Sustainability has no one-size-fits-all definition. But one thing is crystal clear: it isn’t a hollow buzzword or a passing trend.
In the fashion industry, it doesn’t mean launching limited “sustainable” collections, only to return to your unsustainable practices once the hype dies down. Nor is it using eco-friendly materials while turning a blind eye to your high carbon emission and unethical practices.
Sustainable fashion is a holistic, circular journey where we continuously seek innovative solutions for the planet. It’s a commitment to transparency—from sourcing to production and even post-consumer use.
Consumers and fashion brands must collaborate to understand and carry out this concept. So, let’s dig deeper and see what exactly sustainability in fashion looks like.
What is Sustainable Fashion?
Fashion sustainability refers to socially responsible actions aimed at curbing the industry’s negative environmental impact. It involves sourcing renewable or recycled materials, promoting transparent supply chains, and ensuring products last as long as possible.
Otherwise, an impending crisis is imminent.
The amount of non-renewable textile materials is projected to skyrocket to 300 million tonnes by 2050. Textiles made from non-renewable resources, like polyester and nylon, are derived from fossil fuel sources like oil and natural gas. The process of producing, using, and disposing of these textiles results in the release of greenhouse gasses, further our reliance on finite resources, and increases the potential release of microplastics.
As a result of sythetic fiber production and use, the microplastics entering the ocean could accumulate to 22 million tonnes surplus by 2050—two-thirds of the plastic-based fibers we use worldwide. Microplastics are microscopic pieces of plastic that shed from our synthetic garments during wash. While the complete impact of these tiny fibers is not yet known, we do know that microplastic absorb toxins in the ocean waters and are then ingested by fish and are, in turn, ingested by humans. Microplastic pollution is so widespread that it has been found in our drinking water and even in the human placenta.
The toxic chemicals and carbon emissions resulting from textile processes is something we can no longer ignore either. Conventional cotton production, for instance, requires natural fibers, chemical fertilizers, and 100 billion tons of water (and counting). The toxic chemicals used in textiles not only affect the ultimate wearer but the workers in our textile mills and garment factories as well. Workers are subject to breathing in damaging chemicals all day long. Chemicals can leach into the waterways surrounding factories, leaving nearby communities at risk for serious illnesses like cancer. These unsustainable practices don’t only deplete valuable resources but also impair ecosystems and human well-being.
Sustainable fashion practices are necessary to mitigate carbon-emissions, microplastic pollution, toxic chemical exposure, water usage, waste creation and more. Fashion companies working toward a more sustainable future favor carbon-neutral or carbon-positive materials and practices, ban toxic chemicals like phthalates, support regenerative agriculture practices and contribute to a circular economy.
Sustainable fashion practices may be trending upwards, but it’s not without hurdles. Unfortunately, many fast fashion brands today market themselves as sustainable and eco conscious brands.y. Here is how the majority of fast fashion brands fall short of their claims and contribute to a less-than-stylish reality.
The Downside of Fast Fashion
Every year, we discard 92 million tons of fashion-related waste. That’s enough to fill a garbage truck every second or one and a half Empire State Buildings every day.
Let’s be real, how often have you gone shopping for new clothes only to toss them after a few wears? Possibly even due to fixable tears? . If so, you are stuck in the cycle of fast fashion.
Fast fashion and its rapid production and consumption of low-cost, trendy pieces is the problem. Fashion companies that favor fast turnaround times and low prices over ethical and sustainable practices put our entire planet at risk.
Some pseudo-sustainable clothing brands may employ greenwashing tactics, so it’s crucial to look beyond their surface-level marketing claims. Look for specific information about their manufacturing processes, shipping procedures, and textile labor practices.
It’s up to us to advocate for change and work towards a sustainable path forward. Whether you’re in the heart of a cultural mecca like Los Angeles or admiring from afar in the rural Midwest, your mindful choices can make all the difference. Sustainability is all about progress—not perfection.
The Fallibility of Sustainable Brands
The truth is, even the most sustainable fashion brands have work to do, but that work is only as good as our resources. Recycling technology needs to improve to incorporate more fibers, and products must be designed with current technologies in mind. Innovative solutions, like Mylo leather, are often so cost prohibitive that their developments are stopped before they can be mass-manufactured. Consumers have the power to vote with their dollar, sending a message to corporations that the future of our planet matters and that these investments are worth it.
HYER GOODS: Sustainable Fashion for the Thoughtful Trendsetter
The shared mission of HYER GOODS and other sustainable fashion brands is to challenge today’s fast fashion practices that cause harmful environmental and social impacts. They promote durable products from high-quality, ethically sourced materials, carbon-neutral working conditions, and expert craftsmanship.
Sustainability is the new luxury at HYER GOODS. We craft high-end bags out of existing leather and materials that would otherwise end up in landfills. Feel confident in your style choices, knowing our process uses no harmful chemicals or excessive energy.
Let’s help curb the escalating resource consumption, waste generation, and carbon emissions plaguing our planet, together. Embrace the sustainability of fashion. Shop our full collection today.