Sustainability has become a huge part of our daily lives. From the utensils that we use to the way we travel, we’re becoming more conscious of the impact that our actions and choices have on our environment and society.
Fashion is no exception. The fashion industry is reinventing itself and transitioning to make its whole value chain more sustainable and environmentally friendly, through “slow fashion”.
What is Slow Fashion?
Slow fashion, or sustainable fashion is manufactured, marketed and used in the most sustainable manner possible, that consider both environmental and socio-economic aspects.
Slow fashion incorporates elements of sustainability and ethics in all stages of the product’s lifecycle – from design, raw materials, manufacturing processes to its marketing, sales and use.
The ultimate goal is to have an economic model that does not leave a negative impact on the Earth’s resources. Let’s take a look at a few ways in which slow fashion can make a significant difference.
Slow fashion saves natural resources
Water, land and oil make up the majority of resources that go into making apparel and its various components. These materials are fresh resources that usually cannot be recycled in the manufacturing process, making it highly unsustainable and damaging to the environment.
One way manufacturers of sustainable fashion are solving this problem is to switch to materials that require fewer fresh resources, such as modal. Modal fabric is a semi-synthetic blend of rayon made from spinning reconstituted beech tree cellulose. It is widely considered an eco-friendlier alternative to cotton because beech trees require 10-20 times less water to grow. Sustainable manufacturers are also looking to use recycled fibres for apparel, which reduces the pressure on fresh resources and tackles the problem of waste management.
Slow fashion reduces your carbon footprint
The fashion industry is a major contributor to greenhouse gases as majority of clothes produced are petroleum-based, including polyester and acrylic, which require more energy in the production phase compared to natural and recycled fibres.
Each person’s carbon footprint is a calculation of the total greenhouse gas emissions that they cause directly or indirectly. One way to reduce your carbon footprint is to engage in activities and practices that are carbon-neutral i.e. a state of net zero carbon where carbon emissions caused have been balanced out with the removal or elimination of emissions. Supporting slow fashion reduces your overall carbon footprint as apparel are made from natural materials such as beech tree pulp, natural dyes, which are more biodegradable in the long run. Materials that are biodegradable “return” to nature when they decompose into natural materials. They also require less chemical treatment during the production phase which further helps to reduce carbon emissions.
Slow fashion supports fair, safe and ethical working conditions
In the pursuit of profits, the industry frequently exploits vulnerable communities who do not have a significant political voice, such low-income women and children in developing countries. Cutting corners where possible to increase their profit margins as much as possible has seen companies forcing their employees to work long hours in dangerous working conditions for less than a liveable wage. Slow fashion brands are committed to fighting this injustice, by providing humane working environments, basic healthcare and fair wages for their employees. This helps break the cycle of abject poverty and empowers members of vulnerable communities to lead dignified lives.
Slow fashion is healthier for you
Wearing sustainable fashion can have a direct impact on your own health as well.
Apparel made from synthetic materials usually involve harsh chemicals that used to dye, bleach and process the item. This affects the worker in the manufacturing plant significantly, and further down the value chain, the customer, whose skin can be affected by the chemicals in the clothes.
Sustainable fashion employs production processes that avoid synthetic materials and dyes, which are less harmful to humans and the earth – from the worker in the factory to the end customer who wear the item.
As both consumers and manufacturers, we at Rawbought are committed to being part of a sustainable future in fashion. Through our production processes, we aim to reduce the stress that our industry causes the earth and its precious resources.