As we celebrated International Women’s Day last week, we saw it as a great moment to launch our blog to share our thoughts on the importance of fashion, and the need to try and do fashion the right way.
People - and brands - have increasingly been talking about sustainable fashion, as we can probably all understand that fashion, the way it is mostly currently done, is not sustainable. However, the main issues we can think of are 1/ there is no clear and universally agreed upon definition of sustainable fashion - meaning a lot of brands can advertise being sustainable, thanks to a few initiatives they may have, while still acting mostly in an unsustainable manner - and 2/ true 100% sustainable fashion is most likely, for the moment, impossible to achieve.
We will discuss these two points in more details in future posts but, for the moment, let’s just say that, as consumers, as brands, we can still love responsible fashion. For consumers, by responsible, we mean thinking before buying, wondering whether an item we want is the right item to buy, whether it is a responsible purchase. For brands, we mean thinking before producing, making sure it is the right/best way to produce an item, whether we can actually be proud of the way it was produced, and comfortable saying we are responsible for the creation of that item.
One great thing about the industry is that the customer actually has all the power in its hands. So if customers were to truly decide to be responsible fashionistas, brands would have no other choices than to be responsible brands, and the industry would be transformed. Easy, no?
Well, there are probably 3 main aspects to consider as consumers:
- Consuming better: it is estimated that polyester is found in around 60% of garments. Even worse, most of it is virgin polyester. It is easy to understand the reasons - polyester is cheap, sometimes even really cheap, and, let’s be honest, quite useful when you are creating a garment; but very often it will not stand the test of time, and more importantly, it is absolutely terrible for the people who manufacture it and for the environment. Choosing products made with materials that are more eco-friendly is an easy choice.
- Consuming less: we have been purchasing more and more clothes, partly because we can often buy clothes of poor quality that will need to quickly be replaced, but mostly because we often want more clothes. Now, do we really need a new clothing item every week? How many pairs of jeans does one really need for example? If we reach a reasonable number (and that number may be different from one person to the other), and we see a new pair, could we make the responsible choice of not buying it even when we can afford it? Overconsumption encourages overproduction, which means clothes probably end up being thrown away, even when they are supposedly recycled or reused.
- Consuming wiser: clothes cost money. If a piece of clothing is sold at a very low price, it means something is not normal. A cotton tee-shirt cannot reasonably cost €10. The fabric has a cost; if it was not bought at a reasonable cost, it means it was not made the right way. The manufacturing of the tee has a cost; if it was not manufactured at a reasonable cost, it means it was not made the right way. Expecting clothes to be unreasonably cheap is not responsible; as much as we can enjoy a good bargain, the people who contribute to us having our clothes, from the person who grows the cotton to the person who hands us the final item, need to be properly remunerated.
These simple actions from responsible fashionistas will help transform the industry and create the future of fashion, a more responsible fashion. In an industry in which an estimated 80% of garment workers are female, contributing to responsible fashion and offering better, healthier lives to all these women is something we truly love.