Behind the glitz and glamour of the fashion industry, there are some grave realities that people are unaware of. Tons of clothing is thrown away every year. The textile industries are responsible for 20% of water pollution. Then there are sweatshops in developing countries where workers are treated unethically. In amidst of all of that, there is a movement vying to end all of it: sustainable fashion.
Sustainable fashion is not just a buzzword, it is a global movement of activists, designers, and retailers who want to save the planet. The problem is not just at the manufacturer’s end but also at consumer’s end. Mass fashion is cheap so it is easy for people to throw away a perfectly good clothing piece. Social media exposure and fast-changing trends supplement this fast consumerism. Clearly, the change needs to happen on all sides.
Australia has been at the forefront of the sustainable fashion movement. In March, the country’s first ever sustainable fashion conference Australian Circular Fashion Conference took place in Sydney. Many designers and major retailers were present at the event. The same month Vogue Australia published their sustainability-themed edition. Many of the countries new brands are all about sustainability.
As a consumer, it is your responsibility too to use clothing produced ethically. No animal deaths, carbon emissions or labor abuse is worth a stylish jacket or pair of jeans. So what should you do to find sustainable fashion, especially in New South Wales? Here are some tips to help you get on board:
- Understand sustainable fashion
The first step is education. You need to understand what sustainable fashion really means. There are many popular blogs on the internet that are dedicated to this subject. That can be a good start. Look at your current closet and evaluate your own choices. Do you wear a lot of furs? Are you hoarding on too many unused clothes? Start with yourself and you will know where you need to start working.
- Look for sustainable brands
You need to be wary of the companies you shop from. Find brands that use sustainable fabrics. You should research their production facilities and whether the clothes are manufactured abroad or locally. Local brands that produce clothing in-house are more likely to follow ethical manufacturing practices. Avoid any brands that use animal fur.
The good thing is there are many Australian brands and retailers that are focusing on sustainable fashion, many of which are located in New South Wales. For instance, Gorman is one such brand with multiple stores in New South Wales and all over Australia.
- Second-hand clothing
There is a lot of stigmas attached to second-hand clothing. Second-hand clothing does not necessarily mean second best clothing. You would be surprised to see high-quality, expensive pieces in thrift shops. In New South Wales alone, there are a dozen recycled clothing brands. Some of these are purely charity.
Even if you do not shop at these places, you can donate your old clothing. Rather than hoarding on clothes and shoes, or throwing them away, you can contribute them to the sustainable fashion movement and help the poor too.
- Explore online
Right now sustainable fashion options are somewhat limited. If you are someone who easily gets bored with the same brands, you can look up online. There are many ethical clothing brands in North America and Europe, especially in Scandinavia. Many of these brands deliver across the globe, including Australia. You can order your clothes online from these retailers and get them delivered at your door.
- Invest in quality
An important aspect of sustainable and ethical clothing is quality! You can shop at Dezzal for unconventional cuts and high-quality fabrics. Anything high-quality would obviously last longer which means you will not have to get clothes that often as you probably do now. Many of the manufacturers who produce sustainable fabrics invest heavily in quality. The clothing from these brands would definitely last long.
When buying clothes, one should go for quality even if it means spending more money. In the long run, that would actually save you money. Besides, you can always use coupons and buy from sales to bring down the price.
Sustainability starts from you and every choice you make no matter how small will have a ripple effect. And who says you cannot look stylish with sustainable clothes? There is a misconception that sustainability fashion means minimalist clothing. That is not true as many designs use a variety of fabrics, have vivid colors, and look downright amazing.