are laudable, but the change for good can also happen at the micro level – to wit, at the level of customers. According to a recent McKinsey report, 57% of those who were surveyed indicated that they have made substantial changes to their lifestyles to “lessen their environment impact”, signaling a positive consumer sentiment on sustainable fashion. Now’s the time to act further on that green sentiment. Here are some tips you can check to adopt a fashionably sustainable lifestyle.
1) Look for “green credentials” and be specific.
Sustainability is a catch-all term, so it is useful to specify for yourself what your priorities are in terms of achieving sustainability. For example, if you care deeply about fair trade to create a more sustainable and equitable trade environment for producers in developing countries, you might want to look for products that are “Fairtrade Certified”. If you are highly interested in eco-friendly textiles, you might want to be on the lookout for “Global Organic Textile Standard”. The standard requires that at least 70% of a textile product be made of organic textiles that meet a rigorous set of environmental and toxicological standards. These green credentials can be your little fairy that guides your sustainability journey.
2) Browse a brand’s website.
Sometimes, the mission statement and sustainability reports of a brand can reveal its attitude towards sustainability. For example, Patagonia shares on its website very nicely curated stories about the brand’s sustainability efforts, ranging from seasonal sustainability reports to real voices from its supply chains. Also, Gucci runs a separate website titled Equilibrium dedicated to raise awareness of pivotal societal issues, including sustainability. As a sensible consumer, just by browsing a brand website, you can tell which brand is being really serious about sustainability or is using sustainability merely as a marketing pitch. Some of the brands featured on HEJJ STORE are also worth mentioning. For instance, Colorful Standard proudly states on its website that all of their clothes are made from 100% organic cotton. Sustainability also mean that a brand makes a conscious use of raw materials. For example, People’s Republic of Cashmere only uses yarn suppliers that are members of Sustainable Fashion Alliance. It is absolutely true that actions speak louder than words. Sometimes, however, words can lead to actions.
3) Practice baby steps.
Living a sustainable and fashionable lifestyle demands that you seamlessly incorporate this whole theme of sustainability into your existing lifestyle. People tend to set big, hard-to-achieve goals and end up doing nothing when it comes to maintaining a sustainable lifestyle. Always be mindful that baby steps count. Rather than throwing clothes after a few seasons, donate them to charities so that they can find new owners who will breathe into them another meaningful life. Maybe, you can donate them to projects that promote upcycling or recycling causes. Buy high-quality, durable clothes from conscious brands even if that means you have to pay more sometimes. Concerted individual actions will ultimately open the door for a whole new world!
-Hongjun is a J.D. candidate at Fordham University School of Law. He’s deeply passionate about copyright and trademark issues in the fashion industry.
Illustration By Yejin Jun_@bonbon_jun
-Graduating from Hongik University, Department of Fine Arts in S.Korea. She is working on inspiration from humans and nature.