Today, fashion is moving more rapidly than ever. We live in a special era in which opportunities to change the fashion industry are countless. That doesn’t come as a total surprise, since change is needed tremendously. Besides the industry-changes that need to be made, there are many things you can do yourself. In this series, therefore, we guide you through the most common ways to buy more thoughtfully, sustainably and ethically. After all, your search for sustainable fashion should be fun. Let’s kick-ff with a not so new phenomenon: pure materials.
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Sustainable fashion has become more than the next hype. Big retailers, high fashion labels and many customers have reached the point on which they acknowledge the huge influence of the fashion industry on our planet.
More and more sustainable concepts pop-up. Take Ikigai Labels, for example: a melting pot of sustainable brands of all kind. You’ll find fancy made to order items, as well as more accessible garments (for every budget). We recently interviewed Helene Oudman, the creative mind behind this concept. According to her, “there’s a lot to win in the fashion industry.”
However, fast fashion companies still offer low priced items while keeping up with the latest trends. Zara adds new items every week and adidas’s NEO line is designed, produced and delivered to stores within only one month. These types of actions are typical for the industry.
Therefore it’s about time to be more aware of your own shopping behavior. Let us guide you through it.
Today clothes are made from a wide variety of materials. Wool, leather, cotton and other plant- and animal based materials are still very common. However, man-made materials consisting of chemicals and fuel-based oil have become the new standard.
Today there are 9 types of materials our clothes are made from: synthetic materials (65%), cotton (21%), cellulosics (8%), wool (1%) and other materials (5%). According to Common Objective, synthetic materials will even gain in market share. Polyester, nylon, acrylic, polypropylene and elastane are commonly used in the fast fashion industry.
To reduce your impact on our planet, you should give ‘pure materials’ a try. When buying an item or brand, get to know the materials and dye process. Are they harmful for the environment? What does the company do with excess waste and polluted water? Make sure both the materials and the used dye are biodegradable.
Recently, there have been many alternatives to traditional materials. Think of mushroom or pineapple ‘leather’ and spider’s silk has been used to create silky fabrics. Earlier in 2019, the New York-based Modern Meadow has been experimenting with a leather alternative made from collagen. Collagen is the main component of actual leather, but this alternative is fully lab grown – indicating no animals were hurt. While this may sound futuristic, there are many more (lab-grown) alternatives for our old-fashioned fabrics. The list is endless.
Instead of diving into this topic too deeply, let’s take a look to sustainable brands so you can made deliberate choices when searching for new additions to your wardrobe.
It’s about time to embrace designers and fashion brands with more purpose-driven ideas towards sustainable fashion. In the future this may mean that our current idea of Fashion Week will change dramatically. To keep it a little smaller, let’s start with some fashion brands that are good choices when you’d like to shop more thoughtful.
Fungata creates bags that are not only dyed naturally (with tea and coffee extracts), but are also coated by hand with bee wax. They solely use sustainable materials for their Japanese-inspired designs.
Maggie Marilyn aims to become a circular company and has big plans for 2020. At the moment, they solely use sustainable materials which are independently certified.
At Envelope1976, the team uses recycled and natural materials to create a minimalistic wardrobe. It’s sustainability at its peak.
“Killer clothes that don’t kill the environment” is the slogan of Reformation. Well, they succeeded in creating these killer clothes indeed. Developed and produced in LA, this company delivers clothes sourced from sustainable materials, while making use of local crafts.
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