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Earth – The victim of fast fashion
Sustainable fashion is an approach to fashion that maximises benefits to people, and minimises impact on the environment as well as being commercially successful
Water scarcity affects more than one billion people on a global scale hence every drop is precious. Disturbingly, just one pair of jeans requires 7,000 litres of water to produce, and 2 billion pairs are being manufactured every year.
A whopping 2,700 litres of water is used to make just one t-shirt; that's the amount of water one average human will consume over 900 days.
1.7 million tons of mixed chemicals are used in garment production – most notably, dangerous chemicals like PFCs, leaving a detrimental and lasting impact on our environment therefore it is crucial for us to be educated as an industry and consumer, to make relevant changes in future without any compromise.
Sustainable Clothing Vs Fast Fashion
Fast fashion is designed to be quickly replaced. It is not necessarily driven by desire, but rather by need. The point of fast fashion is to be able to respond to consumer tastes as quickly as possible.
Sustainable fashion, on the other hand has been developed in a response to fast fashion. Also called eco fashion, this ideal was founded on environmental sustainability and a social responsibility to take care of our planet.
Sustainable fashion clothing is a well-designed and well produced piece that will actually last five times longer than a fast fashion piece. Usually, these sustainable pieces are made with natural fibers and can break down easily.
Future Of Fashion
One can see a scenario where people will drive change keeping in mind wider environmental concerns, thereby forcing industries to switch to sustainable solutions and ethical manufacturing processes.
Ethical and sustainable fashion aims to produce things that have a lower impact on the environment while have a positive benefit to people both producing and buying the item.
It represents an approach to encourage customers to care about production background of the clothes they buy.
Livaeco aims to pioneer the sustainable fashion movement. I'm hoping what will happen is in 10 years, people will look back at the fact that we killed billions of animals and cut down millions of acres of rainforest and used water in the most inefficient way—we can't sustain this way of living.
So I'm hoping people will look back and say, 'Really? That's what they did to make a pair of shoes.
Sustainable Fast Fashion?
Can fast fashion be sustainable? We define sustainable fashion as an approach to fashion that maximises benefits to people, and minimises impact on the environment as well as being commercially successful.
The social and environmental aspects of sustainability are inherently linked; one does not come without the other. Let's start with the environment.
The single most effective thing we could do tomorrow to reduce the impact of the fashion industry on the environment would be to buy a lot less. Every garment has an environmental footprint at every stage in its production.
That is why there is an inherent contradiction between the fast fashion business model – a model driven by selling lots of stuff fast – and the concept of environmental sustainability.
The future, with increasing education will see a dedication from individuals working within fast fashion retailers, championing more sustainable practices.
For me, this conflict represents the heart of the problem we need to address as an industry – it is the "elephant in the room".
It cannot be resolved by any business working alone, and it will not be resolved through stand-off.
If all parties truly acknowledge this elephant in the room, here lies an opportunity for constructive debate.
- Shardah Uniyal, Head of Branding & Communications, Birla Cellulose