Understanding Modern Sustainable Clothing

Modern sustainable clothing practices have grown in popularity over the past few decades as a result of a number of factors, including heightened awareness of climate change, environmental degradation, and labor exploitation. 

Consumers’ growing interest in responsible consumption, along with advancements in eco-friendly technologies and supply chain transparency, further propelled the movement. While sustainable fashion has come a long way, it remains an ongoing journey of innovation, education, and change within the fashion industry.

The term sustainable fashion began in the 1970s and 1980s, when some individuals and small groups began to question the impacts of the fashion industry on the environment. The punk rock movement rebelled against conformity, capitalism, and social institutions and used fashion as a way to express it. But the term “sustainable fashion” started to gain traction again in the early 2000s.

The fashion industry has historically been associated with negative environmental and social impacts, including pollution, resource depletion, and poor labor conditions. Sustainable clothing aims to mitigate these impacts by addressing various aspects of the production and consumption processes.

Sustainable clothing is all about taking the right approach to sourcing, manufacturing, and even designing apparel that maximizes its benefits for society and the industry. However, the approach also ensures that it minimizes its impact on the environment.

Here are some key aspects of modern sustainable clothing:

The term “ethical” means a practice or a thought that is morally acceptable or right. That’s why sustainable and ethical fashion start in the cotton fields, not the manufacturer. In other words, conventional cotton farming can’t be termed sustainable or ethical, for that matter, because it uses a host of pesticides and other harmful practices.

“Sustainable” Is A New Way of Doing Business

Sustainable is a brand new way of doing business instead of just a concept. That’s why leading brands like NOIR, Stella McCartney, etc. are pioneers of sustainable and ethical fashion. Many businesses are embracing the concept of sustainability in their business models. The companies understand that integrating environmental and social issues with their business ensures long-term benefits.

Minimal Waste

Sustainable clothing brands work to minimize waste at every stage, from design and pattern-making to production and packaging. This can involve using cutting techniques that reduce fabric waste and adopting packaging materials that are biodegradable or easily recyclable.

The Ethical Fashion Forum (EFF)

It is a non-profit organization that was established mainly to promote sustainable practices in the fashion industry. It was founded in 2006 by Tamsin Lejeune and operated as a global network for professionals in the fashion industry who were interested in creating positive social and environmental impacts through their work.

The EFF also works to raise awareness, provide resources, and check the extent of environmental damage done by the industry. Furthermore, they also work to raise the standards currently followed in the fashion industry. Today, the EFF has over 6,000 members in well over 100 countries, all of whom support sustainable fashion. The non-profit also has a set of criteria to define ethical fashion, which needs to be closely followed.

The EFF has managed to frame many policies with some of the top ethical sourcing and certification bodies, which are part of the International Fair Trade Association, amongst others. Doing this helps the EFF work in a way that’s organized to develop ethical and sustainable practices. Ethical businesses now need to manufacture clothing that follows the EFF’s best practices and guidelines for the benefit of the earth and society.

Consumers’ Part in Ensuring Sustainability

Now consumers also need to do their part by buying sustainable clothing, as it is seen as the first step towards promoting this practice. However, consumers can play a more significant role by contributing to sustainability by taking small steps like washing their clothes with cold water instead of hot water to reduce energy expenditure. Plus, using biodegradable detergent helps to prevent pollution in the environment, and drying clothes in the sun instead of the dryer saves money, resources, and time.

Slow Fashion

The slow fashion movement encourages consumers to buy fewer, high-quality items that are designed to last rather than constantly chasing trends and disposable fashion. This approach reduces the overall demand for new clothing and helps combat the issue of overconsumption.

Speaking the Language of Sustainability

While sustainable fashion is gaining momentum, it is mainly practiced in the developed world. Many countries in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East don’t adhere to these standards. That’s why it is so important to frame campaigns for these regions. Companies and the EFF should work on making sure that not only is the clothing sustainable, but so is the message.

Messages should be sent in local languages, with awareness campaigns educating people about the perks of sustainable clothing and sustainable practices. It is only by speaking the local language that ideas and practices of sustainability can spread faster.

Since opening its doors in 2021 as language specialists who translate websites for fashion companies and other businesses around the world, Ya-Hub Translations has developed into a sustainable business.