The A to Z of sustainable fashion

The raging bushfires in Australia are only the latest among what can only be defined as a climate catastrophe – and the fashion industry plays a pivotal role in it. Notorious for being the second largest pollutant in the world, the global fashion industry has it’s work cut out for itself. Sustainable fashion is the need of the hour.

It is clear that every component within the industry, whether as a designer, stylist, store owner or otherwise, needs to take stringent action to ensure a future that is built on a solid foundation of sustainability, ethics and fair fashion. The key to bring about awareness and action is education – and we have put together a list of some of the most commonly used terms from the sustainability glossary as well as what they mean, all in a bid to help you make conscious choices for a better and, of course, fashionable tomorrow.

sustainable fashion

• Biodegradable

Biodegradable refers to a product that can break down naturally without impacting the environment in a harmful manner. In the fashion industry, this refers to a product made with organic fabrics (such as organic cotton, khadi and hemp) and natural dyes and using biodegradable embellishments.

• Cost Per Wear

Cost per wear refers to the value of an article in relation to the number of times it has been worn. For example, if you purchase a piece for €1000 and wear it 20 times, the cost per wear of the piece is €20.

• Eco-friendly fashion

Eco-friendly fashion refers to products that will have a minimal negative impact on the environment, since ‘eco’ in itself refers to ecology or the environment.

• Fast Fashion

Fast fashion refers to pieces that are produced quickly to make international trends available to the masses at a low cost. The negative impact that fast fashion has on the environment has come under intense scrutiny in the last decade, pushing brands to rethink their design processes and supply chains.

• Greenwashing

Greenwashing refers to the practice of portraying a brand as sustainable or environmental friendly, even when that might not necessarily be the case. In recent years, there has been a growing demand on brands to be sustainable, which has in turn increased the instances of greenwashing among many brands, especially those involved in the production of fast fashion pieces.

• Living Wage

Living wage implies paying workers a fair salary so that they are not trapped in poverty. A living wage is subjective and differs from country to country.

• Pre and Post Consumer Waste

Pre-consumer waste refers to the waste generated as a part of the production process and post consumer waste refers to the waste generated after the consumer has disposed off the product.

• Recycled Fashion

Recycled fashion refers to breaking down the waste product to it’s base elements and constructing an entire new product from it.

• Slow Fashion

Slow fashion refers to the practice of embracing a more mindful approach to fashion and rejecting any kind of fast fashion practices and brands. It also refers to a design process and supply chain that is more inclined towards the creation and production of fast fashion oriented pieces.

• Vegan Fashion

Vegan fashion refers to products and design processes that do not use animal obtained products and raw materials.

sustainable fashion

We love good fashion and even more so when it positively impacts the world that we live in. And while none of us are perfect, it is always easy for each one of us to take small steps that will inevitably pave the way for a sustainable, yet fashionable future.

All images courtesy Piñatex and Ananas Anam. 

– Written by Soha Joshi

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