I can already hear the clamber of a thousand aggressive keyboard clicks…
Now, before my inbox gets flooded with confused, angry emails, allow me to explain myself. The problem with the vast majority of “sustainable” fashion is that it overlooks one of the greatest hindrances to true sustainability: one-use materials. Sure, utilizing natural fabric will make the production of your green-washed dress a little more sustainable. And, yes, planting a tree for every coat purchased is a good deed for the planet, but neither gestures are enough.
Ask yourself this question
Manufacturers of “sustainable” garments are often guilty of using the same mixed materials (oftentimes, including plastic) used in non-sustainable goods, thus making their products unable to participate in a regenerative system. As such, a good way to verify if sustainable fashion is truly sustainable is by asking yourself:
“Where will this product end up when I’m done with it?”
For most products marked as sustainable, the answer is no different from those you purchased without the shiny, green tag.
85% of fashion items end up in landfills.. What can we do about it?
The way to work around this unsustainable sustainability is to think about the full lifecycle of each product. What is the past, present and future of this garment, and how can it be kept in use for as long as possible?
That’s where the circular economy comes in.
We need to focus on pure, raw materials and supreme quality, allowing garments to be designed for longevity. Then, when the product breaks or gets worn out, we can repair, up-cycle or recycle the product. Circularity is about the end of a product’s life. It’s about having the foresight to plan ahead, and taking responsibility for the impact your garment will have on the Earth when you’re done with it. A product made from recycled materials looks the same as a product made from shiny, new ones when they’re next to each other in a landfill. Without a plan for what to do with a product at its end, all the effort which goes into making it is wasted.
A practical example applicable to the entire industry
At OUR CHOICE, we have applied this concept to our circular sneakers and understand the urgency needed to combat the excessive waste produced by the fashion industry. We feel confident that the way to usher in a new, sustainable standard is by unlocking the circular economy.
…but we can’t do it alone.
I don’t mean to use this article as a cheap, sales gimmick, though. The fact of the matter is, money talks. The more monetarily-successful circular brands become, the more pressure will be applied to the fashion industry to deviate from the harmful, fast fashion standard. If we show big brands that consumers are responsive to and interested in sustainable initiatives, we can flip the script and pressure the entire industry to take part.
One final question from my side
Can we stand up to the big brands and second most polluting industry in the world? I think we can do it together. Do you? Let me know what you think in the comments and..