Skip to main content

Fashion Ed | Sustainability and Fast Fashion

Because today is Earth Day, I thought it would be a great opportunity to talk about Sustainability in the fashion industry. So what does sustainable mean:

  • Sustainable - of, relating to , or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.

  • Sustainable Fashion - also called eco fashion , is a part of the growing design philosophy and trend of sustainability, the goal of which is to create a system which can be supported indefinitely in terms of environmentalism and social responsibility. or Eco Fashion World are great resources to learn more about sustainable fashion and the textile industry. With that said, you can not talk about sustainability in the fashion industry and not mention the fast fashion culture and the  stigma that surrounds it. 

Fast fashion is the production of garments, designed similar to those seen on fashion week runways and magazines, manufactured cheaply and quickly so that the consumer can take advantage of current trends at  low prices. Because we always have to have the latest thing and since the price is low, we buy more of it till our closets are full. With the clothes being so affordable this also makes them extremely disposable. When the item is no longer trendy, you won't feel so bad throwing it out or donating it because it was so cheap.

Business of Fashion

Once disposed, if it does not end up in a landfill, clothing purchases are recycled mainly in three ways: it is resold by the consumer for cheap, exported in bulk for sale in developing countries , or it may be chemically or mechanically recycled into  raw material for the manufacturing of other apparel or non-apparel products. I found these great articles, here and here which talk about what happens to old clothes after you donate. It is what prompted me to write about this topic. Now I am in no way saying to not donate to Goodwill or the Salvation Army or other charities, it is just better to be more informed and see the bigger picture of what happens after donation.

While out shopping, do you ever wonder who made the item and where it came from? China is the largest exporter of fast fashion in the world with clothing increasingly being imported from countries as diverse as Honduras and Bangladesh. Most workers work in sweatshop environments while making as little as 12-18 cents per hour in poor conditions. Sweatshop is a term for any working environment considered to be unacceptably difficult or dangerous. Sweatshop workers often work long hours for low pay, regardless of laws mandating overtime pay or a minimum wageChild labor laws may be violated. Sweatshops may have hazardous materials and situations. Employees may be subject to employer abuse without an easy way, if any, to protect themselves. For more information about sweatshops, go to Also, visit JooJoo Azad ~ Free Bird. It is a fashion and social action blog and she has a boycott list worth looking at.

So does this mean to not shop at fast fashion brands like H&M and Zara in which I love? Not at all. To see what your favorite brand/store is doing to contribute to a more sustainable fashion environment, check their websites and see if you can locate a Sustainability report, Responsibility clause, Environmental policy or anything similar. If you find it, read up on what the company's policies are on the sustainability issue and what they are doing about their impact.

My hope with this post is to make you a more informed consumer and maybe even prompt you to do your own due diligence on this topic or anything consumer related.

Thank you for reading!



Popular posts from this blog

Fashion Ed: Fashion Flow Theories

Today I want to discuss the theories of Fashion Flow: Downward, Horizontal, and Upward. You probably have heard these terms before but I want to go into further detail as to what they mean and the difference between them.

Downward Flow Theory ( Trickle - Down)

This theory is the most widely known and the oldest theory of fashion adoption. The basic definition in short-to be identified as a true fashion, styles must first be adopted by those at the top of the social pyramid, then the style is eventually accepted at the lower social levels. This theory assumes that there is a social hierarchy in which lower income people seek to identify with more affluent people. Because those at the top want to disassociate themselves with the lower social level, once the fashion or style has flowed to the lower social level, the upper classes will reject it and move on to the next new fashion. The phrase "that is so last season" comes to mind when I think of this theory. Again, I feel that …

Fashion Ed: Fashion Adoption Theory

When a style or trend debuts, whether it's trying out a new BB cream or obtaining a pair of trendy cut out boots, when would you say it is that you catch on or adapt to a trend? The fashion adoption theory was one of my favorite theories to learn, as it tells you how a style or trend starts and ends.
Fashion Adoption: A process on how an individual accepts and purchases a new fashion or a style. This Innovation Adaption Curve plots out the five categories and basically shows that with time, any new style or trends popularity rises and eventually fades.

There are five categories that describe how early a consumer adopts a new fashion compared with others: Fashion Innovators, Fashion Opinion Leaders, Mass Market Consumers, Late Fashion Followers, and Fashion Isolates and Laggards.
Tartan is trending right now, so I feel that it would be a great example to follow.

Fashion Innovators

Consumers who adopt a new fashion soon after it appears on the market relatively earlier than most other…