The Stitch on Sustainable Fashion and Ethical Clothing
Posted on November 03 2020
We’ve all heard about the different ways how we can incorporate a greener lifestyle. It’s been a long journey to raise awareness on the importance of recycling, elimination of single-use plastics, and nowadays, the incorporation of more plant-based diets. However, we often don’t talk about sustainable fashion enough, especially when we’re living in a “fast fashion” era where clothes are cheaply made and hurt our well-being more than we think.
So what is Sustainable Fashion and Ethical Clothing? To put simply, sustainable fashion and/or ethical clothing is concerned with reducing harm to the environment, the livelihood of communities in which clothes are manufactured, and improving working conditions for those who help create our clothing items.
Sustainable fashion looks into the lifecycle of a product, from the design, sourcing, and production processes, and makes an effort in cutting down any harmful practices that will impact our environment and life.
Did You Know...
Water usage is one of the biggest concerns in production of clothes. The world may be covered in water, but only 1.2% of that is usable for drinking and agriculture.
Out of all the fibers used for your clothes, 20 million tons of cotton is produced every year, and between 8,000 - 22,500 litres of water is required to produce 1kg of cotton. Furthermore, cotton farming is a large user of pesticides compared to other agricultural production, damaging waterways, soil, and imposing health implications to the people who have to manage the pesticides.
We know that choosing healthier alternatives isn't always the easiest, especially if our options are limited. It can almost feel daunting to make a switch because if you can’t go all green, you might as well go home, but that’s not entirely true! There isn’t a perfect model on how we can be completely sustainable but we can always do our best. Here are some tips on how you can incorporate a more sustainable and ethically sound lifestyle in the ways you select your clothes:
Many people don’t know this, but there are a number of different kinds of materials, some patented, that allow for eco-friendly products and apparel. Most commonly found could be organic cotton, Organic cotton doesn’t use genetically modified seeds,and bans all use of pesticides. This means that organic cotton uses 71% less water and 62 % less energy than regular cotton. One such brand we love and carry is “Mini Rodini” which offers both a healthier and comfortable alternative. Other materials such as recycled polyester, natural rubber, linen, hemp, lyocell and more are also options as sustainable materials and fibres.
With so many sources for fast fashion these days, it may seem challenging to find specific manufacturers and brands that have sustainable products. These are specific labels and certifications found on clothing items that you can look out for.
One of the strictest global standards for organic materials. It is a quality assurance system that demands manufacturers to comply with a social criteria, ensures limits on toxic chemicals such as bleaches and dyes during the production process for textiles. It is internationally recognized and goes beyond verifying the organic farming process to include every step of manufacturing. Fibres are sent to laboratories to verify that pesticides or genetically modified seeds were absent in agriculture, and that no hazardous chemicals were involved in the production.
To attain Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification, the fabric has to be tested and certified to be free from harmful levels of more than 100 substances known to be harmful to human health, ensuring the health of nature, worker and user.
You can put your dollars where it matters, starting with high quality products that are meant to be durable, and repurposed through time. Or, look for materials that are made of organic fibers - less impact, or recycled materials. Watch out for these designer collections that are eco-conscious.