The rise of sustainable fashion

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At first glance, there is not much difference on the runway between the infamous luxury brands and the sustainable fashion houses that are on the rise. As they walk down the runway, the models are all posing the same way. The runway looks much the same. The music is set to the pace of the model’s walks in both shows. Even the clothes do not look alarmingly different. And yet, there is one key difference that is not only incredibly significant, but also potentially life-changing for the entire planet – not just us. Welcome to the meteoric rise of sustainable fashion. The need for sustainable fashion has been desperate for years now. We currently produce 100 billion new clothing items annually, with most of them coming from virgin (unsustainable) sources. The worldwide fashion industry is solely responsible for 8% of global climate pollution. These are facts that are not only unsettling, but downright disturbing. We want to instil positive impact on the planet now more than ever, and the way to do that is through conscious actions.

Opting to buy clothes from sustainable fashion brands might seem like a small shift, but it is one that not only lessens your carbon footprint, but goes towards initiating and driving forward that positive impact. The history of traditional fashion is that it is mostly fast fashion, meaning that a lot of it ends up in landfill once it is worn out – which, as with cheap anything, tends to happen a lot faster than it does for luxury brands. Even when it comes to reputable, even luxury brands, the clothing items are either not made to last beyond a few wears, or so unbelievably expensive that they sit in closets, coveted, obtained, but barely (if ever) worn. Blouses made from Spanish silk and underwear crafted from French lace will likely always be coveted wardrobe staples, but for the most part fashion is amid a transitory age in its evolution, an era of drastic change in all the best ways.

The reality of fashion in times past is no longer the reality in modern or future fashion. Sustainable fashion is taking the world by storm, rising and surging in popularity, always looking incredible and feeling like it was made for the individuals who are lucky enough to wear it all. Up until the last few years, mainstream sustainable fashion was not necessarily common. People were more invested – consciously or not – in adding coveted items from their favourite labels, than they were in knowing where the fashions they wanted so desperately came from. Consumer awareness (or, up until recently, consumer ignorance) drove traditional, unsustainable fashion ever forward, but not anymore. And the fashion industry has taken note as well. In fact, some luxury brands have been working towards implementing sustainable fashion into their brand’s foundations, working towards a more natural future for all.

One such big name in the fashion world bringing this ideal to reality is Stella McCartney. A brand globally renowned for its prestigious position in the high fashion world, Stella McCartney made the conscious decision to begin the shift. This ripple effect for the brand has since taken off into a tidal shift, with other high fashion brands scrambling to keep up to date with the latest in the fashion world which, it just so happens, is sustainable fabrics and colours. Sustainable materials are not “all the same”, contrary to popular belief, either. From pineapple leather and fermented yeast, to fruity fibres and the softest cotton, the materials that make up the sustainable fashion world’s inventory are exciting, new, and best of all…nature-friendly. This is a revolutionary movement for the fashion industry, and it is one that is gaining traction – and popularity – the more that it comes to light.

We only have one planet, one home. This is our reality. Especially over the last few years, we have experienced the wrath of impact that negative decisions and practices of our species can have on planet Earth. We create 100 billion new pieces of clothing every year, and most of them are cut and created from virgin materials. The fashion industry alone is solely responsible for 8% of the climate pollution the world over. These statistics, these facts, are terrifying and sobering at the same time. Sustainable fashion is something that is on the rise – especially in the last two years. Making fashion choices that are sustainable might seem like a small change, but in reality it is changes like this that make the world of difference. When we have the kind of power we do to make significant positive impact, then we should grab it with both hands and take full advantage of the position it puts us in. Investing in sustainable fashion means that we are part of the movement to improve the planet.

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