Why Fashion Sustainability Matters
Sustainability is one of fashion’s biggest buzzwords. It’s easy to think that it’s a marketing ploy meant to make us feel good about helping the planet. In reality, the importance of fashion sustainability is so much more than this.
Every day we’re reminded of the impact of climate change – from rising global temperatures to plastic pollution, wildfires, and water scarcity. We’re all making changes to tackle climate change, from dropping single-use plastic to switching to renewable energy.
What most people don’t know is the impact of our fashion habits on the world. ‘Fast fashion’ has a lot to answer for. We’re living in a time of two-second trends, overconsumption, and cheap fabrics.
Understanding why fashion sustainability matters is a win-win. You can invest in clothes that will last you for years and play your part in protecting the planet.
At Sante Grace, we’re passionate about doing our bit to make plus-size fashion more sustainable. Today we’re sharing what sustainable fashion means and why it matters now more than ever.
What is Sustainable Fashion?
Sustainable fashion is when garments are made with consideration of their environmental impact. These plus-size clothes are often made using eco-friendly fabrics and more energy-efficient manufacturing practices.
The key to sustainable fashion is that it’s not just about how the clothes are made. An overlooked part of sustainable fashion is the fact it’s intended to be worn for years to come. While fast fashion clothing is often worn for a short time, sustainable fashion is an investment.
Fashion’s Carbon Footprint
Our shopping habits have changed, turbo-charging the fashion industry’s carbon footprint like never before. Fashion production has doubled since the 2000s. Gone are the days when fashion brands created seasonal collections. Brands like Zara now release upwards of 20 collections a year to keep up with the latest micro-trends.
It’s not just brands that are to blame. We’ve all made the fashion industry’s carbon footprint bigger. Research suggests that anywhere from 20% to 50% of the clothes we buy are never worn. Environmental organizations have launched several campaigns to encourage people to wear their clothing more, instead of buying new.
Did you know that the fashion industry is the world’s second-largest industrial polluter? Fashion accounts for 10% of global pollution, even more than air travel, and almost 20% of the world’s wastewater.
A single pair of jeans requires the same amount of water as a person would drink in 10 years. 70 million barrels of oil every year as used to make polyester fibers for clothing with the chemicals and dyes in wastewater polluting Asia’s rivers.
Why Sustainability Matters
Why should we care about sustainability? We should care about the sustainability of fashion because it impacts every aspect of our life. It’s impossible to turn on the news without seeing the consequences of climate change. Many of us are living through these consequences.
The environmental impact of fashion is on the rise. The global fashion industry uses almost 100 billion metric tons of water every year. That’s the equivalent of half of America’s annual drinking water.
One of the worst fabrics for its water consumption is cotton. Its water usage is a double blow as the wastewater contains pesticides and chemicals that lead to water pollution. Fashion dyes account for up to 20% of global industrial water pollution.
1 in 3 people globally doesn’t have access to safe drinking water. The fashion industry is making this global crisis even worse by accelerating water pollution and making the water undrinkable for human consumption.
Unless the fashion industry becomes more sustainable, we’ll never be able to tackle climate change. Fashion is a high-polluting industry that is often overlooked, while more criticized industries, such as aviation, have a smaller carbon footprint. Sustainability matters to create a safer future and tackle climate change.
The Impact of Fast Fashion
The fashion industry’s adoption of ‘fast fashion’ and cheaply made garments is slowly killing the planet. Many retailers are choosing to dump or even burn returned clothing or items that don’t sell.
It’s not just retailers dumping clothes. Customers are buying more clothes and throwing out older clothes within just a few wears. 350,000 tonnes of clothing ends up in landfill in the UK each year. In the United States, 21 billion pounds of textile waste ends up in landfills each year. Less than 1% of clothing is recycled, even though most fabrics can be repurposed.
The impact of the fashion industry’s environmental consequences is everywhere to see. 70 million tonnes of trees are cut down every year for the wood pulp needed to make popular fabrics, including viscose.
Microplastics are a hidden evil in the fashion industry. Synthetic fabrics may appear to be ‘sustainable’, but their microplastic content harms marine life and biodiversity.
Sustainability also relates to ethics. Have you ever seen clothes so cheap online that you wonder “how can they afford to make that?”. It’s not uncommon to see fast fashion retailers selling their clothes for 50-80% off. The reality behind fast fashion is often child labor.
There are estimated to be 75 million garment workers worldwide, with only 2% paid a living wage. Garment workers in developed countries, such as the UK, still face the same conditions. An investigation in 2020 found that 10,000 garment workers in the UK were being paid £3.50/$3.90 an hour. Fast fashion is exploiting the environment and our fellow people.
How to Make Fashion More Sustainable
We can all play our part in making the fashion industry more sustainable. It starts by adopting the mantra of “quality over quantity”. Luxury plus-size clothing is made with high-quality fabrics that will stand the test of time. Wave goodbye to fast fashion trends and instead invest in clothing that suits your body type and reflects your style.
Start becoming more sustainable by shopping from high-quality and ethical plus-sized fashion brands. Sante Grace is committed to curating a size-inclusive range of clothing that is kind to your skin, accepting of your body, and safe for the planet we call home.
You can find out more about our latest arrivals by shopping this season’s collection at Sante Grace. Together, we can create a more sustainable fashion industry.