Style

How the Fashion Industry Can Go Sustainable All the Way

10.04.2019

Unless you have been living under a rock, you should know that sustainability is THE buzz in last five years or so: saving the world from our hands has become the focus of most business, on top of the topic of research of scientists, tech gurus and innovators on a global scale. The environmental impact of fashion is one of the subjects to start from, considering it is believed to be one of the highest polluting industries in the world – some say it is second only to oil.

From the large production of toxic chemicals, to the overuse of water and the air pollution created by the manufacture of synthetic fabrics, the big players in the fashion industry have plenty of ground where to start from in what can be the biggest revolution fashion has ever been a paladin of: going sustainable all the way.

Eco manufacturing

 Fast fashion is the main culprit the records of fashion&pollution, as on top of producing affordable and stylish clothes desired by millions, it also produced high levels of untreated toxic wastewaters, which are dumped directly into our rivers and seas. How can fashion change this? Eco manufacturing is the answer, and it is a method of producing clothes underpinned by the following principles: abandoning all chemicals in the manufacture of textiles, using ecological fabrics and lowering the use of water.

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Eco Fabrics 

Sustainability and eco manufacturing don’t come without the support of the latest textile technologies. Materials that are completely biodegradable are the answer to this, and they are organic cotton, ramie, jute, bamboo and wool: fabrics made out of these materials will in fact be able to decompose themselves in the environment naturally via living organisms. But they alone are not enough: eco manufacturing has seen the rise of ‘new’ fabrics that not only are able to reintegrate in nature after they have been used, but to their nature, the play a key role in reducing the impact of fashion on the environment. Take the case of shellfish shell denim, which on top of being 100% biodegradable also requires only 50% of the water and lower temperature in the manufacturing process.

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No chemicals 

Reaching a type of manufacturing that doesn’t alter the living habitats surrounding the factory is possible by stopping or reducing considerably the use of chemicals: eco fabrics play a major role in this as one of the aspects embedded in the word ‘eco’ is that the crops of natural fibres should also lower their environmental impact by lowering the amount of pesticides used in agriculture. Cotton is believed to use 16% of the world pesticides: they contain nitrates and phosphates, which can destroy the nature present in rivers with the phenomena of so called ‘algal bloom’.

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Less energy

Water is a source of energy too, and fashion wastes plenty of it, in the region of 20,000 litres to produce one kilogram of cotton, which is the equivalent needed to obtain a single t-shirt and pair of jeans – according to different sources. To make a t-shirt and a pair of jeans it takes more than 5,000 gallons of water: eco washings is one of the most important targets to turn fashion into wholly sustainable affair. The solution to this is to employ materials that don’t need a high number of washes for example or to recycle or re-use effluent water from processing during the manufacturing stages.

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Durable clothes

One of the main issues related to fast fashion is how shortly these garments will end up staying in our closets. First off, we end up buying too much: low prices mean we have developed consumeristic urges that go beyond the desire of dressing well. We simply wear half of the clothes we have in our wardrobe, which means either we bought them on a whim and later stack them in the back and even forget we had bought them in the first place. A minimalistic approach to life isn’t just a fashion fad, is how to solve the disastrous consequences of mass consumerism.

 

Secondly, fast fashion does not make clothes to last us a lifetime. Good quality clothes are the answer.

Buying less, but better is better for us and for the world we live in.

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