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Is Sustainable Fashion Actually Sustainable?


Sustainable fashion. What do we really mean by Sustainable fashion?

Is it just a jargon? A marketing gimmick? Or an actual wakeup call?

We have all been seeing various articles, posts, ads on the fashion industry and its effects on the planet. We have also seen many existing brands and new brands coming up with a sustainable clothesline. But will sustainable fashion be able to sustain? Is the world ready to accept the fact that fast fashion may make us look good, but in reality it is degrading the place around us?

This article is just a start to analyse what is Fast fashion, why do people prefer fast fashion and can fast fashion be replaced by sustainable options.

Most of us opt for fast fashion because it is light on our pockets, trendy and makes us look good/stand out in a crowd. This also has a lot to do with our society and where an individual would like to project himself/herself in front of others. The avenues we are exposed to such as media, pub cultures etc. have a big impact on the way we think of fashion.

For the current generation fashion is about looking different from the crowd. Most of the collections available with brands are limited edition (Meaning, each design has only limited stock).  This encourages the customer to shop for it since invariably the person will not encounter another wearing the same clothes.

The brands make this possible by manufacturing using processes that do not spare the environment in any way. People would be amazed to know what happens with clothes that are not bought by customers. Where do they end up? We shall cover this in the subsequent article.

The costs involved in sourcing or creating sustainable materials in humungous. Most of the people think sustainable clothing just means, clothing that can be recycled. But there is a catch here. We have to realise, clothing has other elements to it apart from just plain fabric such as zippers, buttons, printing etc. All of these have to be sustainable too for a garment to be completely eco-friendly.

The garment industry has dug so deep into fast fashion that it is not possible for the industry to immediately shift to a completely eco-friendly mode. Even if they do so, the cost is humungous and invariably this will be passed on back to the customers. Sales will never pick up.

The millennials have got in a phrase YOLO (You only live once). To the fashion industry this simply means, give me a garment that is new in design. Cheap in cost and easily accessible and I will be there to buy it.

Is the sustainable fashion industry ready for it? I don’t think so. Brands might have to live with smaller margins for a while. Honestly, everything cannot become sustainable in a day. But a process can surely be put in place. The race has to start. The race to become the new fast fashion sustainable champion.

Creating an awareness, efficient mass customization, slow shift to complete sustainability should be the focus of brands looking to capture the attention of fast fashion seekers.

For customers, well YOLO, try and make a difference. Help build a better place.

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