The mot du jour currently seems to be clean, vegan, and sustainable. Everyone is talking about ethical fashion, zero waste living these days. But what are we as fashion brands and consumers of fashion doing about it?
What does it mean to buy from a sustainable fashion brand? What is ethical fashion?
To better understand these questions; we first need to have a clear view of what it means to be sustainable in fashion.
It is about producing clothes, shoes, and accessories in environmentally and socio-economically sustainable manners. It also includes sustainable patterns of consumption and use, which necessitate the desired shifts in individual attitudes and shopping behavior.
Creating a sustainable lifestyle can be a challenge; it requires a conscious effort and a clear and correct understanding of everything we consume and its impacts on the planet.
As the famous saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Every step we take towards eco-friendly living is one that helps the world.
We have known the impact of fast fashion and landfills on our environment for a long time, so it’s no surprise the call to arms to do something about this is much stronger now than ever before.
As the owner of a sustainable brand; Dina Udupa; frequently asked questions I get are how to be conscious buyers? What are the simple measures we can take to shop responsibly?
Below are my five simple steps to shopping responsibly:
1. Avoid fast fashion
One of the biggest culprits in the fashion industry is fast fashion. The speed of manufacturing of clothes from initial design concept to garment available for purchase is at an alarmingly fast pace. High volume, low margin, cheap and disposable items are its characteristic traits. Unfortunately, the need for society to stay ‘on trend’ is having an impact on the environment and putting our planet at risk.
2. Go pro slow fashion
Slow fashion equates to producing garments at a much slower rate, which means fewer new items and therefore less landfill waste. Back fashion brands that promote quality over quantity. Invest in good quality pieces that last long and can be re-used and re-interpreted in different styles.
3. Question the provenance of raw materials
As a consumer, we have the right to know the make and manufacture of our garments. If the garments are eco-friendly, then the most crucial element is the fabric used and its source.
4. Support small business
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and supporting these supports communities. Buying into these businesses also means buying fair fashion, we know the people who have made the products and the conditions of its manufacture.
SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESS
5. Indulge in pre-loved clothing
Pre-loved is the purchase of garments and other fashion accessories used before, owned or bought by someone else, available for resale. Pre-loved fashion is one of the fastest-growing sustainable fashion trends. It encourages a ‘fashion recycling’ community, maximizes garment usage, keeps clothing out of landfills, and ensures that people have access to brands that may typically be too expensive to buy otherwise. By indulging in pre-loved fashion, we are repairing, recirculating, and re-wearing what’s already out there.
Sustainability is on-trend and currently the most significant growth market in fashion; therefore, fashion brands need to make efforts to be ‘eco’, ‘ethical’, ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’ to survive.
Fashion is a consumer-facing industry, and this is the time for its transition. Consumers have real power, and socially and environmentally conscious customers are leading the new rules of engagement.
In the words of Livia Firth, ethical fashion advocate and founder of sustainable fashion consultancy Eco-Age “Fast fashion is like fast food. After the sugar rush, it just leaves a bad taste in your mouth.”
Dina Udupa is the designer of her London-based eponymous women’s wear brand. With a career in fashion spanning the globe, she recently launched her luxury brand: a concept that combines a love of the opulent, mystical designs of India, infused with a passion for travel and cultural exploration. Dina Udupa is a celebration of luxurious fabrics in simple, elegant design forms.