Image taken from NNAEMEKA UGOCHUKWU
Not to worry, we at Priest London are here to talk you through how the fashion industry has been going through a massive upheaval and providing you with a simplified guide to sustainable fashion in 2020 and the terms associated with it.
So, read on…
The past few years have been a real turning point for the fashion industry. Consumers are growing more aware of the impacts fashion has been having on the environment and taking steps to lessen the impacts of their purchasing decisions. This mindset shift has resulted in the fashion industry taking a step to improve their sustainability and ethical practices, with big names and emerging designers really considering their social and environmental performance in this time of change. According to a BCG 2018 Pulse Survey of the Fashion Industry, it was “found that 75% of fashion companies improved their […sustainability] score in 2017 compared to 2016, raising the pulse of the industry by six points.
But what’s been the driving forces behind this change? The World Economic Forum attributes the recent shift to the increasing awareness about how the “$2 trillion industry is responsible for 10% of the global carbon footprint, negative environmental effects including water pollution, the use of toxic chemicals and high levels of textile waste, and poor working conditions for millions of workers, primarily women”.
Because of this, it is important that we know where our clothes are coming from and understand the brands that we buy from. We’re told to shop only eco-friendly items or buying organic clothing… but with all the change, there is little accompanying information to follow. The buzzwords can be overwhelming for some, or even confusing. Here’s a quick guide on what to look out for, and what it means.
- Eco-fashion is about making clothes that consider the environment, the health of consumers and the working conditions of people in the fashion industry. These garments are typically made with raw materials such as organic cotton or silk made by worms fed on organic trees or do not use harmful chemicals or bleach. Luxury items in the eco-friendly bracket are pieces that are made to last, meaning you can keep them for longer and buy less. Essentially, these products provide minimal damage to the environment and limit pollution.
- Silk, linen, wool, and hemp fabrics easily decompose into natural elements (as in, not landfill filler) after being trashed. Look at our Gnana Collection for items made of these products.
- Sustainable fashion considers the cyclical nature of the garments, how it’s produced and how it affects the world around us. Sustainable refers to the effect that the production of a garment has on the world around us and whether there is any waste involved when creating these pieces. The types of materials to look out for are products that use recycled fibres, or deadstock fabric, or are made using less water.
- Grown without any harmful chemicals that would impact the earth. Take a look at our Sloanie range, made from Austrian Beech Trees.
- Sustainability refers to maintaining the planet's current state and taking care not to degrade it further. Whilst regenerative farming “assumes that some things have already been so damaged that they need to be built back up before we can get by with merely sustaining them”.
- This typically refers to ensuring that the products you buy are made by people who are treated fairly and work in safe conditions. This can also include products that are vegan or use animal products from animals that are treated fairly and are raised in the safest of conditions. Fairtrade refers to garments made by workers in developing countries, who earn a fair living wage, especially when the clothes are sold in developed countries. These brands will typically have a section on their website proving that their workers are treated fairly or are certified by a body.
- When products have been used to the end of its life but are then turned into something brand new and given a new lease of life.
- High-quality pieces that are made to last a long time, meaning you spend less and buy less. These brands tend to avoid trends, but instead focus on producing timeless pieces that you can use for years to come and will never go out of style.
- When companies cover their products with a sustainability sheet and claim to be sustainable or ethical, but really their claims turn out to be false or completely exaggerated. That’s why we at Priest London make sure to include completely researched background information about the brands you’re buying from. When stocking with us, brands must evidence their sustainability practices if it is not obvious from their products.