Written by: Douaa Batersh
Reading time: 5 minutes
What do we mean with Fashion Sustainability?
Have you ever heard about the term “sustainable fashion”? If yess, do you know what it means? Fashion sustainability refers to clothing designed, manufactured, distributed, and used in environmentally friendly ways, but have you also wondered how it can foster sustainable development?
The influence of social media
Let’s talk a little about the major burden we are facing nowadays when it comes to fashion and clothing. With the upcoming developments of social media, people are becoming more obsessed in trends, especially clothing trends. So, most fashionistas sometimes put on the item once in order to show it in a post then they take it off and throw it away. Do they ever think about the environment? Moreover, we should also shed light on this. Besides throwing clothes away in our limited way of thinking consumers should also find ways to solve the problems we face for pollution. Since every individual can make a difference by sharing his own idea.
Besides, there are a lot of advantages related to social media, we can raise awareness through bloggers and influencers which are one of the critical social media marketing channels to advertise clothes and quickly gain traction through platforms. Moreover, the models we engage with should be of different sizes, colors, and body shapes for people to recognize themselves buying certain recycled clothing items.
Thrifting, what is it?
How can we avoid such problems with clothes being thrown away? One of the answers could be ‘thrifting’ which is a great way to maintain a sustainable environment, but how does it work exactly? By giving worn clothes a second chance to be included in someone’s else style of fashion leading to a “win-win situation” in which the customer will get items in cheaper and to keep clothes out of landfills thus minimizing waste. However, we all know that thrifting already exists, but the problem that lies within that it’s not as common as it should be. First, because of the lack of communication between huge thrift shops and the smaller ones we can spot them in every country, in doing so, huge thrift shops should distribute items to small shops in wholesale for reaching more people in different spots in the same country.
Second, because of the stereotypes carrying the idea that only poor people go thrifting, they got ashamed of entering thrift shops so that they don’t feel that their standards are lowered. So, I think most of you will ask how can we eliminate those stereotypes or motivate them and others for thrifting? We can use our platforms to actually show others that thrifting other than being a way of maintaining a sustainable environment is also a way of fashion and style.
Because of my personal obsession in fashion and clothes, sometimes I had an excess of clothes I never wear. So, to avoid throwing away my old clothes, to make money and let people get new, branded, and affordable items, I had opened a thrifting online page which I found the best idea to find collaborator brands. Moreover, another problem faces us when it comes to thrifting which is accessibility. Let’s say that if already worn clothes could be collected easily, people will consider this easier for them as well. So, what pops up is that these shops should create bins in certain spots so that the unwanted clothes can be placed in there, so that it is reachable by associations for donations and every man in need.
Fashion stimulates ecology and economy
Did you know that it takes 2,700 liters of water to make one cotton shirt? Enough to meet the average person’s drinking needs for two-and-a-half years. As well as, making a pair of jeans produces as much greenhouse gases as driving a car more than 80 miles, also discarded clothing made of non-biodegradable fabrics can sit in landfills for up to 200 years. So, what do we do? Recycling is one of the most important mechanisms to protect the environment. Moreover, making biodegradable items is a profitable situation for the environment even though it is more costly for humans. Because the fashion industry as a whole is worth so much, it is able to employ many people.
When more jobs are created, people have more to spend and so the economy goes better. The jobs in the fashion industry that are very popular and well-known are being a fashion designer, fashion illustrator, and a fashion photographer. Sustainable fashion is also an area of the fashion industry that impacts the economy. A report from Global Fashion Agenda found that it would be beneficial to address the environmental and social problems created by the fashion industry. This would create $192 billion in profit, benefiting the global economy if it is done by 2030. Companies would need to design and invest in business models that make sustainable and reused clothes. This can be done in different ways. For example, some companies give customers the option of leasing clothes. While this may put an end to the idea of ownership of clothes, it is better overall for both the economy and the environment. So, buy less, choose right, make it last!
“Douaa is a 20 years old Biology student at the Lebanese University Faculty of Science. Born and raised in the capital of Beirut and interested in doing her Master’s in Forensics Science abroad. Moreover, Douaa is interested as a researcher in the field of environmental sustainability and its effects on the overall biodiversity, that’s why she got in touch with CoSE and immediately was interested to join the team to raise awareness on this important topic, not only from a European perspective but also for the Middle-Eastern youth in general. She is particularly focused on fashion design and its recycled and organic materials. Therefore, she is hoping to mash both natural materials and clothing together to reach sustainability in the fashion industry.