Now, what might I mean by that title? To understand that you have to think about the meaning of the word, “fashion”. It is of course, the current styles of clothing. It is also, a way of doing things. It can also, be a type of trend. Now we have this type of sustainable fashion that is all the rage! There has even been an article written already, in the Business of Fashion journal, about how the term, “sustainable fashion” has been over used and no longer has a the meaning intended. That article says that too many big corporations have appropriated the term to try to capitalize on trend. I for one don’t agree with the assessment and here is why.
We as consumers are now conscious of where and how our clothing is produced. We are demanding transparency in the supply chain and the industry is listening to our voice. Yes, big brands like H&M, C&A, ZARA are responsible for the fast fashion that causes a lot of the issues. They are all also committing resources into fixing it. They have all put in place sustainability pacts ranging from 5 to 12 years across all product lines. It seems a long way off but it is a start! They all currently have limited lines of sustainable organic or recycled clothing on offer in stores and online. If that means that the term, sustainable fashion, has been commandeered, fine by me. Bravo, to everyone, especially big companies that are moving things in the right direction. Doing things like Ralph Lauren has with the small “Earth Polo” line.
The next thing that we have to talk about when we talk about Sustainable Fashion, is a circular economy, such as championed by the Ellen Macarthur foundation. This is the true goal of making fashion sustainable, to transform the life cycle of every piece of fashion into one that is designed for reuse, repair or recycle and made from sustainable sources. That is no small job especially when we consider that just saying it is not enough, we want proof. The proof is where technology comes in to play, and that is for another day.