Responsible for 10 percent of the world’s carbon emissions, the fashion industry has a large footprint that it is working to reduce each year. Fashion brands are taking on a social responsibility to make their production, marketing, and distribution methods more eco-friendly. As the industry moves forward, the following practices are being implemented and expanded.
Here’s what the future of the fashion industry holds.
Vintage and Second-Hand Shopping
Isn’t it ironic that sometimes the best way to move forward is to look back? This is definitely the case with fashion, which recycles design trends and styles from the past all the time. However, lately it has become even more literal as vintage clothing and second-hand fashion is growing in popularity. “
Buying vintage or second-hand clothing, whether from a vintage store, or online from retailers like TheRealReal and Tradesy is one of the best ways to shop sustainably as it means you aren’t contributing to the creation of new clothing. You are in essence recycling an item from someone else’s closet and extending the life of the garment, which would otherwise end up in a landfill.
Our planet has a plastic problem and the fashion industry is taking notice. To put it into perspective, every year, the ocean is flooded with around eight million tons of plastic. To help cope with this overwhelming amount of waste companies like Girlfriend Collective are turning recycled plastic into new products.
Girlfriend Collective makes stylish activewear like leggings and sports bras out of nylon sourced from recycled plastic fishing nets. Eco Swim transforms recycled plastics into fabric for swimwear. The possibilities for recycling are truly endless — popular outdoor clothing company Patagonia even makes polyester fleece out of recycled plastic…Plastic has never been cozier!
Using Organic Materials
More and more fashion companies are making the switch to use organic, raw materials, rather than synthetics or crops grown using pesticides and other toxic chemicals. Materials like organic cotton, bamboo, sugarcane, cork, and rubber are naturally renewable and can be harvested without the use of pesticides to create clothing, vegan sneakers, and home goods.
Organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council, OEKO-TEX, the Organic Crop Improvement Association, Global Organic Textile Standard, and I’M GREEN provide certifications for companies to show that their practices are sustainable and eco-friendly.
Beyond using organic or recyclable materials, some clothing brands are going the extra mile to help the environment in other ways. Sustainable companies like ForestNation and Cariumas are working on reforestation projects to reduce their carbon footprint and restore some of the trees that have been cut down in recent years for industrial agriculture or other purposes.
With every purchase of one of ForestNation’s eco-friendly graphic tees, hoodies, or tanks, they plant a tree. For Cariumas, every pair of sustainable sneakers purchased equates to two trees planted in Brazil.
Finally, there are new innovative fashion companies popping up all the time that promote a circular economy of re-use. Apps like Rent the Runway, Gwynnie Bee, and Nuuly let members rent and return clothing on a rotating basis. Instead of buying more clothes, many women are opting to rent their wardrobes instead so that they always have new items to wear. In this way, the consumer is shifting not only their wardrobe, but also their mindset about reusing clothing.
The more the fashion world can reduce, reuse, and recycle, the better off our planet will be.