What is Sustainable fashion?

March 20, 2023

Sustainable fashion has become a hot topic in recent years as consumers become more aware of the environmental and social impacts of the clothing industry. But what exactly is sustainable fashion, and how does it differ from traditional fashion?

At its core, sustainable fashion is about creating clothing that is produced in a way that is environmentally and socially responsible. This means taking into account the entire lifecycle of a garment, from the sourcing of raw materials to the disposal of the finished product.


One of the main ways that sustainable fashion differs from traditional fashion is in its approach to materials. While traditional fashion often relies on synthetic materials like polyester and nylon, which are made from non-renewable resources and take hundreds of years to decompose, sustainable fashion prioritises natural and renewable materials like organic cotton, linen, and hemp. These materials are grown without the use of harmful pesticides and are biodegradable, meaning they can be broken down naturally over time.


In addition to using sustainable materials, sustainable fashion also focuses on reducing waste and minimising the environmental impact of production. This can involve using recycled materials, designing clothing that can be easily repaired and reused, and adopting manufacturing processes that use less water and energy.

Garment Workers

Another key component of sustainable fashion is ethical production practices. This means ensuring that workers are treated fairly and paid a living wage, and that the production process is safe and free from exploitation. Sustainable fashion companies often work with suppliers and manufacturers who adhere to strict ethical standards and are transparent about their labor practices.


So why is sustainable fashion important? The clothing industry is one of the largest polluters in the world, with fast fashion companies churning out cheap, disposable clothing at a breakneck pace. This model of production is not only environmentally unsustainable, but it also perpetuates a cycle of exploitation and injustice for garment workers, many of whom are paid poverty wages and work in dangerous conditions.

By contrast, sustainable fashion offers a more responsible and equitable alternative. By prioritizing natural and renewable materials, reducing waste and emissions, and ensuring ethical production practices, sustainable fashion companies are working to create a more sustainable and just clothing industry.

Of course, there are still challenges to be overcome in the move towards sustainable fashion. One of the biggest hurdles is the perception that sustainable clothing is too expensive or inaccessible. While it's true that sustainable fashion often comes with a higher price tag, it's important to remember that this reflects the true cost of production, including fair wages for workers and environmentally responsible practices. In the long run, investing in quality, sustainable clothing can actually save money by reducing the need for frequent replacements. There are also affordable ways of responsibly attaining fashion, including buying second hand and sharing clothes with friends, which can be organised through platforms like CloSh.

Ultimately, sustainable fashion is about more than just clothing. It's about creating a more equitable and sustainable world for all. By supporting sustainable fashion companies and making more conscious choices about our clothing, we can help to build a better future for ourselves and for the planet.

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