A few years back, it was almost impossible for anyone in the fashion industry to talk about sustainable and social consciousness in a single statement. But if 2018 is any indication of things that are to come in the future, it is clear to say that fashion has indeed become responsible. How is this?
Global mindfulness as a fashion style
Green fashion trends and the socially conscious have started making big waves in this multi-billion-dollar industry. From the moderately small, new designers to the biggest companies in the fashion industry, all the important players have started making strides to global awareness.
Examples of designers that have started embracing this particular trend include:
Fashion publications have not been left behind as major publications such as Vogue and The New York Times have started using terms such as “eco-friendly fashion” and “sustainable couture.” These are adjectives that have not been used or associated with the industry for very many years, but clearly, change is taking place.
The enthusiasm that is bubbling among both consumers and designers is an indication that eco-friendly and socially responsible fashion could be more than a passing phase.
It is important to note that the increased consciousness is not an indication that the concern for the global fraternity and the love for fashion have been reciprocally exclusive in the past. However, whenever one has been on the search for clothing items that have been made using sustainable products and principles, the selection has been very narrow.
So how has an industry that is known to change with each new season turned a new leaf and become socially-conscious? Here are some ways in which these companies are making a difference.
Sweatshop labor and animal cruelty are two factors that have been on everyone’s lips for quite a while now. Many people in this industry are starting to come to the realization that it is no longer sufficient just to know that the clothing items people are wearing were not produced in a sweatshop.
They also need to consider where the raw materials came from. For instance, Uzbekistan is the second largest cotton producer in the world and is known to use child labor when harvesting the cash crop. Today’s consumers and designers are now interested in learning that their clothing pieces are both cruelty and violence-free. The socially-conscious styles call for attention to all the steps followed during the production process.
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
This is one industry that is known for reinventing and copying itself after every few years. To advance the recycling concept, designers have started finding creative ways of incorporating materials that had previously been recycled and discarded in their upcoming designs. In return, this means that less energy is used during the production process.
Finding new raw materials
Cotton is derived from a plant, which means that it is environmentally friendly, right? Well, this is not entirely true. According to statistics from the World Bank, cotton farming is responsible for close to 16% of insecticide releases in the world.
Designers and clothing manufacturers have, therefore, had to shift to organic cotton, as others start exploring other viable materials altogether. For instance, textile manufacturers are now using wood pulp, corn and soy to come up with sound alternatives to traditional cotton-based fabrics.
Everything old is new again
Vogue Paris has gone on to predict that consumers and designers are likely to start falling in love again with 60’s shiny fabric and prints. This is an affirmation to the fact that fashion crazes may come and go, but pretty palettes will always be timeless.
Companies in the apparel industry have made a commitment to start developing social responsibility programs that will assist in facilitating positive changes for their personnel.
For instance, Free2Work is a program that implements a grade on firms in this industry, e.g., Walmart, Levi’s, Gap, and Forever 21 to determine whether they are paying fair wages, training their workers, ensuring transparency, and implementing good corporate policies.
Sustainable fashion and eco-friendly practices are no longer concepts for the future, but rather being implemented here and now for the benefit of us all. With fashion following the trends of humanity (or vice versa) caring for our planet and the workers themselves leads to both better product and better practices making our world a happier, healthier place for consumers and workers alike.
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