“Every day is a fashion show and the world is your runway.” The idea behind this saying is that in order to keep up with fashion and in order to stay current, one must be have a collection of clothes Carrie Bradshaw would be proud of. But if style goes out of date every six months, is this sustainable?
The answer is an equivocal no! Churning out cheap, poorly made clothes at an incessant rate, for mass consumption, is not how the pioneers of the great fashion industry thought this would go. How far removed have we become from the process of how our clothes are made, to then purchasing them either in a shop or online, to eventually putting it our backs? Somewhere along the line the boundaries of acceptability have been blurred. We have lost our way.
Huge clothing companies like to think they are doing all they can in producing eco-friendly, ethical clothing but are they really? Consumerism and sustainability do not go hand in hand and at last people are beginning to wake up and smell the roses.
An article in Al Jazeera recently pointed out that, “H&M has its ‘Conscious Collection’, made of organic cotton and recycled polyester; Puma’s biodegradable InCycle Collection; Adidas’ Design for Environment gear; and Zara’s eco-efficient stores.” But big corporations mentality will always be to stack them high and sell them cheap. This is an absolute dichotomy and when it boils down to it, they will choose profit over sustainability 10 times out of 10.
Sure, those efforts are acknowledging the throwaway culture in which we are immersed, but is it enough? People aren’t being educated about the implications this has not only for your wardrobe, but for the world at large. If big brands continue looking for cheaper and cheaper methods of manufacturing clothes, what happens to the land that is ravaged, the workers that are exploited and children that are being forced to work in horrendous conditions at an unacceptable wage?
That is ultimately where we are now in amidst a sea of ‘fast-fashion’ to stimulate the high street’s latest desire. The business model has to be changed. Livia Firth of Eco Age, a consulting firm in London, argues that as long as they continue to produce “in such volumes and at such ridiculous prices, their sustainability efforts – no matter how genuine – are a form of greenwashing.”
Of course, big clothing labels will not change the culture; it is down to the consumers. We, right now, have the opportunity to take it upon ourselves to change the status-quo. There are many smaller companies, who take great pride in the process of how clothes are made, that ARE sustainable. That really DO care about our planet. By supporting these local, friendly companies, the emphasis is on quality and you will resist the urge for novelty. Making fashion sustainable, once again!